Winter Springs restricting water usage amid shortage concerns

Limits watering lawn once a week thru June 1, could be extended

Winter Springs restricting water usage amid shortage concerns
Winter Springs restricting water usage amid shortage concerns

WINTER SPRINGS, Fla. – Winter Springs city council set to discuss taking action amid concerns of a water shortage.

Deputy Mayor Ted Johnson signed a declaration of emergency Friday aimed at granting the city manager the power to restrict the use of potable water for irrigation. In other words, the order looks to prevent people from watering their lawns and gardens with water that is suitable for drinking.

“The City of Winter Springs temporary potable water shortage condition that may have the potential to pose an immediate threat to the public health, safety and welfare of the citizens,” the declaration reads.

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The order states that a water supply status report shows conditions exist that have the potential to endanger the “quantity, availability and transmission” of drinking water.

Mayor Kevin McCann said it has been a historically dry May and that is causing issues with the water supply.

“Because of the historic dryness, we’re running low and we’re asking our residents to be aware and conserve our natural resource,” McCann said.

Rainfall totals from across Seminole County (Copyright 2021 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

Dale Smith, the city’s director of public works and utilities, said they noticed on Sunday the potable and reclaimed water levels at the water treatment plant dropped extremely low.

“And we need to keep the water levels in the tank for the two main reasons: one is to provide good drinking water for everybody and to provide fire protection for the community,” Smith said.

According to that water status report, the average rainfall for the month of May is 3 1/2 inches, but the city has only received .36 inches.

The city is asking residents to reduce irrigation days from twice per week to once per week in an attempt to conserve potable water, according to the report.

McCann said nearly half of the city’s water is used on lawns.

“A very large percentage of our water is being used on lawns and trees and bushes and what we’re asking is that our residents just be very aware and cautious on using the amount, the volume on their lawns,” McCann said.

The following water restrictions are in place through June 1:

  • Odd-numbered addresses or no addresses water on Wednesday and Saturday.
  • Even-numbered addresses water on Thursday and Sunday.
  • Non-residential properties water on Tuesday and Friday.
  • No watering is allowed between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on any day
  • Nonresidential customers can water only on Tuesday and Friday.
  • Water only when needed
  • Water for no more than one hour per zone
  • Restrictions apply to private wells and pumps, ground or surface water, and water from public and private utilities

The City Commission is meeting on Tuesday to determine if the restrictions need to be extended.

Smith said he’s hopeful rain this weekend will help replenish the supply.

“We’re checking our tank levels. I actually get a report every four hours and when we feel comfortable that we can maintain a good water supply for the potable and fire protection 24/7 then we’ll back off on the restrictions,” Smith said.

City officials said they are educating the community about the water restrictions and issuing warnings to people who violate the emergency declaration. Officials said repeat offenders could face fines.


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About the Author:

Thomas Mates is a digital storyteller for News 6 and ClickOrlando.com. He also produces the podcast Florida Foodie. Thomas is originally from Northeastern Pennsylvania and worked in Portland, Oregon before moving to Central Florida in August 2018. He graduated from Temple University with a degree in Journalism in 2010.