South Florida Adopts One-Day-a Week Watering

For the first time in the agency’s history, the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) declared an extreme District-wide water shortage, directly affecting more than five million South Florida residents and thousands of farms and businesses. At its monthly meeting, the District’s Governing Board adopted a groundbreaking water shortage order, instituting a one-day-a-week watering schedule for residential landscape irrigation to conserve regional water supplies.

Landscape irrigation accounts for up to half of all household water consumption in Florida and totals more than seven billion gallons per day nationwide. Learn about xeriscaping. Highlights of the Modified Phase III water shortage order, which will be enforced beginning Jan.15, 2008 are listed below.

Modified Phase III Restrictions

  • Residents and businesses of Okeechobee, St. Lucie, Martin, Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Hendry, and Glades counties are limited to a one-day-per-week landscape irrigation schedule with two “watering windows.”
    • Odd street addresses may irrigate lawns and landscapes on Mondays between 4 a.m. and 8 a.m. or 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.
    • Even street addresses may irrigate lawns and landscapes on Thursdays between 4 a.m. and 8 a.m. or 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.
  • Residents and businesses with more than 5 acres have expanded irrigation hours, between 12 a.m. and 8 a.m. or 4 p.m. and 11:59 p.m. on their designated irrigation day.
  • Residents and businesses in Lee and Collier counties are limited to one-day-a-week watering during specific four-hour “watering windows” directly associated with their unique street addresses.
  • Hand-watering with one hose fitted with an automatic shut-off nozzle is allowed for 10 minutes per day for landscape stress relief and to prevent plant die-off.
  • Low-volume irrigation, including the use of drip and microjet systems that apply water directly to plant root zones, is not restricted but should be voluntarily reduced.
  • Additional watering days and times will be allocated for the establishment of new lawns and landscapes.
  • No restrictions apply to other outside water uses, such as for car and boat washing, pressure cleaning of paved surfaces, decorative fountains, and water-based recreation (e.g. swimming pools, water slides).Golf courses must reduce their allocated water use by 45%.

The new, mandatory restrictions apply to all water from traditional sources, including water from public utilities, private wells, canals, ponds, and lakes. Users of 100% reclaimed water are exempt from the restrictions but are encouraged to conserve water voluntarily.

Because jurisdiction in certain counties is shared with other water management districts, the SFWMD has coordinated with these agencies to simplify implementation and enforcement. Residents of Orange and Osceola counties should adhere to any water restrictions set by the St. Johns River Water Management District. Residents of Polk, Highlands, and Charlotte counties should adhere to the water restrictions set by the Southwest Florida Water Management District. However, golf courses, nurseries, and agricultural users District-wide should follow SFWMD water-use restrictions.

For additional information on the water shortage, irrigation restrictions, or water conservation, call the SFWMD’s toll-free Water Conservation Hotline at 800-662-8876, visit, or contact a regional SFWMD service center. Helpful water conservation tips are available at