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CLEAN WATERS — In order to keep Florida’s picturesque waters clean, Be Floridian Now Outreach Coordinator Megan Martin said Volusians need to be aware of their fertilizer usage. After all, what goes in the ground, ends up in the water and can prevent pollution like harmful algae blooms and the deterioration of water quality in places like Orange City’s Blue Spring, pictured above.

On Oct. 21, Volusia County will ask residents to Imagine a Day Without Water.

Imagine a Day Without Water is a national campaign to raise awareness of the importance of water. Along with this campaign, Volusia has a number of year-round sustainability efforts to keep area waters clean.

Volusia County Sustainability and Volunteer Coordinator Danielle Ramsey said reflection on the importance of water is important.

“It’s the basis of our economy,” she said. “It’s an integral part of everyone's community.”

From running water from the tap to the local springs, water plays a role in every day of our lives.

“One of the pieces of the action plan is to get us to think about water, and what water means to us, and how important it is to our everyday life,” said Katrina Locke, sustainability and resilience manager for Volusia County. “From understanding where our water comes from, to understanding actual actions that you can take.”

Locke said there is plenty the average Volusia resident can do, from limiting the amount of water used in the home, to limiting use of fertilizers.

Volusia is a partner with Be Floridian Now, an initiative to reduce the amount of fertilizer used on lawns throughout the county. According to the Volusia County website, the top two contributors of pollution to Blue Spring are pollution from septic tanks and residential fertilizers.

From June 1 to Sept. 30, Volusia County prohibits the use of fertilizers that contain nitrogen, a common ingredient that can upset the balance of Florida’s delicate aquifer systems. Nitrogen fertilizers can be used on lawns outside of the blackout period, but only if 50 percent of the nitrogen content is slow-release, which disseminates nitrates into the soil more slowly.

“Not fertilizing at all can bring even more benefits to our environment,” said Megan Martin, Be Floridian Now Outreach Coordinator. “Individuals can make changes in their lawns, like incorporating native plants, to reduce the amount of nutrients and water required to achieve a healthy landscape.”

The goal of these programs, and other environmental initiatives the county is involved with, is to remind Volusia County that water doesn’t just come from thin air — well, most of it, anyway.

“A lot of times people will forget where their water comes from. There’s an actual source that comes from the environment,” Ramsey said. “If we don’t protect that, we aren’t going to have any for future generations.”

For more information about Imagine a Day Without Water and the other sustainability programs Volusia County has to offer, go to www.greenvolusia.org.