Cited for overwatering lawns, Clermont residents surprised to learn they were on a water budget

CLERMONT, Fla. — Longtime residents of one Clermont neighborhood are frustrated after they were cited for overwatering their lawn.


Several neighbors in the Verde Ridge subdivision said they received violation notices for going over their property’s assigned annual water budget.

According to the city, all homes are assigned a water budget to help control overall water use, but many residents said they didn’t even know they needed to adhere to it.

“I have been here since 2009. This is the first time I’ve received something like this stating that there is a water budget established for our property,” said Chris Burgess, who lives in the subdivision. “The city needs to do a better job at communicating with people.”

In a statement, a spokesperson for the city said the water budget system has been in use for more than ten years.

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The initiative aims to conserve water, and neighbors do not get notified of their property’s budget until they go over their annual limit. 

The budget system was implemented by the city to adhere to their consumptive use permit.

Clermont is one of the many entities with a special consumptive use permit provided by the St. Johns River Water Management District.

The permit system has been in place for several decades to divvy up Florida’s water supply. 

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“If we didn’t have this program, we wouldn’t be able to have the growth that we’re having in Florida without having negative impacts on our water resources in the state,” said Clay Coarsey, director of water supply planning, at St. John’s River Water Management District.

Those permits take in consideration current and future residents, and the levels of our aquifers.

According to documents on file with the St. John’s River Water Management District, the city of Clermont is permitted to use 9.66 million gallons of water a day.

The St. John’s River Water Management District said in order to adhere to permit restrictions, municipalities have adopted a number of strategies.

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Clermont’s annual water budget is just one of the many strategies adopted by local cities to conserve water.

The city of Clermont claims it only issues fines to residents who go over their annual budget as a last resort and there are multiple steps that come first.

A spokesperson with the city said their conservation department works with neighbors to help with water budget and water consumption concerns.

Residents can reach out to the Water Conservation Department at 352-241-0178 or email waterconservation@clermontfl.org.

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