WEST PALM BEACH – The South Florida Water Management District has declared May 16-22 as Water Reuse Week.
As the state’s population grows, Florida’s water needs are projected to increase by about 500 million gallons a day over the next 15 years, explained Mark Elsner, SFWMD water supply bureau chief.
Traditional water supplies are being maximized, he said. About two-thirds of reclaimed water is used for irrigation.
Some utilities in Florida still use “outfall” – pumping into the ocean – to dispose of wastewater.
In 2008, the Florida Legislature passed the Outfall Act, which requires utilities to stop all outfall by 2025 and to reuse at least 60% of wastewater. He said some utilities are drilling deep injection wells to dispose of wastewater, so the requirement to recycle at least 60% of wastewater is important.
Some utilities are not going to meet that deadline, he warned. Utilities like Miami-Dade are struggling due to the volume of water involved he said.