Botanical Gardens Signs Play Pivotal Role In Conserving Drinking Water

LARGO, FL — New signs were installed Wednesday at the Florida Botanical Gardens to help educate visitors about the importance of protecting and conserving drinking water sources.

The detailed markers discuss why wetlands are important to the water cycle and ecosystem, giving guests a learning experience while they enjoy the Florida Botanical Gardens at 12520 Ulmerton Road, Largo.

This project was a collaboration between the Florida Botanical Gardens Foundation, Tampa Bay Water, Pinellas County Parks and Conservation Resources and the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

Along with the signage, a Chronolog was unveiled, which will document the growth at the botanical gardens. To use it, visitors simply place their cell phone on the mount, take a picture and send it to the email address listed on the sign. By doing so, they enter their photo into a collaborative time-lapse of the wetland area.

Among those on hand for the installation were Chuck Carden, general manager of Tampa Bay Water, and Alison Miller, vice president of the Florida Botanical Gardens Foundation.

Tampa Bay Water is the largest wholesale water supplier in Florida, providing drinking water to Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties and the cities of New Port Richey, St. Petersburg and Tampa who, in turn, supply water to more than 2.5 million residents in the Tampa Bay area.

On June 10, 1998, the six-member governments cemented a regional solution that was two years in the making, ending the region’s “water wars.”

In the 25 years since Tampa Bay Water was founded, it has added river water and desalinated seawater sources, cutting the need to tap groundwater in half and reversing the environmental toll of years of over-pumping.

“Over the last quarter-century, Tampa Bay Water has done what it was created to do: end water wars, restore the environment and eliminate the costly legal battles that once plagued our member governments,” said Carden.

Twenty-five years after Tampa Bay Water was created, Carden said Tampa Bay Water provides “affordable, high-quality drinking water that meets or is better than all state, federal and local drinking water standards.

“It’s a remarkable accomplishment to cut the amount of groundwater we use in half while meeting the region’s growing needs,” said Carden. “We are proud of our progress and appreciate the support of our community, board of directors, member governments and the water management district to provide a reliable, affordable and sustainable drinking water supply for the Tampa Bay region.”

Tampa Bay Water, which has its administrative offices at 2575 Enterprise Road in Clearwater, is in the process of finalizing the fifth update to its long-term master water plan, a 20-year blueprint for meeting the region’s drinking water needs.

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