Water district asks residents to 'skip a week' of irrigation

The Southwest Florida Water Management District is asking residents who irrigate their lawns to “Skip a Week” of watering during the cooler months of December, January and February.

According to research by the University of Florida, grass doesn’t need to be watered as often during the cooler months, according to Swiftmud. One-half to three-quarters of an inch of water every 10–14 days is sufficient.

“Overwatering in the winter can encourage pests and disease in your lawn,” said Sylvia Durell, Florida-friendly landscaping project manager. Skipping a week of watering is as easy as “off” for residents with irrigation timers.

“Turn the timer to ‘off’ for the week that you want to skip, and ‘on’ for the week that you want to water,” said Durell.

Homeowners can determine when their grass needs water when:

Grass blades are folded in half lengthwise on 30 percent of the lawn. Grass blades are blue-gray. Footprints remain on the lawn for several minutes after walking on it.

In addition to entering the dry season, the region has experienced an extremely dry fall, with dry conditions expected to continue through next spring. All 16 counties within the district, including Manatee, are under a Phase I water shortage alert.

For additional information about water restrictions and water conservation, contact your local utility or visit the district’s web site at