It might cost to water your lawn on wrong day

Homeowners likely not aware water restriction violations could prompt fine

By Steve Patrick - News4Jax digital managing editor
Associated Press

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - It may come as a surprise to many homeowners, but people living in Northeast Florida are only allowed water their lawns twice a week in the spring, summer and fall, and only on days specified by the St. Johns County Water Management District.

The water management district, which covers 18 counties from the Georgia border down to central Florida, says about half of the 565 million gallons of water used every day is for landscape irrigation. 

With many lawns turning brown after a couple of weeks without significant rainfall and utilities warning that water pressure is dropping, it's a good time to review the restrictions.

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Even if it's your day to water, none is allowed between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. since so much of the water applied during those hours is immediately lost to evaporation. The restriction is not only for utility water, but from private wells and surface water.

So conservation is not only the neighborly thing to do, failure to follow the rules could cost you. In some areas, watering on the wrong day can result in a citation and, after one warning, a fine.

Potential fines for violations

  Duval County St. Johns County
First violation Written warning Written warning
Second violation $50 $118
Third violation $250 $268


Penalties can be enforced by the city, the Sheriff's Office or any law enforcement officer in the state. 

Last year in Jacksonville, 

There are some exceptions:

  • Irrigation systems may run at any time during the day for maintenance and repair up to 20 minutes per hour per zone. 
  • Irrigation using a hand-held hose equipped with an automatic shut-off nozzle is allowed any time. 
  • Discharge of water from a water-to-air air conditioning unit or other water-dependent cooling system is not limited. 
  • The use of water from a reclaimed system is allowed any day of the week, but never between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • The use of micro-irrigation is allowed at any time provided water use is limited to only what is needed.  
  • Irrigation for new landscapes is allowed at any time of the day for the initial 30 days and every other day for the following 30 days for a total of 60 days. 
  • Watering in of chemicals, including insecticides, pesticides, fertilizers, fungicides, herbicides, etc. is allowed within 24 hours of the application and cannot exceed 1/4 inch of water or the limit allowed on the label.  
  • People in Jacksonville who want to water on a different day or more than once a week can make that request to the city for an application fee of $150.

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