As seasonally dry conditions continue in Lee County, residents are encouraged to conserve water where they can and to limit lawn irrigation in accordance with the Lee County year-round water conservation ordinance. The ordinance must be followed, regardless of a home or business’ water source. Conserving now during the dry season will help protect declining groundwater levels throughout the county.
Groundwater conditions should improve with the onset of rainy season, which normally commences in June. However, the increase in usage because of drier-than-normal conditions combined with additional demand from the “Safer At Home” Executive Order has led to short-term stress on water resources. While it is important to conserve year-round, reducing usage now is vital to protect the resource, especially for those with home wells.
Residents are urged to abide by local ordinances that restrict lawn irrigation. Lawn irrigation can account for 50% of household use. While the Lee County ordinance applies to those in unincorporated Lee County, a comprehensive list of local rules can be found at www.sfwmd.gov/mywateringdays.
All local ordinances have provisions for enforcement of ordinance violations, which vary by community. People in unincorporated Lee County who irrigate outside the permissible days and hours can receive a warning on a first offense and fines following a warning; however, the county’s main objective is education about the ordinance. Neighborhood groups, Home Owners Associations and others are encouraged to share the above link.
Lee County is coordinating with the regional water resource authority, which is the South Florida Water Management District, to monitor conditions. In the event that a water shortage is declared for Lee County or other areas in Southwest Florida, the South Florida Water Management District will provide notice of any associated mandatory water-use restrictions.