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OUC and OCU water conservation projects under consideration for state funding

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OUC and OCU could save over 12.5 million gallons of water per year

PALATKA — Two water conservation projects in the St. Johns River Water Management District's portion of the Central Florida Water Initiative (CFWI) are under consideration for funding through a CFWI Water Conservation Cost-Share Program. District staff presented information about the projects to the Governing Board on Tuesday.

These are among five projects approved by the CFWI Steering Committee in late May. Together, the five projects are estimated to save nearly 50 million gallons of water per year (mgy). The approved list was sent to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) for final funding allocation. It’s expected that the districts will complete contract execution by July 2020.

“Water resource and water supply development projects help to protect our water resources and ensure that the needs of existing and future users are met,” said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle. “These projects support the district’s water supply core mission and water conservation strategic priorities.”

An Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC) rebate program will help homeowners purchase and install high-efficiency toilets in up to 376 homes and irrigation controllers that use weather data to reduce watering consumption in up to 200 homes. Total estimated water savings is 8.6 mgy.

An Orange County Utilities (OCU) program will provide hardware to homebuilders to upgrade irrigation systems to a Wi-Fi-enabled ET smart timer, rain sensors and high efficiency spray nozzles in up to 100 new construction homes. Total estimated water savings is 3.95 mgy.

The CFWI is a collaborative water supply planning effort among the state’s three largest water management districts, FDEP, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) and water utilities, environmental groups, business organizations, agricultural communities and other stakeholders. The CFWI Planning Area covers five counties, including Orange, Osceola, Polk, Seminole and southern Lake, where the boundaries of the St. Johns River, South Florida and Southwest Florida water management districts meet.

The CFWI Steering Committee is made up of the leadership of the water management districts, central Florida water supply utilities, FDEP and FDACS. Governing Board member Susan Dolan of Sanford represents the St. Johns District on the committee.