Natives Landscaping - The Way to prevent huge increases in the cost of water.

Posted on 06/30/2011

I introduced two items this week to promote landscaping with plants and ground covers that naturally grow in Florida. This grew out of the fact that we have used all the cheap water in the Tampa Bay area. All additional water is going to come from rivers which cost twice as much and ground water or the desalination plant which costs 3.5 times as much. The solution is to shift our landscaping codes to promote native and/or "Florida Friendly" plants and grounds.

Please contact your City Council members to educate them on these needed changes.


The City Council PS&I committee will take up this issue on as soon as the committee chair sets a date. The members are Jeff Danner, Leslie Curran, Herb Polson and Jim Kennedy. Please encourage them to support the moves toward plants and covers that use less water, fertilizer, pesticides and maintenance.

UPDATE JANUARY 24th. We did the groundbreaking on the new water department
administration building on 16th St this week. It is designed to use 50% less
water than a traditional building and will only have drought tolerant landscaping and ground covers. It will be an excellent example of how governments would landscape to reduce water use and maintanence costs.

UPDATE: 2/18/09 The front page of yesterday's paper had a banner story about us running out of water. In spite of that, I am struggling to convince
council members that we need to move toward draught tolerant landscaping. This issue will come back to the Public Services & Inferstructure Committee next month.

UPDATE 7/20/09 - City Council will take the final step on Thursday to implement a new landscape ordinance that requires much more water efficient landscapes for new construction. Although the change will have a modest near term impact, as we redevelop our community, it will result in significant water savings.

UPDATE 6/29/11 - The Parks and Recreation Dept has been experimenting with a variety of St. Augustine alternatives, all of which require less maintenance, water, fertilizer and mowing. Some standup to foot traffic better than others. The areas in front of Sunken Gardens and the north side of the street in front of city hall are two examples of replacements for grass that are working well.

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