Water is a basic and essential need of every living creature. Manatee County encourages and supports water conservation through various ordinances, educational programs and special events. Everyone has a role to play in conserving water and thus promoting a healthy economy and community. Manatee County calls upon businesses, schools, industries, citizens and visitors to help protect our precious resource by practicing water saving measures and becoming more aware of the need to save water.
Manatee County has implemented many strategies to improve water conservation in our own operations. Within county buildings retrofits of toilets and fixtures continue to occur. In landscape irrigation, reclaimed water is always used if available. Irrigation systems are routinely evaluated for leaks, broken heads and emitters. Drip is the preferred method of irrigation because it uses the least amount of water and it targets the root of the plant. Public landscaping also integrates drought tolerant plants in accordance with the Florida-Friendly Landscaping Program.
The Manatee Agriculture Reuse System (MARS) has provided reclaimed water for irrigation to agriculture, golf courses, and residents. This system provides an outlet for all effluent water generated by three wastewater treatment facilities. Reclaimed water is also used for rinsing at lift stations during County maintenance operations and for flushing toilets at G.T. Bray.
There are many rebate programs the County offers designed to reduce the demand for potable water used for flushing toilets and landscape irrigation. These programs offer financial incentives for measures like retrofitting fixtures and irrigation systems as well as for alternatively sourcing water.
You can learn more about watering restrictions, rain barrels, water conservation rebates, conservation tips and frequently asked questions by visiting Manatee County’s Water Conservation Program
Manatee County has proactive pollution prevention programs which address source reduction rather than costly remediation and cleanup. At the same time, staff is fully trained to handle emergency situations.
Water quality improvements and savings in treatment costs for the County's drinking water supply result from work to restore groundwater table levels and environmental productivity to approximately 10,000 acres of degraded wetlands in the Lake Manatee watershed. The rehydration, impacting approximately 10,000 acres of former wetlands, will result in water quality improvements for the county drinking water supply.
Implementation of nutrient reduction projects has resulted in the restoration of sea grasses in both Tampa and Sarasota Bays to 1950 levels. The Board of County Commissioners implemented a resolution establishing procedures to minimize fertilizer use on county-owned property while encouraging the increased use of slow release fertilizers.
Another program addressing water quality concern is providing biodegradable dog waste bags for visitors in parks and preserves. A variety of storm water management techniques are applied such as swales, pervious pavers, and cisterns as appropriate.
Inside our County buildings the use of “green” cleaning products are required in contracts with vendors and used by janitorial staff. The Parks & Natural Resources Department has realized an annual savings of over $8,000 by changing the cleaning products used to environmentally safe products, with an additional benefit of eliminating aerosols from use in their facilities. Using carpet squares rather than rolls of carpet provides carbon credits used for offsetting.
The Manatee County Utilities Department makes a commitment daily to provide the highest quality drinking water to the residents of Manatee County, Sarasota County and cities served. You can view the latest Water Quality Report to get information on drinking water quality and usage data. The Water Atlas is also a great tool for learning about a broad range of water resource issues in the county.