On Top of the World (OTOW), an active adult community in Ocala, plans for all future homes to achieve Florida Water Star℠ (FWS) certification over the next 20 years, saving residents millions of dollars and millions of gallons of water.
Today is the last day of Water Conservation Month, and April is traditionally one of the driest of the year and peak demand season for public water suppliers.
While the Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) encourages water conservation year-round, there is extra emphasis each April for Water Conservation Month. April is historically one of the driest months of the year and typically marks the peak demand season for public water suppliers.
With these 10 simple tips, you can lower your monthly water bill and do your part to save hundreds of gallons of water:
- Only run your washing machine and dishwasher when they are full.
- Use the shortest clothes washing cycle for lightly soiled loads; normal and permanent-press wash cycles use more water.
- Thaw frozen food in the refrigerator or microwave, not under running water.
- Scrape, don’t rinse, your dishes before loading in the dishwasher.
- Install high-efficiency showerheads, faucets and toilets.
- Check your home’s irrigation system for leaks.
- Turn off your irrigation system and only water as needed.
- Don’t leave sprinklers unattended. Use a kitchen timer to remind yourself to turn sprinklers off.
- Use a hose with a shut-off nozzle when washing the car.
- Consider installing a rain barrel with a drip irrigation system for watering your landscaping. Rainwater is free and better for your plants because it doesn’t contain hard minerals.
Leaks are the biggest water waster, both inside and outside of your home. You can use your water meter to check for leaks. Turn off all faucets and water-using appliances and make sure no one uses water during the testing period. Wait for the hot water heater and ice cube makers to refill and for regeneration of water softeners. Go to your water meter and record the current reading. Wait 30 minutes. (Remember, no water should be used during this period.) Read the meter again. If the reading has changed, you have a leak.
For more information about water conservation, please visit the District’s website at WaterMatters.org/Conservation.
The Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) is reminding residents to check the timers on their irrigation system controllers this weekend, which is the beginning of Daylight Savings Time.
Saturday night is when we will turn our clocks ahead one hour. The time change is also a good time to make sure irrigation system timers are set correctly to ensure that the systems operate consistently with year-round water conservation measures.
All 16 counties throughout the District’s boundaries are currently on year-round water conservation measures, with lawn watering limited to twice-per-week unless your city or county has a different schedule or stricter hours. Local governments maintaining once-per-week watering by local ordinance include Hernando, Pasco and Sarasota counties.
Know and follow your local watering restrictions, but don’t water just because it’s your day. Irrigate your lawn when it shows signs of stress from lack of water. Pay attention to signs of stressed grass:
- Grass blades are folded in half lengthwise on at least one-third of your yard.
- Grass blades appear blue-gray.
- Grass blades do not spring back, leaving footprints on the lawn for several minutes after walking on it.
For additional information about water conservation, please visit the District’s website at
The Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) is reminding residents who irrigate their lawns to “Skip a Week” or more of watering during the cooler months of January and February.
According to research by the University of Florida, grass doesn’t need to be watered as often during the cooler months. One-half to three-quarters of an inch of water every 10–14 days is sufficient. In fact, if your lawn has received any significant rainfall, then you can turn off your irrigation system and operate it manually as needed.
You can determine when your grass needs water when:
• Grass blades are folded in half lengthwise on at least one-third of your yard.
• Grass blades appear blue-gray.
• Grass blades do not spring back, leaving footprints on the lawn for several
minutes after walking on it.
Watering only every other week at most during the winter will help conserve drinking water supplies that the public needs for critical uses during the dry season.
For additional information about water conservation, please visit the District’s website at WaterMatters.org/SkipAWeek.
WISE will award applicants up to $20,000 to implement projects that help reduce water use and protect the region’s water resources. This program offers a funding opportunity to small utilities, hospitals, schools, prisons, homeowner associations, golf courses, hotels, manufacturers, food processing facilities and other commercial users who do not typically take part in the District’s Cooperative Funding Initiative (CFI).
Applicants can apply for WISE funding anytime throughout the year until all annual funds are awarded.
Ideas for eligible projects include:
• Toilet, showerhead and plumbing fixture replacements
• Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ conversions
• Irrigation system modifications
• Weather stations for irrigation control
• Cooling tower modifications and pretreatment systems
• High-efficiency commercial/industrial processing equipment
Additional innovative projects are encouraged. To learn more about WISE and how to apply please visit .
The (District) is offering six easy ways to prepare for your holiday meals and parties without running up your water bill.
During the holidays, water plays a role in everything from food preparation to the cleanup process. Here’s how to incorporate water conservation into your holiday preparations:
- Defrost frozen foods in the refrigerator or the microwave instead of running hot water over them.
- Rinse vegetables and fruits in a sink or pan filled with water instead of under running water. This water can then be reused to water houseplants. A running faucet can use up to 4 gallons per minute.
- When washing dishes by hand, fill one sink or basin with soapy water and fill the rinsing sink one-third to one-half full. Avoid letting the water run continuously in the rinsing sink.
- Select the proper size pans for cooking. Large pans require more cooking water than may be necessary.
- Scrape food scraps into the garbage can or a composting bin, rather than rinsing them into the sink’s garbage disposal. A garbage disposal uses up to 4.5 gallons of water per minute.
- Run your dishwasher only when you have a full load. Dishwashers use between 7 and 12 gallons per load.
For more water conservation tips, please visit the District’s website at
The Water Incentives Supporting Efficiency (WISE) program provides a cost share up to 50 percent reimbursement to support water conservation projects.
Cost-share reimbursements of up to $20,000 are available for water conservation projects that improve water use efficiency and help protect the region’s water resources. Funds are available for projects throughout the District. Applications will be accepted year-round until all project year funds are awarded.
District Collaborates with City of Mulberry to Implement Stricter Water Conservation Rules for New Construction
The Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) successfully collaborated with the City of Mulberry to approve a new conservation ordinance based on Florida Water Star (FWS) standards. FWS is a water conservation certification program for new and existing homes and commercial developments with strict water-efficiency standards for indoor fixtures and appliances, landscape design and irrigation systems. This action allows the city to maximize their permitted water quantities for new development in their area.
The new ordinance mandates water conservation compliance prior to receiving a certificate of occupancy for residential and commercial properties. The ordinance applies to new construction and retrofits of more than 50 percent of an existing irrigation system. To meet ordinance requirements, builders must achieve FWS certification or submit documentation verifying stringent water efficiency requirements have been met. Currently, homebuilders can receive $700 in rebates for each FWS-certified home.
Polk County is facing a challenge of how to meet the water needs of the growing region as the Upper Floridan Aquifer, the traditional source of water, is reaching its withdrawal limit. Other municipalities are considering similar actions to maximize their permitted water quantities, while alternative water supplies are being investigated.
The FWS Program was developed by the St. Johns River Water Management District in 2006 and became a statewide program in 2012. Most recently, FWS became part of the Florida Home Builder Association’s Certified Ratings Program and is now administered by Triconic LLC.