Saturday, November 26, 2011

Murky Policy on Water Restrictions in Lake Worth

A loyal reader pointed out that the South Florida Water Management District rescinded their water restrictions in Palm Beach County earlier this month.  That means that if you live in Palm Beach County, with certain exceptions, you can now water three days a week.  The City of Delray Beach issued a press release on 11/23 to this effect:
If you go to the SFWMD website, you are greeted by the following advisory:
If you follow the link on that page and look under Palm Beach County, City of Lake Worth it takes you to this page on the city's website:
Notice the (name of utility) - evidence of sloppy cut-and-paste
Lake Worth happens to be one of those exceptions, but reading the above, click on image for more detail, you will find something that repeats the same standards that are in effect in all of Palm Beach County - which is incorrect.  This page dates from January 2011.  In actuality, the city is under mandatory ONE DAY a week watering restrictions based upon city resolution.  At my urging last March (2011), when the SFWMD standards changed, the city issued this press release which re-iterates its one-day-a-week watering restrictions.  This is actually the page that should have the back-link from the SFWMD website.

Now, these most stringent standards adopted by the City of Lake Worth are following our special agreement with SFWMD regarding a maximum drawdown limit on our wells, since they are subject to salt-water intrusion due to their location being so far east and close to the Atlantic Ocean.  Construction of our Reverse Osmosis water plant was in response to constraints on our supply and water quality issues.  I am not sure where all this stands now since our Reverse Osmosis plant is now on-line and whether that changes anything from SFWMD's point of view.  However, our resolution still remains in full force and effect.

Given that, the city is doing nothing to enforce these standards and many people water their lawns during the middle of the day on any day of the week.  The City is one of the worst offenders.  Just today on my bike ride along South Palmway, the sprinklers in the median were running in two places along the landscaped area - on a Saturday, during the middle of the day.  It is not my first time seeing these sprinklers working in this location during the middle of day - I would say it was about the fifth time in recent memory.

The public needs clarity on the water standards as mandated by City resolution, the relationship between the SFWMD standards and whether or not our Reverse Osmosis plant makes any difference.  If we are indeed only to water one day a week, that standard needs to be enforced - otherwise why have it unless it is to mollify certain commissioners who are doing it for other reasons?

This has been sent to the Mayor, City Commissioners and City Manager.