Cape Coral mulls end to special lawn-watering restriction

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CAPE CORAL, Fla. City officials are considering an end to the once-weekly lawn watering restriction, a city spokeswoman said.

Levels have risen in the freshwater canals that supply irrigation water for the city’s residents. They’re fuller by 90 million gallons over their low point a month ago, when the restriction went into place, even as a severe drought persists.

About 17 million gallons are flowing daily into the canals from a 640-acre reservoir at a Charlotte County mining pit operated by Southwest Aggregates.

The city entered into a 90-day, $140,000 contract with the company on May 1 to pump water from the reservoir to the canals after a study determined the project was feasible.

The water travels in ditches along an 8-mile stretch of U.S. 41 and empties into Alligator Slough in the northeast part of the city. It flows into the canals from there.

More than enough water exists in the mining pit to keep pumping water to the canals until rainy season, the company said.

The lawn-watering restriction was an unprecedented move to address the water shortage, which threatened the city’s fire hydrants. The city’s utilities director recommended in December that it be put into place, but the city waited until April.

The city estimates it has enough drinking water, which comes from a different source than irrigation water does, to last the next 15 to 20 years.

Click here to see the watering schedule and read about the system of fines for violators.


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