County

Valerie Theatre


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Why We’re for Water

 

Arguably, water is cheap. The Citrus County Department of Water Resources’ water costs less than one cent per gallon for the first 10,000 gallons, including its base water charge. Compare that to the cost of bottled water at the store, or filling up at your local gas station, and it becomes apparent that water, one of our most precious natural resources, is a bargain.

But while the cost is low, the stakes are high. In some communities, the water supply might seem abundant, but often that’s not the case.  According to the Southwest Florida Water Management District, its northern region groundwater percentiles have fallen below the 20th percentile 5 out of the last ten years. 

So what’s a concerned citizen to do? Start by standing up for water.  You can join thousands of your neighbors supporting the We’re for Water Campaign, organized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) WaterSense program, and by making simple changes at home.

If your home has an automatic irrigation system, examine its schedule.  On average, fifty percent of irrigation is wasted due to over watering and other inefficiencies.  Begin by adopting a seasonal irrigation schedule such as one day per week irrigation during rainy season months of late May to mid-October, as well as one irrigation day every fourteen days during the winter months of December, January and February. 

“The most frugal watering method is only applying ½ to ¾” of irrigation when 30-50% of the lawn shows signs of need like grass blades folded in half lengthwise or foot prints lingering in the lawn, said Debra Burden, water conservation manager with the Citrus County Department of Water Resources.  Then, set the seasonal irrigation schedule while away from the home for extended periods,” she added.  Those that prefer to set the controller and forget it, consider installing a Water Sense labeled controller that acts like a thermostat for the lawn by automatically adjusting for weather and season.  A $150 account credit is available to Citrus County Utilities customers that install qualifying controllers.   

Inside the home, the average American water use is about 100 gallons day.  It’s easy to find a few gallons to spare with these three simple steps: Check. Twist. And replace.

First, check toilets to reveal any silent leaks. Easy-to-fix household leaks can waste enough water each year to fill a backyard swimming pool. Just add a few drops of food coloring in the toilet tank and wait 10 minutes before flushing.  If dye appears in the toilet bowl, your toilet has a leak. If you find a leak, visit www.epa.gov/watersense/fixaleak for do-it-yourself repair tips or contact a plumbing professional.

Second, if you don’t have them already, twist an aerator onto each bathroom faucet to save water without noticing a difference in flow.  Faucet aerators cost as little as a few dollars and can save a household more than 500 gallons each year—enough to do 14 loads of laundry. For confidence that an aerator will have your faucet using 30 percent less water while still flowing with force, look for the WaterSense label, which is only awarded to products independently tested and certified to meet EPA’s water efficiency and performance criteria.  The Citrus County Department of Water Resources’ Lecanto office offers free aerators to county citizens that mention the “We’re for Water” campaign.

Third, replace your old showerhead with a WaterSense labeled model, which helps you shrink your water footprint while still enjoying a satisfying shower.  Making this switch not only reduces a household’s water use by 2,300 gallons annually, but also saves enough energy from heating less water to power a television for a year.  Accompanying savings on utility bills are an added bonus.

 

“We forget the water cycle and the life cycle are one.” – Jacques Cousteau

 

Want to do more? Then visit http://www.citrusbocc.com/waterres/conservation and take the “I’m for Water” pledge.

 

WaterSense is a partnership program sponsored by EPA that seeks to protect the future of our nation’s water supply by offering people a simple way to use less water with water-efficient products and services.


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Two Citrus County Projects Receive Funding from the Fighting for Florida’s Future Budget

 

Under the leadership of Governor Rick Scott, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection announced a suite of 40 projects that will receive $50 million from the Fighting for Florida’s Future budget to improve water quality, reduce nutrient loading, recharge water supply and protect habitat in Florida’s iconic spring systems. This includes a state investment of more than $9 million to protect springs in Southwest Florida, including Aripeka, Weeki Wachee, Kings Bay, Crystal and Rainbow springsheds. Combined with match funding from Florida’s water management districts and local partners, the investment in springs projects statewide will total more than $94 million during the 2017-18 fiscal year.

 

“Thanks to the continued commitment of Governor Scott and the Florida Legislature in securing a dedicated funding source for springs restoration and protection, we can continue to focus on completing strategic acquisitions and projects that will produce real benefits for our spring systems,” said DEP Secretary Noah Valenstein. “I look forward to continuing to work with the Governor and Legislature, the water management districts and partners in the environmental, agricultural and local communities to conserve and protect Florida’s iconic springs.”

 

“This funding allows our district scientists to continue the important work of protecting our water resources,” said Brian Armstrong, P.G., executive director of the Southwest Florida Water Management District. “We are thankful to Governor Scott and the Florida Legislature for their financial commitment to ensure these environmental treasures are protected for future generations of Floridians.” The project development process is a collaborative effort among the department, water management districts, community leaders and local stakeholders. Projects are selected based on pollutant reduction, water conservation, cost effectiveness and available matching dollars.

 

The following are the two selected projects for Citrus County, Kings Bay:

 

Citrus County Advanced Wastewater Treatment Upgrades: A total of $1.5 million in collaborative funding will be used for construction upgrades to the existing Brentwood Wastewater Treatment Facility to produce advanced wastewater treatment level reclaimed water. This project will result in an estimated total nutrient reduction of 13,698 pounds of nitrogen per year.

 

Citrus County Northwest Quadrant Sewer Extension: A total of $6 million in collaborative funding will be used for sewer main expansion construction within the Northwest quadrant of Citrus County primarily serviced by septic systems. This sewer main extension will route up to 2 million gallons per day of wastewater flows to the Meadowcrest Wastewater Treatment Facility to produce additional high-quality reclaimed water flows to be sent to the Duke Energy Crystal River Power Complex. This project will result in an estimated total nutrient reduction of 87,791 pounds of nitrogen per year.

 

A complete list of the springs protection projects funded by the Fighting for Florida’s Future budget can be found at:

http://www.flgov.com/2017/08/07/gov-scott-announces-50-million-for-springs-restoration-projects-across-florida/These projects will be considered by the water management district Governing Boards as part of their upcoming budget hearings.

                                                                       


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Transit offers new program for residents 60 and over The Citrus County Transit’s Transportation Disadvantaged Advisory Board has approved a new option for residents sixty years of age and over.   The new program invites any resident that is age sixty and over to get a free pass to ride the Deviated Fixed Route, and have a discount on the Para Transit service.  This opportunity is not income based and residents will need to show proof of age for the bus pass to be issued.  Passes and applications are available at the Citrus County Transit Center, located at 1300 S. Lecanto Hwy. as well as on the Citrus County BOCC website http://www.citruscountytransit.com/. For more information, call our office at 352-527-7630.