Community Associations’ Impact on Water Quality and Water Use

Annemarie Post


The Sarasota County Extension Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Program for Community Associations was established to educate community associations and associated professionals about how to create and maintain landscapes that help reduce the pollutant load in stormwater runoff. The program seeks commitment from participants by actively involving the target group using site visits and presentations. Outcome measurements showed 425 (94%) of the 447 communities that received site visits since the start of the program made positive changes, 389 (87%) reported changes to irrigation system management, and 49 (11%) reported removing invasive plants and/or restoring natural areas. Of the approximately 2500 attendees at educational programs annually, 99% indicated on evaluation forms that they intended to make changes in their landscape practices. Knowledge gain was rated at 35%. Observed water savings of four community associations was approximately 390,000 gal/acre. Potential future water savings of the 620 associations reached 1.86 billion gal/year, conservatively. The success of this program has led to continued county funding through 2014, and it was also the incentive for the Southwest Florida Water Management District to fund similar programs in
several other Florida counties.


water conservation, sustainable landscapes

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283