It might seem impossible to enjoy a healthy, vibrant landscape during a drought, but many individuals, businesses and community groups are doing just that by using Florida-friendly, water-wise growing practices.
The Tampa Bay Community Water-Wise Awards recognizes people who are beating the heat by designing their landscapes with native and Florida-friendly plants, ensuring the right plants are in the right place and capturing rainwater to maximize its benefits throughout the dry season.
Past winners agree, switching to Water-Wise landscaping makes all the difference. Their initial labor of love pays them back year-after-year as they continue to reap the benefits of being surrounded by beautiful, low-maintenance plant life while saving money on their water bill and protecting the area they call home.
“We have so many droughts around here that at least I feel good that I’m doing something to preserve the environment,” said Beth Eisenfield, 2008 Water Wise award winner. Using micro-irrigation, she is able to get “the right water at the right place at the right time, and I’m saving money.”
Tom Ungaro, the 2011 Water Wise award winner, agrees on the benefits of thoughtful landscape design. “When I switched to rainwater and native, Florida-friendly landscaping, my water bill was reduced 80 percent of what it was prior to that when I had all turfgrass,” Ungaro said.
Another best practice in utilizing the Florida rain is to reduce stormwater runoff and help the landscape absorb what it receives, instead of draining off into the gulf or the bay. “In terms of stormwater runoff, everything that we have is a pervious surface,” said Rick O’Hara, 2010 Water Wise award winner. “We don’t have any impervious surfaces except obviously for the footprint of the house. We essentially have zero runoff.”
Using some simple strategies from the local County Extension office can help you transform your yard into a drought-proof oasis that can be enjoyed year-round. Visit fyn.ifas.ufl.edu today to learn how to get started.
Is your landscape already looking great and cheating the drought? Apply for the 2017 Tampa Bay Community Water-Wise Awards by June 30, 2017. To apply, please visit tampabaywaterwise.org.
About the Community Water-Wise Awards
The Tampa Bay Community Water-Wise Awards program is designed to recognize attractive, water-conserving landscapes in various water-use sectors (e.g., homes, businesses, industry and government). Moreover, the program seeks to identify actual examples of outstanding Florida-friendly, water-wise landscaping and to promote those principles within the community.
About Tampa Bay Water
Tampa Bay Water is the largest wholesale water supplier in Florida, providing high-quality drinking water to its members, who in turn, supply water to more than 2.4 million residents of the Tampa Bay area. Tampa Bay Water member governments include the cities of New Port Richey, St. Petersburg and Tampa, and the counties of Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas.