Pinellas County restricts reclaimed water

North County irrigation limited to once a week
Posted at 6:27 PM, Apr 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-13 18:27:29-04

Pinellas County is limiting how much water you can use to douse your yard. The bad drought is putting a huge strain on reclaimed water and it means residents in the North region of the county are being limited to watering one day per week.

With little rain on the horizon and continued excessive demand to keep things looking healthy, the operational supply of reclaimed water in running very low.

Beginning Wednesday, April 19, people who live North of Curlew Road and have an addresses ending in 1, 3, 5, 7, 9 can only irrigate on Wednesday. Addresses ending in 0, 2, 4, 6 or 8 may only irrigate on Saturday. Mixed address or no address properties such as common areas may irrigate on Wednesday. Watering is prohibited between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. 

The North County reclaimed water system will be temporarily shut down on Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

Pinellas County is expected to keep the watering restrictions in place until the drought is over.

At golf courses in Palm Harbor and Oldsmar, they’re really starting to feel the impacts of the drought.

Innisbrook Golf Course manager Bobby Barnes in Palm Harbor jokes there’s a new saying: “Brown is the new green.”

Lush fairways on the course are getting drier by the day. “If you don’t have turf and you don’t have grass it’s really hard to play golf,” Barnes added.

Usually the course gets doused by sprinklers 6 days a week, but now, they’re down to just two waterings a week.

Barnes is grateful Innisbrook recently installed an underground irrigation system that catches rainwater and reuses the water being sprayed on the course. They saved 14 million gallons of water over the past year, and that’s really saving them during this dry spell.

They’ve also had to remind golfers to be careful with cigar butts. “A lot of golfers smoke cigars, and just one cigarette butt can start a massive fire,” Barnes explained.

There is one upside to the dry conditions, according to Barnes: Golf balls roll further along the green. “If you can get past the color of the grass, the conditions are spectacular for golfers.”

Christina Goodrich at the William Dunn Water Reclamation Facility says they are working as hard as they can, but the system is too stressed without rainfall. “Right now demand is twice what we can supply,” she explained.

The water treatment plant at William Dunn in Palm Harbor has only about 6 feet deep water in the reclamation pond. The water should be about 15 feet deep.  “We hate to do it but we sometimes have to turn the system down in order to recover,” she said.

Everyone has just one thought on their mind: Let there be rain.

“We are all praying for rain absolutely,” Goodrich added.

And if you live in largo, there is some good news. The city tells us there aren’t any water restrictions for homeowners there.