May 3 2020
By: Jim Frankowiak
Prudent use of water is an ongoing matter of importance for the Southwest Florida Water Management District (District). Demand projections by the District show the Tampa Bay region will need an additional 10 million gallons per day of new water supply in 2028.
Five local governments are partnering with Tampa Bay Water and the District to save water through the implementation of the Tampa Bay Water Wise program that offers rebates to residents, commercial property owners, contractors, and builders who take proactive steps to reduce water use and demand on the region’s water supply. Tampa Bay Water Wise is designed to save up to 11 million gallons of water per day by 2030 at less than a quarter of the cost of the least expensive new water supply option, which is expanding the water surface plant.
Residents, commercial project owners, contractors, and builders in Hillsborough, Pasco, and Pinellas counties, as well as the cities of New Port Richey and St. Petersburg may qualify for Water Wise rebates. Residential rebates are available for high-efficiency toilet retrofits for single and multi-family homes, smart irrigation controllers, and shallow wells for outdoor irrigation. Rebates range from $75 up to $1,000.
Commercial rebates are available for cooling towers, commercial dishwashers, pre-rinse spray valves, tank-type toilets, half-gallon urinals, and flush valve toilets, and they range from $50 to $1,000.
Builders who achieve the Florida Water Star certification may be eligible for a $1,000 rebate. More information on rebates and qualifying is available at the program website: tampabaywaterwise.org
The District also reminds residents of 10 simple tips to lower monthly water bills and conserve water:
- Only operate washing machines and dishwashers 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 dishes before loading 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 vehicles
- Consider installing a rain barrel with a drip irrigation system for watering your landscaping. Rainwater as rainwater is free and better for your plants because it doesn’t contain hard minerals
The District advises leaks are the biggest water waster, both inside and outside of your home, and 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 your hot water heater (s) and ice cube makers to refill and for the regeneration of water softeners. Check and record your water meter reading. Wait 30 minutes and read the meter again. If the reading has changed, you have a leak.
More information on water conservation is available at: www.watermatters.org/conservation.