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Posted April 10, 2018 | 1:55 PM

Is Your Yard Landscaping Water Wise?

Annual community contest awards environmentally-conscious landscapers

Drinking water might be Florida's most precious commodity. That's why it's important to conserve as much of the resource as possible.

Tampa Bay Water, the region's principal water supplier, recognizes homeowners, businesses, and governments that protect the environment by observing the nine principles of the Florida-Friendly Landscaping program, as well as using irrigation systems and techniques that minimize water waste. Hillsborough County is a sponsor of the annual Community Water-Wise Awards, which recognize those who excel at conserving water in unincorporated Hillsborough, Pinellas, and Pasco counties, and the cities of Tampa, Temple Terrace, Plant City, St. Petersburg, and New Port Richey.

Think your yard or business has what it takes?
It's easy to enter the competition. Submit your online application and photos by midnight on June 30, 2018. If your landscape meets basic criteria, an expert will contact you to schedule a site evaluation this summer.

Contest Tips: Judges look for the use of appropriately located plants, minimal fertilizer and pesticide use, and efforts to retain or restore natural areas for wildlife habitat. Points are awarded for landscapes that strategically minimize the amount of grass and are also free of invasive species like Brazilian pepper, Melaleuca, and Chinese tallow.

Residential winners in each county and city will receive a handmade mosaic stepping stone. Winning businesses, homeowner associations, churches, and other nonprofit groups may choose a stepping stone or plaque.

Tampa Bay Water sponsors the awards to show landscaping can be beautiful while also environmentally sound with use of native plants and trees, water-saving irrigation, and little or no fertilizer.

Outdoor irrigation is by far the greatest discretionary use of potable water in the Tampa Bay area - up to half of some water customers' bills. Watering techniques such as micro irrigation and use of rain barrels can save money and large amounts of water.

For more information on this year's Tampa Bay Community Water Wise Awards, visit tampabaywaterwise.org.


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