Conservation Takes Center Stage
April in Florida…
It’s an ideal time to enjoy a little fun in the sun and to remind Floridians about the importance of water conservation.
The state Legislature designated April as Water Conservation Month because April is in the dry season, typically the time when water needs are most acute and temperatures begin to climb. Although Florida receives an average of 52 inches of rainfall per year, 60 percent of that annual rainfall is from June through September.
If you haven’t thought about conserving water, now is a great time to start! On average, about 50 percent of home water use is for outdoor irrigation. One way to reduce your water consumption is by practicing Florida-friendly landscaping techniques. Florida-friendly landscaping, established by the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences for the Florida Yards & Neighborhoods Program, is a commonsense way to landscape that conserves water and protects the environment. Florida-friendly landscaping emphasizes the following nine principles:
•Right Plant, Right Place — Plants selected to suit a specific site will require minimal amounts of water, fertilizers and pesticides. Group plants according to their maintenance needs.
•Water Efficiently — Irrigate only when your lawn and landscape need water. Efficient watering is the key to a healthy Florida yard and conservation of limited resources.
•Fertilize Appropriately — Less is often best. Over-utilization of fertilizers can be hazardous to your yard and the environment.
•Mulch — Maintaining a 3-inch layer of mulch will help retain soil moisture, prevent erosion and suppress weeds.
•Manage Yard Pests Responsibly — Unwise use of pesticides can harm people, pets, beneficial organisms and the environment.
•Recycle — Grass clippings, leaves and yard trimmings recycled on site provide nutrients to the soil and reduce waste disposal.
•Reduce Stormwater Runoff — Water running off your yard can carry pollutants such as soil, debris, fertilizer and pesticides that can adversely impact water quality. Reduction of this runoff will help prevent nonpoint-source pollution.
•Protect the Waterfront — Waterfront property, whether on a river, stream, pond, bay or beach, is very fragile and should be carefully protected to maintain freshwater and marine ecosystems.
•Attract Wildlife — Plants in your yard that provide food, water and shelter can sustain Florida’s diverse wildlife.
Incorporating these simple steps will not only save water, but will help protect the environment for future generations. For more information about how you can conserve water inside and outside your home, please visit the Southwest Florida Water Management District’s web site at WaterMatters.org.