Call Before You Install Program
Installing A New Lawn or Plant Material? Then you should "Call before you Install"
Citrus County Water Resources Can...
- Offer you additional watering times while establishing some new plant materials
- Add you to a "New Lawn & Plant Materials list" to avoid watering violations (save those receipts)
- Inform you of Florida-Friendly choices before you plant
- Offer you educational materials & resources
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It’s a fact that establishing a new lawn or landscape can consume large quantities of water. The Call Before You Install (CBYI) program was established to educate citizens on the most efficient way to accomplish necessary watering, as well as advise of irrigation restrictions that apply. The program asks customers to voluntarily call when installing new plant material.
Water Conservation Specialists conduct educational site visits for customers that have sodded only a portion of the yard and report additional watering is to be accomplished by an automatic irrigation system. Households that receive face-to-face visits from a utility conservation specialist show a 42% increase in water savings compared to a 1% increase among those that only receive an educational flyer (McKenzie-Mohr et al., 2012). If during a visit, specialists discover the new material consists of less than 50% of an irrigation zone, customers are encouraged to use a hose-end sprinkler or other efficient means. Under the current restrictions, small areas such as this do not qualify to use an automatic irrigation system to accomplish additional irrigation. Customers reporting an entire yard replacement are provided a verbal explanation of the watering allowance.
Speaking with customers at the onset of new plant material installation accomplishes three primary goals. First, CBYI reduces the number of customers that operate the entire irrigation system or a full zone to establish only a small area of new turf. This was a common practice at the time the program was established in 2012. Years of education have significantly decreased these occurrences.
Water conservation specialists patrol seven days a week to identify violations of the water restrictions within the CCU territory. The second goal of CBYI is to limit the number of citations issued to homeowners that have a valid new plant material exemption. Proper documentation of violations are time consuming, hence costly. The CBYI program keeps these instances to a minimum, commonly only dealing with new customers and those new to operating an irrigation system.
The third goal CBYI achieves is to educate citizens that rye grass does not qualify for irrigation beyond the two allowable watering days. When the program first began, a large percentage of customers were reporting the need for additional water to irrigate rye seed. Rye grass is typically used during winter months to maintain a green lawn. It is an annual grass that dies once warmer temperatures arrive. Therefore it is considered aesthetic and does not qualify for additional water. Thankfully, rye seed can successfully germinate while receiving only the evening dew.
Five hundred and twenty-five citizens called to report new plant material in 2015. Two hundred and sixty-eight of these customers received an educational site visit. Reported new plant material calls have decreased 62% since 2012. The reduced number of calls may indicate that customers are better educated about allowable watering.