City Manager John Szerlag has issued a burn ban for Cape Coral and has declared a Notice of Emergency Stage I Water Shortage. The burn ban is effective immediately, while the one-day mandatory watering restrictions will go into effect Friday, April 21. The emergency water shortage declaration is the next stage of the City's Emergency Water Conservation Plan authorized per Chapter 19-91 of the City of Cape Coral Code of Ordinances and requires mandatory one-day watering for all Cape Coral residents and businesses.
"The combination of no rain and only minimal reduction in irrigation usage by our residents and businesses has lowered the water in our freshwater canal system to critical levels," said Szerlag. "We cannot risk the public safety of our citizens who rely on fire protection from hundreds of fire hydrants connected to the irrigation supply. At the same, we also must take steps to limit potential fire risk by issuing the burn ban."
The burn ban is effective immediately and prohibits most open burning with the exception of barbecue grills. With the Stage I Water Shortage, the city is providing residents one week to adjust their timers and set their sprinklers to their permitted day and time. Beginning Friday, April 21, the city will begin enforcing the one-day watering schedule. First violations are a warning; second violations will be $100 fines; third violations are $200 fines; and, fourth violations will be $400 fines plus disconnection from the irrigation system. Residents are reminded that hand watering is allowed at any time.
The city actively is trying to address the water supply side and is taking steps to initiate a "test run" for an alternative water source - the reservoir located at Southwest Aggregates Mining in Charlotte County. Once the required letters of authorization and an agreement with the property owner are finalized, the city can begin pumping millions of gallons of water from the reservoir into the city's freshwater system in the north Cape.
"If the 'test run' is under way and successful within the next two weeks, the city may be able to rescind the Stage I water shortage and mandatory one-day watering restrictions," said Szerlag. "Until that time, one-day watering is necessary to protect the safety of the community."
In March, the City reduced watering for medians and non-exempt city facilities to one day a week and asked residents to cut back on irrigation activities to help in the conservation effort. The city also increased enforcement activity to address illegal watering and delegated responsibility for enforcing watering restrictions to employees within the Utilities Department. These employees supplement the efforts of the City's Code Compliance officers.
Here is the mandatory one-day watering schedule, based on the last number of your address, effective for all Cape Coral residents and businesses beginning Friday, April 21:
0 - Monday, Midnight to 4 a.m.
1 - Friday, 4 a.m. to 8 a.m.
2 - Thursday, Midnight to 4 a.m.
3 - Wednesday, Midnight to 4 a.m.
4 - Sunday, Midnight to 4 a.m.
5 - Saturday, Midnight to 4 a.m.
6 - Thursday, 4 a.m. to 8 a.m.
7 - Wednesday, 4 a.m. to 8 a.m.
8 - Sunday, 4 a.m. to 8 a.m.
9 - Saturday, 4 a.m. to 8 a.m.
For properties or developments up to and including 5 acres in size that have an irrigation system that simultaneously irrigates multiple properties with different watering times including, but not limited to, duplexes, multi-family units, compound use and mixed use units, the watering schedule shall not be as described in the chart above, but shall be allowed on Mondays from 4 a.m. to 8 a.m.
For properties or developments more than 5 acres in size that have an irrigation system that simultaneously irrigates multiple properties with different watering times including, but not limited to, multi-family, compound use and mixed use units, the watering schedule shall not be as described in the chart above, but shall be allowed on Mondays from 12 a.m. to 8 a.m.