The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognized Citrus County Utilities with a 2017 WaterSense Partner of the Year Award for its major contributions to WaterSense and water efficiency in 2016. The utility received one of 20 WaterSense awards today at the WaterSmart Innovations Conference in Las Vegas for helping Americans to save water, energy, and money.
Over the past decade, Citrus County Utilities and nearly 2,000 other WaterSense partners have helped consumers save more than 2.1 trillion gallons of water, or more than the amount used by all U.S. households for 75 days. In addition to water savings, WaterSense labeled products and homes have helped reduce the amount of energy needed to heat, pump, and treat water by 284 billion kilowatt hours—which is enough to power more than 26.3 million homes for a year—and save $46.3 billion in water and energy bills.
“Since 2006, utilities, manufacturers, retailers, builders, communities, states, and other organizations have voluntarily supported WaterSense program’s efforts to protect and preserve our nation’s water supply for future generations,” said WaterSense Program Manager Veronica Blette. “By saving water together, these award winners and all of our partners help consumers and businesses realize the environmental and economic benefits of water efficiency.”
Citrus County Utilities was honored in 2017 as a two-time Promotional Partner of the Year Award winner for working with its existing partners and creating new events to promote WaterSense and outdoor water conservation. The utility celebrated Fix a Leak Week 2016 by hosting a Water Conservation Expo with the Sugarmill Woods Civic Association and WaterSense partner Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD).
To teach kids about fixing leaks, Citrus County also held its second annual Toilet Leak Detection Classroom Challenge. Seventeen classrooms from seven schools participated. In total, the students tested 495 toilets and identified 80 leaks for a potential water savings of 16,000 gallons a day, and 151 families said they would replace their toilets with WaterSense labeled models when the time came.
The utility partnered with Lowe’s Home Improvement at the Citrus County Chronicle Home and Garden Show, as well as staffed a table at the Lowe’s and Home Depot stores, to promote the benefits of installing WaterSense labeled irrigation controllers.
Beginning November 2016, Citrus County Utilities and SWFWMD worked with the Withlacoochee Regional Water Supply Authority on a free irrigation evaluation program, which directly targeted the utility’s top 600 water users with a mailing detailing each customer’s water use and potential water and financial savings. Contractors installed WaterSense labeled irrigation controllers at sites with outdated push-pin controllers, replaced sprinkler heads when necessary, and installed rain sensors at interested properties.
“Saving water is a primary goal of the utility, especially reducing outdoor irrigation. WaterSense labeled products are easy for customers to identify and provide measurable benefits,” said Debra Burden, water conservation manager with the Citrus County Department of Water Resources.
For more information about WaterSense, visit www.epa.gov/watersense.