Water-Related News

Many new homes in Polk County are saving water for the future

Twelve cities in Polk County now mandate the Florida Water Star program for new homes, making it the epicenter of the program statewide.

More than 1,000 people a day are moving into Florida. Having enough water to slake their thirst — as well as that of their lawns — can be a challenge.

We go to Polk County, where rampant growth is persuading some cities to take up that challenge.

Tony Campano opens the door to a model home in the latest subdivision cropping up in central Polk County. It's perched on undulating hills that used to be citrus groves. Now, the major cash crop for this area just south of busy I-4 is new homes.

"So we are in Lake Alfred Pines in Polk County, a beautiful community of 79 home sites," says Campano, vice president of procurement for Pulte Homes.

He points to what look likes like an ordinary washing machine.

But there's a difference with it and the dishwasher, showers — and toilets — in these homes. They all are part of a program called Florida Water Star, which aims to lower the thirst of the nation's fastest growing state.

"So we've got some low-flow faucets, lower-flow shower heads," he says. "We put a lot of time and effort into making sure we pick the right fixtures that are visually attractive but perform the way Water Star needs them to perform."

The program started 15 years ago in Jacksonville, trying to encourage water efficiency in new and existing homes. It's now a voluntary statewide program. But some cities are now mandating these water-efficient features be built into new homes.