Florida is called the Sunshine State, but we get a good amount of rain in the spring and summer too. So, what should homeowners do with all this extra rainwater? Why, save it and store it of course!
Saving rainwater for future use is called rainwater harvesting, and it is an important part of a Florida-friendly landscape.
Florida-friendly landscaping is key to winning one of the coveted Tampa Bay Community Water Wise Awards. The awards program, sponsored by Tampa Bay Water, the UF/IFAS Extension and the Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ program, recognizes homeowners and businesses who are committed to conserving water and protecting the environment by using the most water-efficient landscaping practices.
If you would like to enter this year’s contest, visit awards.tampabaywaterwise.org Entries are due August 31.
A key component of any Florida-friendly lawn is the use of rainwater harvesting to collect and store rainwater. Collection usually occurs from your home’s roof and gutters, and storage takes the form of a catchment tank.
Why is rainwater harvesting so important? There are several reasons:
- Harvesting rainwater reduces the amount of stormwater runoff that occurs, which helps reduce the amount of nutrients and contaminants that get washed into the waters we fish, swim and use as drinking water sources.
- Using stored rainwater instead of a home irrigation system can save you money by reducing your water bill!
- Rainwater harvesting reduces the use of drinking water for irrigation uses, keeping it reserved for drinking.
Rainwater harvesting works best on Florida-friendly landscapes – those that do not need much supplemental irrigation, which lowers the size catchment tank needed. The easiest and most inexpensive way to begin harvesting rainwater is with a rain barrel. Rainwater harvesting workshops, available through the University of Florida IFAS Extension program, teach you how to build and use a rain barrel.
To find a workshop near you, visit your local Extension’s website:
Watch the five-part video series that highlights previous winners of the Tampa Bay Community Water Wise Award, and provides tips on how you can make your landscaping more water-efficient and Florida-friendly.
For more information on making your landscape Water Wise, or to enter the contest, visit awards.tampabaywaterwise.org.