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Date of Issue: March 15, 2007

Three-strike rule applies in H20 restriction

A three-strike rule applies in enforcing the water restrictions in place in Manatee County due to a drought.

The county is responsible for overseeing water restrictions. When a violation is reported, a warning goes out. A repeat violation leads to a second warning. A third warning comes, via a law enforcement officer, with an invitation to court and can result in a fine of more than $100, said Sue Glasgow, a utilities coordinator for Manatee County.

Water restrictions are in place through July 31 in Manatee County under the rules of the Southwest Florida Water Management District. The restrictions also apply to the 15 other counties in the district.

Each county in the district is experiencing some water resource impacts as a result of lack of rainfall during the last year, according to a Swiftmud news release.

"We need everyone’s help to do what they can to preserve our precious water resources," stated Swiftmud executive director David L. Moore. "Working together we can meet our water supply challenges while also protecting the environment."

Lawn and landscape irrigation, regardless of whether a user is on a private or public water service, is limited to once a week on the following schedule:

  • Monday: Addresses ending in 0 or 1.
  • Tuesday: Addresses ending in 2 or 3.
  • Wednesday: Addresses ending in 4 or 5.
  • Thursday: Addresses ending in 6 or 7.
  • Friday: Addresses ending in 8 or 9 or unknown addresses.

Irrigation is restricted to 6 p.m. to 8 a.m. for properties less than two acres and 4 p.m. to 10 a.m. for larger properties.

The restrictions also state that hand-watering or micro-irrigation is allowed anytime. Car-washing is limited to once a week, although fundraising events are allowed.

Fountains and other aesthetic water features can operate no more than eight hours per day.

Swiftmud issues the restrictions, with each county setting up its enforcement procedures.

In Manatee, the policing is done primarily at the county level in response to citizen complaints.

"Neighbors," Glasgow said, "will tell on neighbors. And neighbors will tell on businesses."

Last year, Glasgow said, the county issued about 220 warnings.

Law enforcement personnel get involved for the third warning at a property.

"We pretty much work off complaints," said Dave Bristow, spokesperson for the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, which polices Anna Maria City.

The same applies in Holmes Beach, though the city’s code enforcement officer does address water restriction violations when dealing with other reported problems.