Saturday, November 8, 2014

Florida water demand shrinks even as state, US grow

Andy Reid and Kevin Spear in the Sun-Sentinel (Florida): Aross the country and in Florida, Americans are only using as much water as almost 45 years ago, even though the population has grown by more than 100 million people, the U.S. Geological Survey reported this week. Environmentalists point to efficient toilets, low-flow showers and limits on lawn sprinkling, saying water conservation is the way to go.

"We have hardly scratched the surface of what can be achieved by really effective efforts toward water conservation," Audubon Florida's Charles Lee said in a comment on

In Florida, increased water demand has been anticipated for years but has failed in nearly spectacular fashion to materialize. Earlier this year, a USGS report for Florida stated that freshwater use in the state decreased 22 percent from 2000 to 2010, while the state's population increased 18 percent. In South Florida, the amount of water used is about the same as it was in 1995, even with 1.1 million more people in the region, according to the South Florida Water Management District.

As a result, per capita water use in Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties also dropped about 22 percent from 1995 to 2010, according to the district. In 1995, the average person in southeast Florida used 184 gallons of water per day. That dropped to 142 gallons per day by 2010.

Conservation efforts take much of the credit, district officials said. "Our freshwater is a limited resource," said Mark Elsner, the district's water supply administrator. "The conservation initiative is hitting. … We are definitely more efficient than we were 20 years ago."...

Aerial view of Jim Woodruff Lock and Dam, impounding Lake Seminole on the Chattahoochee River and Flint River confluence. The Apalachicola River flows out of the dam. The dam spans the Florida–Georgia border. US Army Corps of Engineers photo

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