Marco gets permission to allow watering three days a week, not two

Marco Island City Council’s meeting is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. Monday in the Community Room, 51 Bald Eagle Drive.

To read the city's water restriction variance request, click on documents below.

— The city of Marco Island has a unique water system, enough to exempt the city from newly imposed water restrictions.

The South Florida Water Management District recently announced two-day-per-week water restrictions for the 16-county district due to a record-setting dry season. That’s one less watering day than had been allowed in Collier County.

But the district has approved a variance from the water restrictions to allow watering on Marco Island three days a week instead of two.

The city of Marco Island applied for a variance March 23. On April 6, the water district granted the request for two months because of Marco’s unique deep water well source for irrigation, district spokesman Randy Smith said.

The city of Marco Island has an Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) system, which allows injecting of rain water into a deep well until it’s needed.

“They do what most other utilities aren’t able to do,” Smith said. “In the wet season, they are able to store water.”

Monday, the Marco Island City Council will be asked to adopt a resolution setting the hours for the three days of allowed landscape irrigation.

Currently, residents have the option of watering during five-hour periods on designated watering days, from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m.

The proposed watering time would change to begin at 12:01 a.m. on a particular designated watering day and end at 8 a.m. on the same day.

The issue wasn’t necessarily the time, but that it started on one night and ended on the following morning, said Jeff Poteet, acting general manager of the city’s Utility Department.

If there still are water restrictions in two months, the city of Marco would re-evaluate its water resources at the time, Poteet said.

The city then would decide whether to apply for an extension of the variance, considering that the typical rainy season should be ready to get under way.

Monday, the Marco Island City Council will be asked to adopt a resolution setting the hours for the three days of allowed landscape irrigation.

Currently, residents have the option of watering during five-hour periods on designated watering days, from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m.

The proposed watering time would change to begin at 12:01 a.m. on a particular designated watering day and end at 8 a.m. on the same day.

The city’s variance request asked for relief from April 15 until July 15, since it would be the hotter portion of the dry season when water is likely to be the most critical to the island’s landscaping and vegetation.

In addition to Marco Island’s ASR system, the city has a wastewater reuse program in which wastewater that is treated during the dry season is distributed for irrigation. The city also has a block-rate water-use program and has seen a 17 percent reduction in water use, according to the variance request letter.

The city stores water in anticipation of droughts, Poteet explained.

Last year, Marco Island collected more than 450 million gallons of water and didn’t withdraw any of it. In 2009, the city stored about 400 million gallons of water and used 480 million, Poteet said.

“Having this reserve of water to meet our needs is very important,” Poteet said.

Today, Marco Island has more than 1.3 billion gallons of water stored in its aquifer system.

Water that is collected and not used goes to the Gulf of Mexico, Poteet said.

The city currently has a two-year supply of raw water in a seven well ASR.

Marco Island, which also received a variance in December 2007, isn’t alone in getting a variance this year for watering.

As of Thursday, nine out of 14 applications from properties in Collier County had been granted, including The Old Collier Golf Club, Wyndemere Home Owners Association, Barron Collier High, Golden Gate High, Gulf Coast High, Immokalee High, Lely High and Palmetto Ridge High schools, according to email correspondence between water district and city officials.

__ Connect with Tracy X. Miguel at www.naplesnews.com/staff/tracy_x_miguel/

© 2011 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 14

marcofriend writes:

Don't be duped by the City. All they want is the revenue from the homeowners (which will be raised over 22% as soon as the Cost of Service Study gets done) and oh, by the way do you remember that you were raised 9-1/2% in 2010 and 10-1/2% this year? The 6% for to start this fall won't be enough so it will just never end. And don't forget all you snowbirds.......everytime you dump 6,000 gallons of water on your lawn, you get charged for 6,000 gallons of sewage even though you never put 1 ounce in the sewer system. If you must water, do it only once a week and let your lawn become used to the dryer conditions we live under. This summer it will be back to normal and just fine with all the rain. Do you want more facts? Go to the Cost of Service Study meeting or better yet, join Marco Island Homeowners. You all are paying interest on a bond from 2003 without even paying the principle down. That's how sharp we were when we bought this great and wonderful plant, and it ain't over yet folks. They want density transfer because of the mega water and wastewater plants they built. They can add multiple hotels/motels because we've got lots of capacity.

happy6 writes:

who's been only watering 2 days a week....there is no code enforcement...water everywhere.

OldMarcoMan writes:

If the City wont let you Water and your Grass dies is it still zero-scaping ?

GFonda writes:

Why dont we try and sell the excess water to other communities that are short rather than dumping it in the Gulf?

dc5799 writes:

Why don't they give us a free water day instead of dumping it in the gulf? Thank's but no thank's I will stay with 2 day's

ajm3s writes:

"The city of Marco Island applied for a variance March 23. On April 6, the water district granted the request for two months because of Marco’s unique deep water well source for irrigation, district spokesman Randy Smith said."

Is usage going down due to increase cost of water and associated sewer fees. To makeup the difference they petitioned for an additional day of watering.

Imagine, Marco Island the "environmentally sensitive" community is allowing more greening of lawns. If you understand block rate structure, it was developed to promote conservation. However, the city is now in a bind, the cost of water is rising so fast, that most folks have cut back on watering lawns to the extent that it is impacting revenues, which screws up all the rate structure analysis provided by Burton & Associates to pay for all the recent capital costs.

And to OldMarcoMan, that is the quandary for the city. The city now must deal with the landscape they created through city management of water and sewer services.

So are we going to solve the problem with a new ordinance requiring that lawns remain green to a certain color standard if an additional day is unsuccessful? Why would Marco Island be allowed an additional day? Because we have an oil well, oops I meant water well? Money, money, money.

Note: The city now has high fixed cost which will be borne out as "capacity charges" in the discussion to be held today at 2:30 pm. Simply for having a connection to the city regardless of usage. Was this the goal when Mr. Arceri offered his expertise, as a water management guru in times past, for the city?

If they will not consume enough to pay for the new facilities and upgrades, the city will simply charge based on "capacity".

Watch out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

chicky writes:

Not only that, but for every gallon of water that goes on your yard your also paying for it to go down the sewer.. And it's NOT!!! WE NEED SUB METERS CITY COUNCIL! Let them know Marco residents..

jmbaker writes:

Aside from reading this in the newspaper, does Marco inform us officially of these changes? I don't believe I got any notices of the number of days in the recent past (at least 6 months). Thanks...

Ocram (Inactive) writes:

If a person wishes to water his lawn twice a week the three day schedule does not help him. In a two day schedule you can water say Monday and Thursday. With a three day schedule if you water Monday you skip Wednesday and you may have to go to Saturday for the second watering. Too much time for decent irrigation if someone may believe in conserving water.

WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot writes:

They just screwing you for more money! Water away! What a joke!

Joe_Btfsplk writes:

We implemented xeri-scaping - natural FL plantings that do not require water or a lot of maintenance - we do not use water for the lawn. We still do pay the high base rate - even though no water use.

happy6 writes:

water dept person told me today that i had a meter thst has a larger feed line...if i would change to a smaller feed line my bill would drop appx $55/month...the larger lines were put in back in the day when we had no water pressure...there is a nominal charge for the smaller line/meter feed...but they assure me i shiould not see a change in water pressure....NOW...why aren't/weren't we told of all this before? if i can reduce my bill by 50 bucks a month...bring on the other meter!

marco97 writes:

Shadow, I changed my meter years ago and they would do it for free back then, no change in water pressure.

dc5799 writes:

Anyone know if there is a charge to change to a smaller meter?

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