April is Water Conservation Month.

April is Water Conservation Month. A typically dry month in Florida, April is also when consumer water use is highest in the state.

Science tells us that residents often use more water than needed in home landscapes, though using Florida native plants and following Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ principles can help. In a recent experiment led by UF/IFAS Extension Broward County, nine homeowners learned how they could potentially save as much as 1.7 million gallons of water annually just by adjusting their plant selections along with how often and how much water they use in and around their homes.

“This is based on planting behavior changes reported by the participants and our water ambassadors,” said Lorna Bravo, director for UF/IFAS Extension Broward and an urban horticulture agent. “This is enough water to supply nearly 20 households with water per year that results in an annual value of $5,541 in water bill savings for participating households.”

Bravo led the experiment with a handful of UF/IFAS Extension Broward Master Gardener volunteers who serve as water ambassadors. “These savings can be duplicated in other counties by contacting your local UF/IFAS County Extension Office,” explained Bravo.

According to Bravo, urban yards and landscapes are the first line of defense in preserving Florida’s fragile environment.

“Recognizing the home landscape as part of a more extensive natural system will help us make sound decisions in creating yards that are designed for Florida’s weather and natural resources. This will help protect Florida’s natural environment for future generations,” he said.

Bravo recommends learning more about Florida-Friendly Landscaping, which operates under the UF/IFAS Center for Landscape Conservation & Ecology and is supported by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. To learn more, visit https://ffl.ifas.ufl.edu.

The mission of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) is to develop knowledge relevant to agricultural, human and natural resources and to make that knowledge available to sustain and enhance the quality of human life. With more than a dozen research facilities, 67 County Extension Offices and award-winning students and faculty in the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, UF/IFAS brings science-based solutions to the state’s agricultural and natural resources industries as well as all Florida residents.

To learn more, visit ifas.ufl.edu.

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