May 19, 2009

The Southwest Florida Water Management District celebrated the one year anniversary of the Water Program for Restaurant Outreach (Water PRO) by signing its 200th restaurant.

Water PRO, which was launched last May, is a free program that helps restaurants conserve water by educating staff and customers. As part of the program, the restaurant management agrees to only serve water upon request, display water conservation materials on tables, conduct self-audits and train staff.

The District supplies free educational materials to participating restaurants, including children’s coloring sheets, table materials and coasters. The District also provides the restaurants with self-audit checklists and educational workshops on additional ways to save water.

On Friday the Lakeview Grill at Tampa Palms Golf and Country Club was the 200th restaurant to join the program.

“More and more restaurant owners and managers are learning that participating in Water PRO is good for the environment as well as the bottom line,” said Amy Harroun, Water PRO coordinator. “Right now we have participating restaurants in all of the District’s 16 counties and we hope to continue to see the number of participating restaurants grow.”

A restaurant uses an average of 5,800 gallons of water per day, which equals more than two million gallons of water per year.

Some additional ways restaurants can save water is by installing low-volume faucets and toilets in bathrooms and by making other simple retrofits. In 2001, the District conducted a water-use evaluation on a Largo restaurant and discovered it could save more than 1.5 million gallons of water a year by replacing spray nozzles with sink aerators, installing low-flow toilets and reducing the flow in dripper wells and continuous flow faucets next to ice cream and butter scoop troughs. Water saved by these retrofits led to a savings of nearly $8,000 a year for the establishment.

For more information about Water PRO as well as a complete list of restaurants that participate in the program, please visit the District’s web site, or contact Amy Harroun at 1-800-423-1476, ext. 4782.

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