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Citrus County Utilities Wins WaterSense® Sustained Excellence Award

By Meaghan Goepferich Posted on October 14, 2020

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recognized Citrus County Utilities with a 2020 WaterSense Sustained Excellence Award for promoting WaterSense and water efficiency in 2019.

Citrus County Utilities Wins WaterSense® Sustained Excellence Award

WaterSense recently recognized a total of 28 utilities, manufacturers, builders, and other organizations that are making it possible for consumers and businesses to save billions of gallons of water each year as part of its Partner of the Year Awards.

WaterSense, a voluntary partnership program sponsored by EPA, is both a label for water-efficient products and a resource for helping consumers learn ways to save water. WaterSense labeled products, homes, and programs helped consumers and businesses save 871 billion gallons of water in 2019, along with the energy used to heat that water and money on utility bills.

“Since the program started in 2006, our WaterSense partners have made it possible for consumers and businesses to save more than 4.4 trillion gallons of water and $87 billion on utility bills,” said Veronica Blette, WaterSense Program Manager. “Our award winners in particular have gone above and beyond to make water, energy, and money savings easy for Americans.”

WaterSense Award winners demonstrate their commitment to saving this precious resource by producing, building, and promoting labeled products and homes that are independently certified to use less water and perform well, as well as offering certification programs for water-smart irrigation professionals.

Citrus County Utilities was recognized with this second Sustained Excellence Award for its work in 2019 educating citizens and encouraging use of WaterSense labeled products. In January, staff attended the Manatee Festival, where they distributed more than 150 toilet leak tablets and 100 faucet aerators. During the annual Shrimpalooza festival, the utility celebrated Fix a Leak Week Mardi Gras style, hosting a booth with WaterSense information, toilet leak tablets, and water drop-shaped masks for children to decorate. The utility also hosted its 12th annual water conservation expo, where it promoted its Schedule a Specialist program to help customers save water at home. Additionally, Citrus County collaborated with WaterSense partner Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) to send over 4,800 letters to consumers promoting Fix a Leak Week and explaining how to fix common leaks.

Citrus County hosted three Irrigation 101 workshops in 2019 to educate over 70 residents who are new to irrigation systems about outdoor water efficiency. The workshops discussed the benefits of WaterSense labeled irrigation controllers and promoted Citrus County Utilities’ rebate program. In 2019, the utility had great participation in its Schedule a Specialist program, with over 300 residents taking advantage of the free home audit and receiving free WaterSense labeled fixtures, WaterSense materials, and rebate information. The county also held a raffle for residents to win a free WaterSense labeled irrigation controller.

Citrus County Utilities again collaborated with WaterSense partner, SWFWMD, to encourage a local Holiday Inn Express to take advantage of the Water Incentives Supporting Efficiency program. Through this collaboration, the hotel was able to install 78 WaterSense labeled toilets and qualified for approximately $6,000 in rebates. The utility also collaborated with SWFWMD on an email and phone survey of its high water use customers to help implement a conservation education program in 2020.

 “Citrus County’s continuing partnership in the EPA WaterSense program furthers the goal of educating our community on efficient water use,” said Ken Cheek, Citrus County Department of Water Resources Director.  “The program makes it easy to promote the use of WaterSense labeled products to our customers, which provides immediate cost savings to them and long term benefits to the overall community by preserving our water resources.”

For more information about WaterSense and the 2020 award winners, visit www.epa.gov/watersense.

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