August 2010 Tampa Water Department News

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Use Common "Sense" When It Comes To Lawn Watering
A properly functioning rain sensing device can help prevent unneeded irrigation
Rain Sensor
Florida Statute requires everyone with an automatic landscape irrigation system to install, maintain, and operate some type of rain or moisture sensing device to inhibit or interrupt the operation of the irrigation system during periods of sufficient moisture.

Watering lawns and landscape plants can account for up to 50 percent of an average homeowner’s total water use. In Florida, most established landscapes only need about a half inch of water a week to stay healthy. During the rainy season much of that water may be applied naturally.

Qualifying Tampa Water Department customers without a functioning rain sensing device on their automatic irrigation systems can request a rain sensor for self-installation at their property online or by calling (813) 274-8121. A rain sensor check up guide, a sprinkler system maintenance check list and other free do-it-yourself irrigation information can be found at

Rain sensors, or rain shut-off devices, are designed to interrupt the cycle of an automatic irrigation system once a specific amount of rainfall has occurred. With proper maintenance rain sensors typically function for about three to five years and should be checked at least once annually. The sensors are wired to the irrigation system controller and mounted in an open area where they are exposed to rainfall.

While you are at your controller checking on your rain sensor, you might want to check your irrigation day setting, too. In July, Tampa returned to year-round water use restrictions that resulted in new assigned irrigation days for most locations. Find your watering days online at or by calling (813) 274-8032 for a recorded summary.

For customers residing within Tampa’s reclaimed water service area now is the time to get connected. Using reclaimed water helps conserve our drinking water supply, it does not have the same restrictions for irrigation and it costs less per unit than potable (drinking) water. For more information about Tampa’s reclaimed water, visit or call (813) 282-7827.

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The Tampa Water Department serves a 211-square mile area with a service population of approximately 652,000 people. The Tampa Water Department’s mission is to provide superior drinking water and reclaimed water services to its customers.
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