Don't drop watering ban
May 12, 2009
The Tampa City Council made the right call in March by banning outdoor sprinkling. Faced with a shrinking water supply and record drought, the majority recognized the obvious: Water for drinking is far more important than green grass.
So it is discouraging some council members want to reconsider the ban. Joseph Caetanao, John Dingfelder and Linda Saul-Sena want the city to allow sprinkling twice a month. Mary Mulhurn has asked for a report on water use. The issue will be revisited May 21.
The city should maintain the ban. It has done precisely what it was intended to do: dramatically reduce usage.
City officials say it has saved at least 450 million gallons - close to a week's supply. Such savings are essential if the city is to meet the public's drinking water needs.
The Hillsborough River, primary source of Tampa's water supply, is near record lows. City officials are buying water from Tampa Bay Water, the regional supplier. But the utility also is struggling to meet public demand.
This is no time for council to eliminate the most effective conservation step it has taken. Residents can water lawns by hand. That should be sufficient.
As Councilman Charlie Miranda warned his colleagues: "We are in a very serious crisis."
It's a crisis some members seem reluctant to acknowledge.
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