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Polk County Florida sprinkler irrigation on lawn

It’s safe to say that water conservation will continue to be a topic in 2024 with Florida water shortages. If you have been keeping up with the water shortage concerns in Central Florida, you probably know that the Southwest Florida Water Management District issued a Modified Phase 1 water shortage order on Nov. 21, 2023, effective through July 1, 2024, for counties within their service area, including Polk County.

Why did the district issue a Water Shortage Order?

freshwater wetlands at Circle B Bar Reserve in Polk County Florida

The reason behind the Modified Phase 1 water shortage order – lack of rainfall. Compared to the average 12-month total, Central and South Florida counties within the district received lower than normal rainfall during the summer rainy season and have suffered almost a 13-inch rainfall deficit.

Without consistent rainfall, deficits lead to declining water levels in our streams, rivers, lakes and aquifers. We rely on rainfall to help “recharge” or replenish the aquifers and maintain our natural bodies of water such as the Circle B Bar Reserve.

What is an aquifer?

An aquifer is a body of porous rock and sediment that holds water. Essentially, groundwater percolates through the layers of earth and collects in the empty spaces within the aquifer, which is where most of our drinking water is pumped. A lack of rain means that there is less water available to draw from the aquifer. The Floridan Aquifer supplies most of the water in Central Florida.

How does the water shortage in Florida impact me?

Banana Lake Boat Ramp and Dock in Polk County

The water shortage in Florida impacts our community. The order placed restrictions on irrigation schedules in some counties within the district’s area of service to conserve water and preserve natural resources. Polk County residents will not have to change their irrigation schedule at this time, unlike neighboring counties that were limited to watering once per week under the order as of Dec. 1, 2023.

For FAQs about the Water Shortage Order from Southwest Florida Water Management District, please visit their website here.

View Polk County’s water restrictions and irrigation schedule.

Do your part to conserve water where you can, visit the Programs and Rebates page for incentives and ways to save.

Understanding the Florida Water Shortage Order and Its Impact on Polk Residents

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