Protect Our Water

Irrigation emitter- Shutterstock purchase


Water supply, water conservation and water quality are issues of critical concern for Florida. The available water supply for drinking water in Florida is limited and additional water supply sources are being explored in order to meet future water supply demand.


Excessive nutrient loading to surface and ground waters negatively impacts water quality and it is far easier and much less expensive to minimize the amount of nutrients that get into our waters than it is to remove nutrients from the water. Learn about fertilizer restrictions below.

watering restrictions

About Restrictions

The St. Johns County watering restrictions are designed to ensure the efficient use of water for landscape irrigation. The restrictions allow enough water to establish and maintain healthy landscapes year-round.

The mandatory restrictions specify the times when watering may occur, the amount of water that may be applied, and the days when watering may occur for residential and nonresidential locations. Watering Restrictions

Know Your Days

Time of YearOdd Numbered / No AddressEven Numbered AddressNon-Residential Property
Daylight Savings TimeWednesday
Eastern Standard TimeSaturdaySundayTuesday
  • Odd numbered address ends in 1, 3, 5, 7 or 9.
  • Even numbered address ends in 0, 2, 4, 6 or 8.
  • Water only when needed and not between 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Water for no more than one hour per zone.
  • Restrictions apply to private wells and pumps, ground or surface water and water from public and private utilities.

Daylight Savings Time: 2nd Sunday in March to the 1st Sunday in November.

Eastern Standard Time: 1st Sunday in November to the 2nd Sunday in March

Limitations & Requirements

  • Limited irrigation to the amount necessary to meet landscape needs.
  • Irrigation limitations apply to water withdrawn from ground or surface water, from a private well or pump, or from a public or private utility.
  • Persons irrigating with an automatic lawn irrigation system shall install, maintain and operate an automatic override system that turns off the irrigation system when there is “sufficient moisture.” This may include a rain sensor device that turns off the system during periods of rainfall or a soil moisture sensor that prohibits the irrigation system from turning on when there is sufficient moisture in the soil to maintain healthy plants.
  • Non-landscape irrigation, such as vegetable gardens, playgrounds, football and soccer fields, agricultural crops and nursery plants can be irrigated any time except between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Exceptions to the Restrictions

  • Irrigation using micro-spray, micro-jet, drip or bubbler irrigation systems is allowed anytime.
  • Irrigation of new landscape is allowed at any time for the first 30 days and every other day for the next 30 days. Limit irrigation to the minimum amount necessary for establishment.
  • Watering in chemicals, including insecticides, pesticides, fertilizers, fungicides and herbicides when required by law, the manufacturer, or best management practices, is allowed anytime within 24 hours of application.
  • Watering in chemicals may not exceed ¼ inch of water per application except as otherwise required by law, the manufacturer, or best management practices.
  • Irrigation systems may be operated anytime for maintenance and repair, not to exceed 20 minutes per hour per zone.
  • Irrigation using a hand-held hose with a spray nozzle that can be adjusted so water flows only as needed is allowed anytime.
  • Discharge of water from a water-to-air air-conditioning unit or other water-dependent cooling system is not limited.
  • The use of water from a reclaimed water system is allowed anytime. This includes systems in which the primary source is reclaimed water, which may or may not be supplemented from another source during peak demand periods.
  • The use of recycled water from wet detention treatment ponds for irrigation is allowed anytime provided the ponds are not augmented from any ground or off-site surface water, or public supply sources.


Landscape irrigation – The outside watering of plants in a landscape such as shrubbery, trees, lawns, grass, ground covers, plants, vines, gardens and other such flora that are situated in such diverse locations as residential areas, public, commercial and industrial establishments, and public medians and rights-of way. “Landscape irrigation” does not include agricultural crops, nursery plants, cemeteries, golf course greens, tees, fairways, primary roughs, and vegetation associated with intensive recreational areas, such as playgrounds, football, baseball and soccer fields.

Residential landscape irrigation – The irrigation of landscape associated with any housing unit having sanitary and kitchen facilities designed to accommodate one or more residents, including multiple housing units and mobile homes.

Nonresidential landscape irrigation – The irrigation of landscape not included with the definition of “residential landscape irrigation,” such as that associated with public, commercial and industrial property, including commercial or transient housing units, hotel and motel units, and public medians and rights-of-way.


For more information, contact Code Enforcement at (904) 209-0734 or report a violation using the SJC Connect app.

You can also find more water restrictions information by visiting St. Johns River Water Management District.


Why Do We Need an Ordinance?

June 1, 2010, St Johns County Commissioners approved an ordinance regulating the use of fertilizers and to provide accurate management guidelines for the application of fertilizers.  The fertilizer ordinance regulates the use of fertilizers containing Nitrogen and Phosphorus commonly referred to as nutrients, to prevent excess nutrients from entering our waters as a result of drainage and runoff. Proper fertilizer application will minimize negative effects of fertilizers to protect the quality of our surface and ground waters that are critical to maintaining a healthy environment, economy, and recreational opportunities.

The ordinance regulates fertilizer management practices and sets rules for the proper application and use of fertilizers.

Fertilizer Restrictions Flyer

Key Components of the Ordinance

All agriculture and silviculture activities are NOT regulated under this Ordinance.

Fertilizer application guidelines allow no more than 5 lbs of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet, per year, and less in some cases depending on type of grass. The State requires all fertilizer sold in Florida to be labeled consistent with this rule.

SpeciesLbs of Nitrogen / 1,000 sq Ft / year
St. Augustine2-4

Fertilizers shall not be applied if there is a flood, tropical storm or a hurricane watch or warning issued by the National Weather Service for St. Johns County, or if heavy rain is likely.

Fertilizer shall not be applied within ten (10) feet, or three (3) feet if a deflector shield or drop spreader is used, of any surface water body.

All commercial and institutional applicators of Fertilizer within St. Johns County shall abide by and successfully complete the training program in the current version of “Florida Friendly Best Management Practices for Protection of Water Resources by the Green Industries.”

All fertilizer businesses must ensure that at least one employee has an appropriate “Florida Friendly Best Management Practices for Protection of Water Resources by the Green Industries,” as amended, training certificate prior to the business owner obtaining a Local Business Tax Certificate.

Who it Applies To

The ordinance applies to anyone both personal and professional. And it provides exemptions for agriculture, golf courses, and specialized turf. The ordinance does not apply to farms, pastures, golf courses, and other specialized turf areas already under appropriate best management practices. Training for landscapers will be provided through the University of Florida St. Johns County Extension Service.