Citrus County announces Grant Program to Reduce Over-Irrigation
Citrus County’s Water Conservation Program has been awarded $33,750 through a fifty percent cost-share grant with the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) to install approximately seventy-five EPA Water Sense labeled controllers at residences plagued with over irrigation. Advanced controllers automatically adjust irrigation amounts throughout the year, which research suggests will result in about twenty percent less irrigation annually.
“The grant will allow Citrus County Utilities to reduce water consumption of its highest users. According to the District, we need to reduce our customers’ water use to less than 150 gallons per person per day by 2019 and this is a step in the right direction,” said Ken Check, Director of Citrus County Department of Water Resources.
As of the end of August, the county had nearly 1000 customers that averaged over 25,000 gallons of water per month, according to the county’s conservation manager. That is more than 416 gallons per person per day. Initiatives that help reduce landscape irrigation are a priority for the utility. Landscape irrigation accounts for fifty to sixty percent of utility customers’ potable water consumption.
“We have smart meters in the Sugarmill Woods community that show pumping cut in half on non-irrigation days,” Cheek said.
This by invitation-only project is projected to be up and running by the end of 2018. Qualifying customers will receive a letter by mail or email. The Southwest Florida Water Management District grant is for Phase 2 of the WS labeled irrigation controller install program. The county recently submitted its grant application to the District for Phase 3, which plans to more than double the effort beginning in 2020.