New water restrictions kick-in in tri-county Tampa Bay area

TAMPA, Fla. - "You've got to draw the line someplace and if all the lawns turn to brown, then that's the way it is unfortunately," said Tampa homeowner Karl Smart.

His lawn looks pretty good right now but that may change soon.

"You have the Hillsborough River and you can only take so much out of it," he said.

Smart and homeowners throughout Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco Counties are learning about tighter water restrictions that kick in today.

"We are back to one day irrigation," said Tampa City Water Director Brad Baird. Which means you can run your sprinklers one day a week only between the hours of 6 pm and 8 am.

Baird says the reasons for the water shortage are two-fold.

"Because of no rain over the last couple of months, the river flows are below normal. The aquifer levels are pretty good for this time of year but the river flows are down and we don't have a reservoir to draw from for the region," he explained.

The C.W. Bill Young reservoir has been closed for renovations and water from Alafia river wasn't stored during the rainy season. The reservoir isn't slated to open again until this summer which means for now, Smart and others are spreading the word.

"People typically find out within a week and then I'll tell somebody else, and they'll tell somebody else, so by news and by word of mouth, yeah, everybody will pretty much be aware, maybe not right now, today but I think within a week everybody will know," said Smart.

For additional information on the Phase II water shortage, you can visit: For more information about water restrictions and water conservation, please contact your local utility or visit

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