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Awards season open for water-efficient landscapes

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The deadline for applying for this year's Community Water-Wise Awards is June 30th.

CLEARWATER — If your landscape is both eye-catching and water-efficient, now is the time to enter the 2018 Tampa Bay Community Water-Wise Awards. Up for grabs are a custom-made, mosaic landscape stepping stone, recognition by local elected officials and neighborhood bragging rights.

Tampa Bay Water, in partnership with the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) County Extension Offices and Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Program, is looking to recognize residents, local businesses and community organizations who are committed to conserving water resources and protecting the environment by using best practice to create attractive, water-efficient landscaping. All entries will be reviewed by representatives of the University of Florida IFAS County Extension, who will then schedule on-site evaluations for all entries that meet the core criteria.

Water-Wise landscapes benefit the region because they use less water, require minimal maintenance and help protect the environment. Native and Florida-friendly plants that are properly placed are able to thrive in local conditions and are typically drought tolerant, while reducing the amount of grass in the landscape saves both water and maintenance time. Water-Wise landscapes also protect the environment by minimizing fertilizer and pesticide use and by reducing stormwater runoff.

“The Tampa Bay Community Water-Wise Awards program is a way to engage with the community and encourage more residents and organizations to make efficient use of our water resources and protect our drinking water sources from pollution,” said Dave Bracciano, demand management coordinator for Tampa Bay Water.

Getting your hands on the coveted award stone requires balancing Florida-friendly plants and landscape elements with attractive design and minimal maintenance, as well as using efficient irrigation techniques that reduce water use. To see if your landscape has what it takes to be named a champion, visit tampabaywaterwise.org to apply by June 30, 2018.

About the Community Water-Wise Awards
The Tampa Bay Community Water-Wise Awards program is designed to recognize attractive, water-conserving landscapes in various water-use sectors (e.g., homes, businesses, industry and government). Moreover, the program seeks to identify actual examples of outstanding Florida-friendly, water-wise landscaping and to promote those principles within the community. To learn more, visit tampabaywaterwise.org