St. Petersburg Times, aturaay, mavy iv/,
** Court of A icial are eat p ea
against springing during day
By-ROBERT HOOKER ru$ t" [. .. it is called by hydrologists then would
St. Petersburg Times Staff Writer ruin the wellfield.
CLEARWATER With the aquifer One consequence of the increasingly
beneath the Pinellas County water sys- heavy demands on the county system re-
tem's main wellfield "flirting at sea level," 13 cently will be higher bills for many cus-
"county officials appealed again Friday for tomers, Talley said.
compliance with a ban on daytime sprin- Under a policy adopted two years ago,
kling. ... customers whose water use jumps 30 per
Water Director Pickens Talley warned cent over their average must pay a sur-
that a weekend of little or no rain cou- charge of 50 cents per 1,000 gallons for
pled with continued high demand that extra water. Small users are not af-
could bring more urgent appeals, and fected, however.
some police action, next week. ..
The sprinkling ban applies to most of I
the county's large unincorporated area .,' Mid-May ending seen for
"and every municipality except St. Peters- South Florida drought
burg, Clearwater, Dunedin, Belleair, Gulf- MIAMI (UPI) South Florida is ex-
port, South Pasadena and Oldsmar. periencing its worst drought since 1971,
CLEARWATER officials also have but forecasters are optimistic the rainy
asked residents to refrain from daytime ___ mason w.il begm as exp e about mid-
sprinkling, and St. Petersburg has asked May.
its customers to "utilize reasonable con- PICKENS TALLEY Meanwhile, brush fires continue to
servation measures." ... policing is next. burn through parts of the parched Ever-
Saturday, traditionally a day for yard in fines, and an appeal to temporarily stop glades, generating smoke that is hindering
work, and Monday, apparently "wash all non-essential uses of water, like car drying conditions around Miami Interna-
day" for many, long have been the days of washing. tional Airport and the Palmetto Express-
highest demand on the county water sys- Both of those measures were taken last way. The state Forestry Division Friday
tern. spring, when the traditional dry season reported that about 15,000 acres are burn-
"It is sprinkling always highest dur- became the county's worst drought of the ing in Dade County.
ing the county's traditional April to century. Dozens of county water custom- Henry Tonkin, district forecaster with
June dry season that puts the biggest ers were fined for violating the sprinkling the National Weather Service here, said
drain on the system. Officials estimate ban. the county has had 3.34 inches of rain so
that 50 per cent to 85 per cent of that Because of additional water supplies, far this year. The normal raifall for the
water is lost to evaporation on hot days. two new mid-county storage tanks and January-April period is 9.77 inches.
Heavy pumping at the county's El- changes in the pumping regulations set by "For most of the county, the drought
dridge-Wilde wellfield already has the the Southwest Florida Water Manage- level is not as low as the records set in
aquifer "flirting at sea level," Talley said. ment District, county officials expect this 1971 (when only 1.78 inches of rain were
"If it goes any lower, we're going to have dry season to be an improvement over the registered during the first four months),"
to take some action." springs of 1973 and 1974. said Glen Schwartz, a meteorologist with
the weather service.
THAT ACTION, he indicated, prob- WHEN WATER in the aquifer be- Tonkin said "substantial" rains would
ably would be active enforcement of the 2- neath a wellfield reaches sea level, there is probably begin in another two weeks,
year-old sprinkling ban, which carries a danger that salt water will get into the which should ease the parched conditions
penalties of up to 60 days in jail and $500 fresh water supply. Saltwater intrusion, as in the Everglades.