WEST PALM BEACH — On April 8. the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) Governing Board declared April to be Water Conservation Month, an annual declaration highlighting the District’s efforts with communities, utilities, and local partners to encourage water conservation efforts.
Demand for water is projected to increase by 533 million gallons per year (15 percent increase) Districtwide over the next 20 years. These projected demands could be reduced by using water more efficiently through conservation measures.
One of the biggest impacts residents can make to conserve water is to adjust irrigation controller settings to reduce the irrigation frequency and duration. South Florida yards normally only need to be irrigated up to twice a week for 15 minutes. The majority of residential water use occurs outdoors with landscape irrigation accounting for 50 percent of home water use on average.
The District supports community outreach efforts to educate the public about ways to conserve water as well as supporting Florida Water Star aimed at helping new construction projects save water and Water CHAMP aimed at helping hotels save water.
SFWMD also supports water conservation projects by providing cost sharing grants with its local partners for more than 10 years. In the past two years, the District has provided more than $2.1 million in grants to 24 projects that are estimated to conserve approximately 963 million gallons per year.
Residents can learn more about things they can do around the house to conserve water including:
• Ensuring rain sensors are operating properly. Irrigating during or after significant rainfall is a major cause of outdoor water waste and can cost you money.
• Replacing aerators in kitchen and bathroom sinks.
• Switching to WaterSense-labeled and high-efficiency including indoor showerheads, bathroom facets and toilets.
• Implement Florida-Friendly landscaping by using native plants.
• Update appliances like dishwashers and washing machines to Energy Star rated products.
• Wash only full loads of laundry.
• Thawing frozen food in the refrigerator.
• Scraping your dishes before loading in the dishwasher without rinsing.
The efforts being highlighted by the Water Conservation Month declaration are working. Since 2005 the average amount of water used by each resident in South Florida has decreased from about 170 gallons per day to less than 130 gallons per day.