Monday, September 19, 2011

Miami-Dade County programs help residents USE LESS!

A homeowner’s story of how County programs are helping him save water and money 
Miami-Dade County resident Carlos Lopez recently moved into a new home with an outdated, inefficient sprinkler system.  Wanting to improve both his landscape and his sprinklers, he contacted the Miami-Dade Cooperative Extension Service, a partnership of the Miami-Dade Consumer Services Department and the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

Mr. Lopez wanted to participate in the Irrigation Retrofit and Florida Yards and Neighborhoods programs, both funded by the Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department.  As part of the Irrigation Retrofit Program, Mr. Lopez received a free evaluation of his sprinkler system, including recommendations on how to make his system more efficient.  The participant applied the recommendations and upgraded his sprinkler system.  Afterwards, he was reimbursed for a portion of his expenses.

Single family homes qualify to receive up to $400 in rebates for making upgrades to increase irrigation efficiency.  Mr. Lopez added a weather-based irrigation timer to his sprinkler system to prevent unnecessary irrigation.  In his grass areas he replaced his sprinklers with more efficient multi-stream sprays. He also replaced sprinklers in his flower beds with micro-irrigation, which uses less water by applying small amounts only to the plant root zone.

These changes to his water use practices helped Mr. Lopez qualify his landscape as “Florida-Friendly”. The Florida Yards & Neighborhoods program honors homeowners’ efforts to conserve water and protect water quality and other natural resources. A Florida-Friendly landscape requires less fertilizers, pesticides and water. Each property is evaluated in accordance with the Florida Yards & Neighborhoods program’s nine principles, including design and maintenance practices. There are two levels of recognition: the standard, requiring at least 50 points; and the Gold, which requires at least 75 points.  Mr. Lopez achieved the Gold level.

Take a tour of Carlos’ landscape and irrigation system in both Spanish and English on the MiamiFYNandUCU YouTube page. (Still and video media courtesy of Michael Gutierrez, UF-TREC)


For information on Florida friendly landscaping, visit the Florida Yards & Neighborhoodswebsite at

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