Water Restrictions Phase 2 For Palm Beach County

Because lawn irrigation accounts for half of all drinking water used in South Florida, restrictions in the Lower East Coast (Monroe, Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties) require users to limit all outdoor water use -- including lawn watering and car washing -- to two days per week and no more than four hours per day.

Residents with odd-numbered home addresses will be allowed to water between the hours of 4:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Residents with even-numbered home addresses will be allowed to water between the hours of 4:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. on Thursdays and Sundays.

Residents also are asked to observe more aggressive water conservation practices within the home -- such as taking shorter showers, washing full loads in dishwashers and clothes washers, and repairing old or leaky fixtures.

  • Properties with 5 acres or less of irrigated area: Sprinklers can run from 4 to 8 a.m. on allowed watering days. Handwatering with one hose equipped with an automatic shutoff nozzle is allowed during those hours and from 5 to 7 p.m. on the same days.

  • Properties with more than 5 acres of irrigated area: Sprinklers can run from 12:01 to 8 a.m. on set watering days. Handwatering with one hose equipped with an automatic shutoff nozzle is allowed during those hours and from 5 to 7 p.m. on the same days.

  • Residents can wash cars and boats from 4 to 8 a.m. and 5 to 7 p.m. on allowed watering days. Washing must be done on or drain into unpaved ground.

  • Rinsing streets, driveways and sidewalks is prohibited at all times except when using low-volume pressure-cleaning equipment.

  • People with private wells must follow the same rules as everybody else. So must people who draw water from lakes or canals.

Exceptions

  • Irrigation with recycled waste-water is exempt from all limits.

  • New landscaping can be watered at any time by hand with one hose with an automatic shutoff nozzle.

  • Sprinkling of new landscaping is allowed from Monday through Friday for the first 30 days after planting. Permitted hours: 2 to 8 a.m. for properties with 5 acres or less and 12:01 to 8 a.m. for properties with more than 5 acres.

  • Filling and refilling of swimming pools is allowed. Anyone emptying a pool must drain onto a lawn or other unpaved surface.

  • Recirculating fountains are allowed if they don't leak, overflow or let water blow away.

  • Commercial carwashes can operate at any time, but they must use no more than 75 gallons per car or small truck.

Local governments will oversee the restrictions. Violations are punishable by up to a $500 fine or six months in jail. There may be some leniency where officials issue warnings while residents learn about the new rules.

The mandatory cutbacks are the first since a drought in 2000-2001 that left the state strapped for water. At that time, water levels in Lake Okeechobee ultimately fell to around 9 feet above sea level.

Currently the lake's water level is hovering around 11 feet, about 4 feet short of average levels during this time of year from 1992 to 2000, said Randy Smith, a spokesman for the water district.

More information

Contact the South Florida Water Management District at www.sfwmd.gov or (561)686-8800