Water managers in Florida moved on Thursday toward a lite version of irrigation restrictions: more days, fewer hours.
With utilities from Fort Lauderdale to Marco Island warning about red ink, rate hikes and water quality concerns from current twice-weekly limits, the South Florida Water Management District's governing board signaled it was willing to give millions of homeowners an extra day to water the lawn. The tradeoff would be fewer hours each day to irrigate. The board called for more study.
The district has been working for more than a year on turning what had been emergency drought restrictions into a year-round policy intended to protect the Everglades, Lake Okeechobee and other systems from frequent drawdowns caused by decades of rising demands and droughts. But utilities and nursery growers in the 16 counties the district oversees have battled making the cutbacks year-round, citing revenue declines from water use that has fallen region-wide from 10 to 24 percent. To cover millions in budget shortfalls, many utilities, including Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood, have already hit customers with surcharges.
Read the full story at miamiherald.com.