Greater Pine Island Water
Association Inc.

Lee County Irrigation Restrictions – April 25, 2020

In order to protect and conserve crucial groundwater resources in aquifers for residents during the remainder of the dry season, the South Florida Water Management District issued mandatory water restrictions in all of Lee County in consultation with Lee County officials. Residents are required to only irrigate once a week, and there are irrigation limitations for nurseries, golf courses, agriculture, and recreational users.

Frequent hand washing uses very little water. Residents are encouraged to continue frequent hand washing. There are no restrictions on water use to respond to COVID-19. 

Overview of Irrigation Restrictions in Effect

The are several new irrigation restrictions that apply in all parts of Lee County and go into effect April 25, 2020. Restrictions include:

  • Strictly prohibiting all wasteful and unnecessary water use.
  • Restricting landscape and recreation irrigation to one-day a week.
  • Modified irrigation system restrictions for Agriculture and Nursery Uses

Currently the City of Sanibel, and all of Lee County, is under a mandatory water restriction order from the South Florida Water Management District which requires all property owners to irrigate once a week on specific days during specific hours.  

Landscape Irrigation Restrictions Details for All of Lee County Except Cape Coral

  1. All wasteful and unnecessary water use is prohibited.
  2. Even-numbered addresses (based on the last number of the address), locations with irrigation systems that irrigate both even and odd-numbered addresses within the same zones, such as multi- family units and homeowners’ associations, and rights-of-way or other locations with no address, may only irrigate on Sundays.
  3. Odd-numbered addresses (based on the last number of the address) may only irrigate on Wednesdays.
  4. All landscape irrigation is prohibited between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. to reduce evaporation.
  5. Use of 100% reclaimed water are not restricted. However, your reclaimed water providers may have local restrictions in place. Please check with your water provider for more information.
  6. Low volume irrigation, i.e., drip irrigation and microjet irrigation, must be reduced.
  7. Hand watering using a self-canceling nozzle is allowed anytime for no more than 10 minutes a day.
  8. Irrigation of landscaping which have been in place for less than 30 days, is
    • Restricted to the hours of 4 a.m. to 9 a.m., Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday for less than 5 irrigated acres.  
    • Restricted to the hours of 12 a.m. to 9 a.m., Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday for equal to or more than 5 irrigated acres.
  9. Water use for cleaning, adjusting, or repairing irrigation systems is:
    • Restricted to 10 minutes per zone, per week, for existing irrigation
    • Restricted to 10 minutes per zone on a one-time basis, for new irrigation systems.

SFWMD Issued an Emergency Order

The South Florida Water Management District issued an Emergency Order to implement these restrictions. The Order contains additional information on the restrictions put in place for all users.

To learn more, visit www.SFWMD.gov/Conserve

Conservation Tips

Our Florida lifestyle depends on a clean, ample supply of water.  It’s important for all of us to do our part in conserving the resource.  On this page you will find many ways and tips save our water resource.




        1.     Make sure your home is leak free.  Check your water meter when you are certain

                  that no water is being used.  If the meter reading changes, you have a leak.

2.    Repair dripping faucets by replacing washers.  One drop per second wastes 2,700 gallons of water per year.  Retrofit all household faucets with high-efficiency units that use 1 gallon of water per minute or less.


3.    Check for toilet leaks by adding food coloring to the tank. If it is leaking, colored water will appear in the bowl within 30 minutes. Flush the colored water immediately to avoid staining the bowl. Replace or adjust the toilet handle if it frequently sticks in the flush position, letting water run constantly. Install a toilet dam or displacement device, such as a filled 16-ounce plastic water bottle, to reduce the amount of water used for each flush. Be sure that it does not interfere with other parts in the tank or bowl.  A free toilet conservation kit is available in the GPIWA business office.  Other devices are available at hardware and home centers. Do not use a brick. Replace older toilets with low-flow models that use 1.6 gallons of water per flush or less. Older models may use up to 5 gallons of water per flush.


4.    Replace your showerhead with a low flow version using 2 gallons of water per minute or less. Older showerheads may use up to 5 gallons of water per minute. Take shorter showers. When taking a shower or washing your hair, turn water on to get wet; turn it off before lathering; then turn water back on to rinse off.


5.    Operate automatic dishwashers and clothes washers only for full loads. Scrape – don’t rinse – dishes before loading.


6.    Store drinking water in the refrigerator, and heat water on the stove or in a microwave. Don’t let water run from the tap to get cold or hot water.


7.    Defrost food overnight in the refrigerator, or use the defrost setting on your microwave. Don’t thaw food under running water.


8.    Kitchen sink disposals require much more water and energy.  You may want to consider a compost for kitchen food waste.


9.    Install an instant hot water heater on the kitchen sink and insulate water pipes.


10. Cool your home with an air-to-air system. Newer models are more efficient and use less water than heat pumps and air-conditioning systems.


11. Turn off the faucet after wetting a toothbrush, razor or washcloth. Turn the faucet back on when you are ready to rinse.


12. Avoid unnecessary toilet flushes. Dispose of tissues, insects, medicines and other waste in the trash.



  1. Adjust your mower blade to leave the grass 3 inches high when you cut the lawn. Taller grass encourages deeper root growth, shades the root system and holds soil moisture. Keep the mowing blade sharp to reduce stress on your lawn.
  2. Avoid over-fertilizing your lawn. Applying fertilizer increases the need for water. If you use fertilizer, choose one containing 2 percent or less phosphorus.  
  3. Apply fertilizer using smaller applications rather than a large, single application. Follow instructions on the label. The label’s the law.
  4. To prevent fertilizer spills, use a tarp under the spreader when filling or emptying it. Sweep any spilled granular fertilizer onto the grass. Never hose it off.
  5. Postpone fertilizing when more than 1 inch of rain is expected.
  6. Don’t overwater your lawn.  Lawns only need watering every five to seven days in the summer, and every 10-14 days in the winter.  A heavy rain eliminates the need for watering for up to two weeks.  Use a rain gauge to measure how much water your lawn receives. South Florida lawns typically need only ¾ to 1 inch of water each week.


  1. Water lawns during the early morning hours when temperatures and wind speeds are the lowest. This reduces water loss through evaporation.
  2. Turn off sprinklers when it rains. All automatic sprinkler systems installed since 1991 MUST have a rainfall shut-off device, according to Florida law. The device overrides the sprinkling system when it rains.
  3. Position sprinklers to put water on your lawn and landscape, not onto paved areas nearby.
  4. Install and use timers on all irrigation systems and portable sprinklers to prevent overwatering.
  5. Check and maintain sprinkler systems and timing devices so that they operate properly.


  1. Use Florida-friendly and drought-tolerant plants in your landscape. These plants do not need as much water as other varieties and are more likely to survive in a dry period.
  2. Use mulch in plant beds to retain moisture, reduce evaporation and discourage weeds that compete with plants for water.
  3. Install low-flow irrigation systems that apply water directly to plant root zones. This includes drip, bubble and micro-jet systems and soaker hoses.


  1. If you have a swimming pool, consider a new water-saving pool filter.  A single backflushing with a traditional filter uses 180 to 250 gallons of water.
  2. Be sure to monitor pool filling when using a hose.  Timers can be purchased to eliminate the mistake of forgetting to turn off the hose resulting in overfilling the pool.

Car Wash

  1. If you wash your own car, park on the grass or other non-paved surface and use a hose with an automatic or self-cancelling nozzle.  Consider using a commercial car wash that recycles water.

Using Hoses

  1. Do not leave hoses unattended. More than 600 gallons of water can flow from an open garden hose in one hour.
  2. Attach to your hose an automatic or self-cancelling nozzle that can adjust water flow from the hose to a fine spray. Always turn water off at the faucet, instead of at the nozzle, to avoid leaks.
  3. Check connectors on garden hoses and household appliances, such as dishwashers and clothes washers, to make sure that plastic or rubber washers are in place. Washers prevent water from leaking at the hose connection.
  4. Use a broom or leaf blower instead of a hose to clean leaves and other debris off your driveway or sidewalk.