CLEARWATER - Ensuring the region’s drinking water is clean and safe starts at the source. Tampa Bay Water is offering mini-grants ranging from $2,000 to $10,000 to community groups, non-profits, schools and universities that will to join the water utility in preventing pollution, cleaning local waterways and protecting our drinking water sources.

The Tampa Bay region depends on water from the aquifer, rivers and desalinated seawater for its drinking water, and Tampa Bay Water works with the community to protect those sources. Mini-grant projects are ideal opportunities for scouts to earn merit badges, students to fulfill volunteer hour requirements, and service clubs and organizations to get involved in supporting public health and safety. The projects are also great for educators looking to combine STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) concepts and lessons with hands-on experience to supplement classroom learning.

To qualify for a grant, applicants should submit an event or project plan related to source water protection in Tampa Bay Water’s service area that includes Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties.

Here's how to apply:

• Download an application at tampabaywater.org/grant

• Provide a plan for events or projects such as river cleanups, litter prevention projects, public education campaigns and conservation outreach events in Tampa Bay Water’s service area.

• Submit applications by Nov. 15 at 5 p.m.

All applications will be reviewed and screened against the program’s selection criteria. Organizations receiving a mini-grant will be notified in December and funds will be granted in 2019.