Skip to Main Content

Conservation and Environmental

Polk County Utilities Water Conservation

Here you will find useful information on how to use your indoor and outdoor water to maximize efficiency and minimize waste. By reducing the water you use you will also reduce your water bills, minimize your impact on our infrastructure, reduce future water needs; and, help to save our wetlands from fertilizer and pesticide pollution.

2021 Spring Conservation Newsletter

Indoor Water Efficiency

On average, 50 gallons of water per day per person is used for cooking, cleaning, washing, etc. You can save water daily by making a few simple changes such as:

Shorter Showers

Old shower heads used up to five gallons per minute. New EPA WaterSense shower heads use 1.5 gallons per minute or less. What difference does a gallon make?

Gallons per minute52.51.5
x 10 minutes502515
x 4 people20010060
x 30 days6,0003,0001,800

 

Newer Toilets

Old toilets from the 1950s used up to 8 gallons per flush, versus new, EPA WaterSense toilet that use 1.28 gallons per flush or less. What difference does a gallon make?

Gallons per flush83.61.28
x 5 flushes40186.4
x 4 people1607225.6
x 30 days4,8002,160768

Homes and businesses built in or before 1994 probably have 3.5 gallon per flush toilets (unless they have been replaced). If you would like to reduce your water footprint by replacing your 3.5 gallon toilets, click here for a toilet rebate application.

If you visit the Polk County Utilities Administration Building, ask for a free Indoor Conservation Kit. This kit consists of one low-flow showerhead, three faucet aerators, toilet leak detector tabs, plumbing tape, and installation instructions. A limited number of extra showerheads are also available.

Helpful Links: Water Use Calculator - See how much water your home is using.

Outdoor Water Efficiency

On average, 50% of our drinking water is used for irrigation. 50% of that water is wasted due to overwatering, watering roads and driveways, or by broken sprinkler heads. Here are a few ways to be more efficient:

Irrigation systems are not "set it and forget it." These systems require oversight to ensure that they function properly.

Rain sensors

Rain sensors are usually mounted on the eve of your house where they can receive accurate rainfall information. When placed under an eve, under a tree, or any other obstruction, they do nut receive accurate information. Rain sensors communicate either through wires or wirelessly with your time clock in order to prevent irrigation during or after rainfall. If your irrigation is running during or after a rain, your sensor is probably old, or it may be disconnected from your system. If your rain sensor is over five years old, consider replacing it. Any irrigation retailer or home improvement store should have them available or click here to go to a free rain sensor form.

Time clock

The time clock controls the days, start times and run times per zone of your irrigation system by controlling the valves. If you have a battery backup, be sure to change it out at least annually, especially after an extended period without electricity. It is extremely important to know how to properly operate your time clock. If you do not have instructions for your system, go online to your manufacturer's website for directions. If your clock does not retain the proper settings and is over 15 years old, consider replacing it. Smart timers may be an option for people who are comfortable with technology. These timers are connected either to your internet or to your on-site weather station and are controlled through your smart phone or computer. Click here for a link to a Smart Time Rebate and here for the required W-9 form).

On/off valves are directed by the time clock to control the water to their specific zone. These valves can sometimes leak and need to be rebuilt or replaced. YouTube has a number of how-to videos about fixing valves.

Irrigation lines transport water to your landscape. The actual transmission lines are usually underground; however, the emitters/spray heads are often exposed and at the mercy of lawnmowers or cars. Perform a monthly maintenance check of your irrigation system by turning on your time clock for a few minutes per zone. Check for broken or misdirected heads. YouTube has videos on how to fix or replace sprinkler heads. Consider changing to drip or micro irrigation in your flower gardens. While these options are not currently recommended for lawns, drip or micro irrigation will place water exactly where your bedding plants and shrubs need it. Click here to find the Landscape & Irrigation form.

If you prefer professional assistance, go to your nearest irrigation specialty store or contact an irrigation expert certified through FloridaWaterStar.com; FISstate.org; Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association or Green Industries Best Management Practices.