Are You Watering Your Yard On The Wrong Day? You Could Be Fined

Nov 6, 2018

Daylight saving time means folks get an extra hour of sleep, but in Jacksonville it also means they’re not allowed to water their grass as much.

Starting this week, city law says Jacksonville residents can water their lawns only once a week until the second Sunday in March  — or face fines.

These rules have been in place for a decade: During warmer months people can water their yards two days a week, but it goes down to once a week when it’s colder out: Saturday for those with odd-numbered addresses, Sundays for the evens, and Tuesday for non-residential.

Larry Figart with the county’s Urban Forestry division of the Extension Office says the seasonal rules make sense.

“When our lawns and plants are slowing down because it’s winter, they’re going dormant, they’re not growing we don’t need to be overwatering,” he said.

Plus, not complying  can cost residents.

Watering on the wrong day or more than once a week can result in increasing fines for each offense. Each day is considered a separate violation. Last calendar the city documented 102 water violations, 69 of them verified irrigation issues. 

  • First Violation: written warning
  • Second Violation: $50
  • Third Violation: $250

Penalties can be enforced by the city, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office or any law enforcement officer in the state.

But there are exceptions:

  • The use of micro-irrigation is allowed at any time provided water use is limited to only what is needed.  
  • Irrigation for new landscapes is allowed at any time of the day for the initial 30 days and every other day for the following 30 days for a total of 60 days.  
  • Watering in of chemicals, including insecticides, pesticides, fertilizers, fungicides, herbicides, etc. is allowed within 24 hours of the application and cannot exceed 1/4 inch of water or the limit allowed on the label.  
  • Irrigation systems may run at any time during the day for maintenance and repair up to 20 minutes per hour per zone.  
  • Irrigation using a hand-held hose equipped with an automatic shut-off nozzle is allowed any time.  
  • Discharge of water from a water-to-air air conditioning unit or other water dependent cooling system is not limited.  
  • The use of water from a reclaimed system, which may be supplemented from other sources during peak times, is allowed any day of the week except between 10 am and 4 pm.

There’s also another way to get around the rules: people who want to water on a different day or more than once a week can make that request to the city — for an application fee of $150.

Photo used under Creative Commons.

Lindsey Kilbride can be reached at lkilbride@wjct.org, 904-358-6359 or on Twitter at @lindskilbride