The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognized Citrus County Utilities with a 2016 WaterSense Partner of the Year Award as a leader in saving water for future generations. Citrus County Utilities was honored at the WaterSmart Innovations Conference on October 6, 2016, for promoting water efficiency and WaterSense in 2015.
Since 2006, Citrus County Utilities and other WaterSense partners have helped consumers save 1.5 trillion gallons of water, more than the amount of water used by all households in California for a year. 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 212 billion kilowatt hours since the program began in 2006, enough energy to supply a year’s worth of power to more than 19.4 million homes.
More than 1,700 utilities, manufacturers, retailers, builders, and organizations partner with WaterSense. Only a select few, however, are recognized each year for their significant program contributions.
“Over the past 10 years, communities, states, organizations, manufacturers, retailers, and builders across the country have been working with WaterSense to help Americans save water for future generations,” said Joel Beauvais, EPA Office of Water Deputy Assistant Administrator. “I am pleased to see so many of our WaterSense partners making contributions to build the resilience of communities everywhere by helping people use water more efficiently.”
Citrus County Utilities may be a small utility, but it earned its Promotional Partner of the Year Award by making a big splash in 2015 with water efficiency education and other efforts. The utility sponsored a We’re for Water Classroom Challenge to teach 400 third through fifth grade students how to find and fix leaks and save water at home. Teachers from eight county schools received lesson plans that featured WaterSense materials and local water topics, and students tested 600 toilets and identified 130 leaks for a potential water savings of 21,000 gallons a day. The students were surprised to learn how many leaks they found. The program helped the students gain a deeper insight into how to conserve water.
The Citrus County Board of County Commissioners adopted a resolution that proclaimed March 16 through 20, 2015, as Fix a Leak Week in Citrus County. Citrus County Utilities celebrated Fix a Leak Week with three different activities: Schedule a Specialist, Facilities Checkup, and a Water Conservation Expo. Results included: 69 customers participated in Schedule a Specialist; a local bank received a facility check-up that saved over 400,000 gallons of water in 9 months; and 150 residents attended the Water Conservation Expo workshops, where the utility distributed 54 WaterSense labeled showerheads and 104 faucet aerators.
The utility used WaterSense’s Shower Better infographic on a March bill stuffer to promote WaterSense labeled showerheads and aerators, resulting in the installation of 107 WaterSense labeled showerheads and 193 faucet aerators. Through a cooperative funding initiative with the Withlacoochee Regional Water Supply Authority, Citrus County Utilities connected with Southwest Florida Water Management District, another WaterSense partner, and provided 46 free irrigation evaluations to customers. The results from the first 12 participants showed a decrease in water use of nearly 500,000 gallons per year.
Citrus County Utilities continues to support the adoption of WaterSense labeled products, such as irrigation controllers, aerators, showerheads, and toilets through rebates, retrofit/install, and giveaway programs.
“It is truly an honor to receive the award,” said Debra Burden, water conservation manager. WaterSense labeled products make it easy for our customers to choose watering-saving products – they just have to look for the label. We look forward to continuing our partnership with EPA and our local partners.”