Understanding St. Petersburg Water Restrictions

St. Petersburg, like much of Florida, faces challenges in water management due to our climate, geography, and population growth. The city has implemented water restrictions to ensure the sustainable use of our water resources. These restrictions include limitations on outdoor water use such as watering lawns and washing cars. 

Watering with potable (City) water, water from private wells, or private connections to surface water sources (lakes, ponds, etc.) is restricted according to property address number as follows:

  • Addresses ending in an even number are permitted to irrigate, if necessary, on Saturday only.
  • Addresses ending in an odd number and locations with no address are permitted to irrigate, if necessary, on Sunday only.
  • Irrigation is allowed from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. or from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.
  • Wasteful and unnecessary water use is prohibited. An example is using water to clean driveways and impervious surfaces.
  • Hand watering of non-lawn landscape is allowed any day at any time if needed.
  • Hand watering of lawn/turf is allowed ONLY during designated watering day and times. An automatic shutoff device (AKA hose nozzle) must be installed on the hose and used at all times.
  • Micro-irrigation (low-flow or drip irrigation) is allowed any day at any time if needed. Water wise use is requested.

Impacts of Not Observing Water Restrictions

  1. Personal Impact. St. Petersburg is enforcing watering restrictions. First-time violations observed by enforcement personnel will result in the issuance of a Warning Notice. Subsequent violations will result in a citation for a Class II municipal ordinance offense that is subject to a $193 fine, plus court costs. Subsequent violations are subject to higher fines as assessed by the court up to a maximum fine of $500 plus court costs.
  2. Environmental Impact. Our ecosystem relies on a delicate balance of water availability, and excessive use can disrupt this balance. Over-watering lawns, for example, can lead to water runoff carrying pollutants into Tampa Bay, causing algal blooms that harm aquatic life. In addition, reduced water levels in lakes and rivers can impact wildlife habitats, leading to declines in biodiversity.
    Over-pumping groundwater in times of drought can lead to the formation of dreaded   sink holes. During dry conditions, water tables drop in the limestone and cavities under Florida’s sand and clay soil. The combination of gravity, loss of buoyancy and water pressure can activate a collapse. Water conservation rules and drought restrictions help keep the water table high and help prevent sinkholes from occurring.
  3. Economic Impact. Our water is sourced from groundwater and surface water. Overuse can deplete the aquifer and reduce water availability for essential needs such as drinking water and sanitation, let alone outdoor use such as landscape maintenance. Water shortages can impact various sectors, including agriculture, tourism, and manufacturing. Further water restrictions can impact these and other sectors, resulting in fines and penalties for violating usage regulations. 
  4. Infrastructure Damage. Excessive water use, particularly during droughts, can strain water infrastructure systems. Increased demand for water can overload treatment plants and distribution networks, leading to infrastructure damage and service disruptions. Additionally, water shortages can increase the concentration of contaminants in water sources, necessitating costly treatment measures to maintain water quality. Over time, repeated violations of water restrictions can accelerate the deterioration of infrastructure, leading to higher maintenance costs for utilities and taxpayers.

It is essential for residents and businesses alike to heed water restrictions and adopt water-saving practices to ensure the long-term viability of our water resources. By working together to conserve water, we can mitigate the dangers and ramifications of disregarding water restrictions and build a more sustainable future.