*Note: South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) Mandatory 1-Day Irrigation Restrictions in Effect for Portion of Cape Coral*
(Please click for more details.)
Click on each tile below to learn more:
|Year-Round Lawn Watering Schedule
|City Ordinances & Codes
SFWMD Issues Mandatory Irrigation Restrictions for Portion of Cape Coral
On November 28, 2023, the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) declared a water shortage and issued mandatory irrigation restrictions for a portion of Cape Coral and unincorporated Lee County. Landscape irrigation is limited to one day a week in the designated area for irrigation water supplied by private wells.
The impacted area is experiencing the lowest ever recorded level, and the irrigation restrictions are expected to reduce the decline in water levels. A water shortage warning issued on November 21, 2023, is still in effect for all Collier and Lee Counties. All residents and businesses across the region are encouraged to use Simple Steps to Save Water throughout the year.
--> See Frequently Asked Questions about the irrigation restrictions or, for more information, visit SFWMD.gov/Conserve.
|See the list below for the special 1-day watering schedule (for affected area) during an emergency water shortage:
Year-Round Cape Coral Watering Schedule / *Unless Restriction is in Place
The City of Cape Coral’s year-round watering schedule is designed to ensure efficient landscape irrigation while allowing enough water to maintain healthy landscapes.
Each single-family residence has two designated time slots per week where they are permitted to water their lawns. Watering days and times are determined by the last number of the home address, as shown below.
See the list below for normal 2-day watering days and times:
- For addresses ending in 0: Monday and Thursday, 8 p.m. to 11:59 p.m.
- For addresses ending in 1: Monday and Thursday, midnight to 4 a.m.
- For addresses ending in 2: Monday and Thursday, 4 a.m. to 8 a.m.
- For addresses ending in 3: Tuesday and Friday, 8 p.m. to 11:59 p.m.
- For addresses ending in 4: Tuesday and Friday, midnight to 4 a.m.
- For addresses ending in 5: Tuesday and Friday, 4 a.m. to 8 a.m.
- For addresses ending in 6: Wednesday and Saturday, 8 p.m. to 11:59 p.m.
- For addresses ending in 7: Wednesday and Saturday, midnight to 4 a.m.
- For addresses ending in 8: Wednesday and Sunday, 4 a.m. to 8 a.m.
- For addresses ending in 9: Thursday and Sunday, 8 p.m. to 11:59 p.m.
- Watering new lawns and landscaping is allowed during a 30-day establishment period on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday from 2:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m.
- Irrigation of new landscaping that has been in place for 31 to 90 days shall be allowed on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday from 2:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m.
Multi-Family / Commercial Watering:
- Businesses, properties, or developments up to and including five acres in size, including duplexes and multi-family units, may water on Thursday and Sunday from midnight to 4:00 a.m.
- For properties more than five acres in size, including multi-family, compound, and mixed-use units, the watering schedule is Mondays and Fridays from 12 a.m. to 8 a.m.
- Businesses with watering times between 8 p.m. to 11:59 p.m. may water between midnight and 4:00 a.m. so as not to interfere with normal business operations.
<Top of Page>
Homeowners - What You Can Do!
Water is a shared resource that interconnects the environment, economy, and quality of life in our community. As Cape Coral's population increases, so does the need for all residents to conserve. Saving water is easy and economical. There are many ways to conserve water both inside and outside your home, including but not limited to those listed below:
- Never use your toilet as a wastebasket and never flush wipes; properly dispose of wipes in the trash.
- Do not let the water run while shaving or brushing your teeth.
- Take short showers instead of tub baths. Turn off the water flow while soaping or shampooing.
- If you must use a tub, close the drain before turning on the water and fill the tub only half full. Bathe small children together.
- Never pour water down the drain when there may be another use for it -such as watering a plant or garden.
Kitchen and Laundry:
- Keep drinking water in the refrigerator instead of letting the faucet run until the water is cool.
- Wash fruits and vegetables in a basin. Use a vegetable brush.
- Do not use water to defrost frozen foods. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
- Use a dishpan for washing and rinsing dishes.
- Scrape, rather than rinse, dishes before loading into the dishwasher.
- Add food waste to your compost pile instead of using the garbage disposal
- Operate the dishwasher only when completely full.
- Use the washing machine's appropriate water level or load size selection.
- Repair all leaks. A leaky toilet can waste 20 gallons per day. To detect leaks in the toilet, add food coloring to the tank water. If the colored water appears in the bowl, the toilet is leaking. Toilet repair advice is available at toiletology.com/index.shtml.
- Install ultra-low flow toilets, or place a plastic container filled with water or gravel in the tank of your conventional toilet. Be sure it does not interfere with the operation of the toilet’s flush mechanism.
- Install low-flow aerators and showerheads.
- Consider purchasing a high-efficiency washing machine that can save over 50% in water and energy use.
- Use your dishwasher and washing machine only for full loads. When possible, avoid washing during heavy downpours.
- Minimize the use of kitchen sink garbage disposal units. The units require a lot of water to operate properly and add to the volume of solids in a septic tank, leading to maintenance problems. Instead of using a garbage disposal, compost kitchen scraps and use the nutrient-rich compost to enhance yard or garden soil.
- Sweep driveways, sidewalks, and steps rather than hosing off.
- Wash the car with water from a bucket, or consider using a commercial car wash that recycles water.
- When using a hose, control the flow with an automatic shut-off nozzle.
- Avoid purchasing recreational water toys that require a constant stream of water.
- If you have a swimming pool, consider a new water-saving pool filter.
- Lower pool water level to reduce the amount of water splashed out.
- Use a pool cover to reduce evaporation when the pool is not being used
Water Efficiency Measures for LandscapingWatering:
- Set sprinklers to water the lawn or garden only - not the street or sidewalk.
- Install moisture sensors on sprinkler systems.
- Use soaker hoses and trickle irrigation systems.
- Do not water on windy days or in rainy weather.
- Detect and repair all leaks in irrigation systems, and check hose and sprinkler connections for leaks – a drop wasted each second can add up to a few gallons daily.
- Irrigate your lawn with reclaimed water where available.
- Harvest rain to water flower beds, herb gardens, and potted plants. Rain is free and beneficial for plants because rain does not contain hard minerals. Rain barrels are a good option in Cape Coral.
- Have your soil tested for nutrient content and add organic matter if needed. Good soil absorbs and retains water better.
- Minimize turf areas and use native grasses.
- Use native plants in your landscape that are adapted to the area and need less water. They require less care and water than ornamental varieties. On slopes, native plants will retain water and help reduce runoff.
- Remove thatch and aerate turf to encourage water movement to the root zone.
- Use mulch around shrubs and garden plants to reduce evaporation from the soil surface and cut down on weed growth. Mulching reduces water needed in a garden by as much as 50 percent. It also has the benefit of preventing weed growth, deterring pests, stabilizing soil temperature, and, as it decomposes, providing nutrients to the soil.
- Trees and shrubs, which have deep root systems, should be watered longer and less frequently than shallow-rooted plants, which require smaller amounts of water more often. Check with the local extension service for advice on the amount and frequency of watering needed in your area.
- Raise your lawn mower cutting height - longer grass blades help shade each other, reduce evaporation, and inhibit weed growth.
- Minimize or eliminate fertilizing, which requires additional watering, and promote new growth, which will also need additional watering.
Ornamental Water Features:
- Do not install or use ornamental water features unless they recycle the water. Use signs to indicate that water is recycled. Do not operate during a drought.
<Top of Page>
City Ordinances & Codes
The City of Cape Coral maintains a Code of Ordinances by which the city operates. The items with the biggest impact on local water conservation pertain to fertilizer restrictions and water management.
Fertilizer Ordinance 79-21
Excess nutrients impact the water quality within the City's canal system and surrounding waters. These nutrients can lead to algae blooms, decreased oxygen levels, and fish kills. These regulations apply to homeowners as well as commercial applicators.
Fertilizer is Permitted from October 1 - May 31 with the Following Restrictions:
- Fertilizer must contain no less than 50% slow-release nitrogen.
- Fertilizer should be applied at the lowest rate, but no more than 4 lbs. of nitrogen per 1000 square feet shall be applied to any area in a calendar year. A Cape Coral standard lot is 10,000 square feet
Irrigation Ordinance 46-23 (Effective 12/1/24)
This ordinance amends the City of Cape Coral Code of Ordinances Chapter 19, Water and Sewer Utilities, Article VII, Water Management. It states that a permit shall be required for the new installation of landscape irrigation systems and modifications to an existing irrigation system that cost $2,500 or greater in labor and material based on invoice value. City Council shall establish, by resolution, a landscape irrigation permit fee. This does not require existing systems to be altered or modified to meet new irrigation design standards.
New or retrofitted irrigation systems with soil sensors and smart controllers can apply for a variance. Systems that are granted a variance for installing smart controllers/soil sensors would not be required to follow the two-day per-week, year-round watering restrictions.
--> Click to learn more about the Irrigation Ordinance
<Top of Page>
Do you own or manage a commercial building? One of the main benefits of water conservation can be reduced operational costs. Here are some recommendations for making sure that you are using water in the most efficient way.
General Water Saving Tips:
- Perform a facility audit to identify where and how water is being used and could be saved. Establish specific water-saving goals and create a plan that includes the measures to be implemented in order to achieve those goals.
- Replace older water-using devices (e.g., faucets, showerheads, toilets) with more efficient ones.
- Promote water saving by educating staff on best management practices.
- Make sure all hoses have automatic shut-off nozzles.
- Install rainwater harvesting systems.
- Install submeters and flowmeters to monitor specific water uses (e.g., cooling towers, irrigation) and identify water-saving opportunities.
- Regularly check cooling systems and water-using devices for leaks.
- Develop a leak detection program and post signs on how to report leaks.
<Top of Page>