Every day throughout the St. Johns River Water Management District’s 18-county region, public utilities provide more than 544 million gallons of water for use inside and outside of our homes. We drink it, cook with it, bathe in it and maintain our yards with it. But potable, or drinkable, water is far from an unlimited resource. Today we highlight the city of Ocoee’s public utility as they implement programs to help their residents conserve water, save money and protect our environment.
The city of Ocoee Utility Department enhanced its water conservation efforts by implementing building codes that include indoor water conservation and energy efficiency measures. These efforts enhance the city’s existing efficiency standards for outdoor watering systems.
Typically, indoor conservation programs focus on replacing older plumbing fixtures with efficient products but do not require that new construction conform to these same standards. The city saw this as a missed opportunity and made it a requirement that in new residential and commercial construction, builders are required to use WaterSense® or equivalent plumbing fixtures and Energy Star®-rated appliances. The result of incorporating these federal programs is that new homes in Ocoee are, on average, 20 percent more efficient than newly built homes elsewhere in Florida, according to the utility.
The city of Ocoee Utility Department enhanced its water conservation efforts by implementing building codes that include indoor water conservation (such as installation of water-efficient fixtures) and energy efficiency measures.
“We believe implementing the indoor efficiency standards will allow more flexibility in long–term planning within our service area,” explains Jen Bolling, Ocoee Utilities engineering manager. “Enhancing irrigation standards and adding new reclaimed customers to our service area can account for significant reduced consumption. The addition of indoor efficiency measures ensures we are doing all that we can to meet consumption requirements outlined for the future.”
New homes in Ocoee are, on average, 20 percent more efficient than newly built homes elsewhere in Florida
Deirdre Irwin, the District’s water conservation coordinator, works closely with public utilities on water conservation expansion in the District.
“Ocoee is the only utility in our District mandating high-efficiency appliances and fixtures,” she says. “Everyone benefits by the city’s mandate. Builders can tout a product with added value and homeowners can save money on their monthly water bills.”
Next week, see how Clermont’s utility has put water users on a “budget.” Also, read our previous profile on Clay County Utilities Authorities’ creative work to save water.