By Brandon Moore
Tampa Bay Water is currently accepting applications for $20,000 in mini-grants to fund future projects and educational events hosted by local community groups, non-profits, schools and universities that strive to protect and promote the safety of the Tampa Bay region’s drinking water sources.
The deadline to apply for a grant is Thursday, October 31 at 5 p.m. Applications can be submitted at tam pabaywater.org/source-water-protection-mini-grant-funding, or by contacting Ivana Blankenship, Tampa Bay Water’s Planning & Outreach Program Manager, at 727-796-2355 or 996-7009.
To qualify for the grant, applicants must provide a plan for a project or event that is related to source water protection in the Tampa Bay Water service area. The program grants funds from $500 to $5,000 for community-based activities including but not limited to: river clean-ups, storm water nature walks and educational field trips. “Tampa Bay Water looks to partner with our community to guard our most precious resource,” said Blankenship. “The mini-grant program helps those who are dedicated to protecting our region’s drinking water sources.”
Past recipients have used the mini-grants to improve storm water runoff, reduce litter going into waterways and educate students on the importance of protecting drinking water. Recipients have included Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful, St. Cecelia Inter-parochial School, Lake Highlander Resident Owned Association, Tampa Bay Living Green Expo and Tampa Bay Beautification Environmental.
Even if you don’t have the time to execute a broad-scale source water protection project, you can do your part while still at home. These basic housekeeping practices will make a great impact on future water supplies one task at a time.
Carefully handle potentially dangerous substances and properly use and store chemicals. Limit your use of fertilizer applications on lawns and gardens.
Take used motor oil to the recycling center. Properly close unused wells. Regularly pump and inspect septic tanks. Plant vegetation on bare spots of the soil, particularly on slopes, to prevent excess runoff. If your schedule permits, take part in source water protection discussions and activities. Tampa Bay Water provides wholesale water to public utility systems including Hillsborough County. To learn more about Tampa Bay Water, please visit www.tampabaywater.org.