Starkey Ranch in Pasco County is home to the state’s first community welcome center to be certified Florida Water Star℠.
The welcome center is a visitor’s first stop to get information on the new 2,400-acre master-planned community. Being certified Florida Water Star℠ means it features a water-efficient landscape, irrigation, appliances and plumbing fixtures.
For example, the welcome center has low-flow toilets, high-efficiency faucets and an ENERGY STAR® dishwasher. Outside, the center has drought-tolerant plants that use less water pesticides and herbicides. Aquatic vegetation is located in the nearby marsh, which helps protect water quality by reducing runoff and filtering pollutants.
Irrigation consultants, Ballenger and Company, installed micro-irrigation on the welcome center’s plant beds. They are Florida Water Star℠ Accredited Professionals, which means they are trained and certified to make water-smart decisions on irrigation. For example, they also used pressure-regulated heads on reduced turf areas.
Robin Grantham, the District’s Florida Water Star℠ coordinator, said thanks to the steps taken, the welcome center’s landscape will use about 15 percent less water than permitted.
“When potential homebuyers see these features here at the welcome center, it creates a discussion of water conservation, sustainability and environmental stewardship when making home purchasing decisions,” she said.
Starkey Ranch Project Director Matt Call said Florida Water Star℠ was the perfect fit for the welcome center.
“We believe green development is healthier, more beautiful, economical and just the right thing to do,” he said. “So getting our welcome center certified Florida Water Star℠ just made sense.”
Read more about the Florida Water Star℠ program.