Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

New Restrictions on Watering and Fertilizing; but Some People Think St. Johns River Water District Needs to Do More to Protect Resources

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

New Restrictions on Watering and Fertilizing; but Some People Think St. Johns River Water District Needs to Do More to Protect Resources

Article excerpt

Byline: SHAKAYA ANDRES

It's time for the St. Johns River Water Management District to step up and help conserve water, the St. Johns County Commission was told this week.

The commission was also told that more education is needed to help prevent fertilizer pollution in waterways.

At its Tuesday meeting, the County Commission unanimously approved restrictions on landscape watering and fertilizing to reduce excessive nutrients in the county's water bodies.

Jim Walter of St. Augustine said he's disturbed that the water management district demands that residents cut back on water consumption, telling them that the water supply is an issue in Florida, yet permits anyone who seeks a permit to take water from the St. Johns River.

"The thing that bothers me about this water business is that the water district is promoting it," Walter said. "They are saying we need to reduce [water consumption] and then turning around and passing out permits willy-nilly."

Commissioner Phil Mays, who represents Ponte Vedra Beach, expressed similar feelings before voting for the new landscape irrigation ordinance.

"I have never ever seen a case dealing with the water district where a permit wasn't easy to get," he said.

The irrigation rule is part of water conservation initiatives throughout the state to help protect the existing water supply. Florida's drinking water supply is limited and additional sources are being explored to meet future demand.

"The water district is taxed with furnishing water and making sure we have it in the future," said Chairmen Ron Sanchez.

Under the new rule, irrigation is prohibited between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Irrigation is allowed two days a week during daylight saving time and once a week the rest of the year.

The rule doesn't apply to agriculture, silviculture, golf courses and other intensive recreational areas such as playgrounds, football, baseball and soccer fields. …

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