BROOKSVILLE - The local water authority board may have relaxed residential watering rules for the region because of ample rainfall the last couple of months, but Hernando County is sticking with its once-a-week schedule.
At least until County Commissioner Jim Adkins looks into the water usage statistics and decides it's time to add another watering day and be in line with the majority of other counties that are allowed to irrigate their lawns more frequently.
Adkins said Hernando County has had enough rain to probably justify two days a week and will meet with staff in advance of the Aug. 13 commission meeting.
"In reality, our water use should be down because we've had a lot of rain," he said.
But Commission Chairman Dave Russell said he favors keeping the current once-a-week schedule because it promotes water conservation.
Rather than change the schedule every so often to accommodate the rainfall in the region, it makes sense to stay the course, he said.
"I think consistency is the key," Russell said. "It helps us conserve water. It seems to be working so why mess with success?"
The Southwest Florida Water Management District (Swiftmud) governing board voted Tuesday to let all water shortage orders expire on July 31.
Residents living within the district's boundaries are asked to observe the district's year-round conservation measures beginning Aug. 1.
However, some local governments - including Hernando County - impose different schedules or retain stricter measures.
Governing board members allowed the water shortage orders to expire in response to substantial improvements in aquifer and river levels from this summer's above-average rainfall.
The region's major public water suppliers also have been able to capture and store large supplies of water to meet the needs of residents.
In areas other than Hernando County, year-round conservation measures include watering up to twice per week and allow residents additional flexibility for determining when to water.
Whatever the schedule, residents are encouraged to water only if their lawn and landscape needs it and turn off their irrigation system if it has rained or rain is predicted in the next 24 hours.
Some of the signs that a lawn needs water include a blue-gray appearance, blades folded in half lengthwise and footprints remaining on the lawn for several minutes after walking on it.
In Hernando County, watering is allowed one day per week, before 8 a.m. or after 6 p.m. on the person's allowed day. Those days are determined by addresses that end as follows:
No address assigned: Friday
New lawns and plants have a 30-30 establishment period, which allows any-day watering during the first 30 days during the allowable hours.
During the second 30 days, watering is allowed three days per week: even-numbered addresses may water on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday; odd-numbered addresses may water Monday, Wednesday and Saturday; and locations without a discernable address may water on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday.
There are no restrictions on fountains, car washing and pressure washing.
For more information on the district's year- round conservation measures, visit watermatters .org