2nd UF Water Institute Symposium Abstract

Submitter's Name Jim Davis
Session Name Poster Session: Human Dimensions of Water Sustainability 1
Category Human dimensions of water sustainability
Poster Number 107
Author(s) Jim Davis,  UF IFAS Sumter County Extension
  Watering Smart & Efficiently in The Villages
  The state of Florida is number two in the nation for water use. Florida also has one of the fastest growing retirement communities in the United States, The Villages. The Villages is an expanding retirement community with an estimated population of 65,000 people in Sumter County. In 2008, The Villages was the fastest growing micropolitan area in the United States. In the United States, the average resident uses about 150 gallons of water a day. Half of the water used by each resident goes directly into the landscape. Due to this rapid rise in population and development, water conservation has taken a center stage in The Villages. Many new residents from other states moving to The Villages are unaware of the potential damage they can cause to our fragile water supply by watering inefficiently. Inefficient watering wastes our most precious limited resource and contributes to pollution. Excess water can carry harmful pollutants such as pesticides, oils and grass clippings into our rivers, lakes and other water bodies. The goal of this project was to reduce the total water usage used in the landscape for new residents moving to The Villages. This will be achieved by demonstrating and educating to new residents on how to operate their irrigation controller, proper irrigation maintenance, principles of Florida Friendly Landscaping and choosing the right plant for their area. Visual media aids and hands-on demonstrations of irrigation clocks and equipment were incorporated in this project. Pre and post tests were distributed to attending residents to examine behavior change. After attending the workshops, 80% of the new Village residents will have in increased their knowledge on water conservation practices to water more efficiently in their landscape.