By Brad Stager
Local residents can play a role in ensuring that the water coming out of their faucets is of the best possible quality and they can do it with funding from Tampa Bay Water.
Drinking water in Hillsborough County comes from a variety of sources, such as surface water from area rivers, groundwater from wells that tap into the aquifer, and even brackish water from Tampa Bay through desalination. .
As the region’s drinking water supplier, Tampa Bay Water has an interest in protecting its product at the source, wherever it is. It provides support through its Source Water Protection Mini-Grants program in the form of grants to community organizations, non-profit entities and schools for projects such as cleanups that reduce water pollution or awareness campaigns that educate the public to care for the natural resource.
The program has a total of $ 30,000 to fund projects. Grants are available in amounts of $ 2,000 to $ 10,000 per organization. Protecting water sources and their surrounding watersheds is the goal of grants and projects must reflect this, according to published guidelines. Local water sources include the Hillsborough and Alafia Rivers, the Tampa Bypass Canal, Tampa Bay, and the Florida Aquifer.
For Tampa Bay Water officials, the grants are a way to invest in the future quality of the region’s drinking water.
“Protecting drinking water starts at the source,” said Michelle Stom, communications director for Tampa Bay Water. “Partnering with the community in this effort helps ensure the region has a supply of clean, safe water for generations to come. “
The utility cites other benefits of protecting natural water sources, such as the need to use less energy and fewer chemicals to treat water that is not polluted, which allows for ‘to save money.
The Source Water Protection Mini-Grants program is one of the many ways that Tampa Bay Water engages the public in protecting drinking water resources. Other programs include rebates for individuals and businesses for installing water-efficient fixtures, toilets, or irrigation systems, as well as recognition of landowners who invest in Florida-friendly landscaping. that uses less water.
Grant applications must be submitted by 5 p.m. on Friday, November 12. You can find more information and an application file on tampabaywater.org. Notification of projects that will receive funding in 2022 will take place in December.