CLEARWATER - Tampa Bay Water, in partnership with the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences County Extension Offices and Florida-Friendly Landscaping Program, is accepting applications for the 2017 Tampa Bay Community Water-Wise Awards. Residents, businesses and community organizations with water-efficient landscapes that represent the beauty and resiliency of Florida’s natural environment are encouraged to apply online by June 30.
To apply, applicants should visit tampabaywaterwise.org to fill out a short form and upload photos of their landscapes. If it meets basic criteria, a representative of the University of Florida IFAS County Extension will schedule an on-site evaluation of the landscape and irrigation system.
The awards program recognizes those who are committed to conserving water resources and protecting the environment by using the best in attractive, water-efficient landscaping practices.
Winners receive a custom-made, mosaic landscape stepping stone during a ceremony presented by county commissioners, city council members or mayors within their local governments.
“It’s important that the community take steps toward efficient water use and protecting our drinking water sources from pollution – the Tampa Bay Community Water-Wise Awards program helps residents and organizations do that,” said Dave Bracciano, demand management coordinator for Tampa Bay Water.
Landscapes deemed water-wise use less water, require minimal maintenance and protect the environment.
• Reduced Water Use: Choosing Florida-friendly plants suited to Florida’s natural environment require less water. Native and Florida-friendly plants thrive in this environment and are typically drought tolerant.
• Minimal Maintenance: Water-wise landscapes typically have less turf grass and use plants that require less upkeep. Plant the right plants in the right places and, once established, the landscape requires almost no maintenance.
• Protecting the Environment: Selecting pest resistant plants, fertilizing appropriately and reducing stormwater runoff are all elements of water-wise landscapes that also protect the environment and drinking water sources.
Getting your hands on the award stepping stone requires balancing Florida-friendly plants and landscape elements with attractive design and minimal maintenance, as well as using water-efficient irrigation techniques that reduce water waste.
Past award winners have turned once water-thirsty lawns into beautiful, water-thrifty creations their neighbors and communities can enjoy. Watch the Community Water-Wise Awards video series at tampabaywaterwise.org to view a showcase of past winners’ experiences. The videos include information about their personal landscaping practices and irrigation techniques, and the benefits of Florida-Friendly Landscaping.
The Tampa Bay Community Water-Wise Awards program is designed to recognize attractive, water-conserving landscapes in various water-use sectors, including homes, businesses, industry and government). The program seeks to identify actual examples of outstanding Florida-friendly, water-wise landscaping and to promote those principles within the community.