Update: January 12, 2010 Broward Commission Unanimously Pass 2-Day Week Water Restrictions with an Eye Toward Enforcement http://bit.ly/7PA6iB
Most residents in South Florida realize we have two seasons; rainy and dry. Yet, how many realize what a precarious water dance we do?
According to the South Florida Water Management District, Florida receives an average annual rainfall of 53 inches, making it one of the wettest states in the US. Except, in the central and southern part of the state, most of this rain falls during just four summer months with much of it lost to evaporation. Because of this, the region is prone to extreme weather conditions of flood and drought.
Global warming is likely to exacerbate those extremes. During the rainy season, increases in temperatures caused by climate change will lead to higher evaporation rates and more intense rainfall events. We are also likely to see more record drought years. The 2008-2009 South Florida dry season became the third driest on record dating back to 1932. 2006 and 2007 were the driest back-to-back calendar years.
Amazingly, the latest US Geological Survey water use report shows South Floridians average per capita water use of 179 gallons per day! This exceeds that of any other part of Florida, and is twice the national average. In Broward County, this could equate to as much as 322 million gallons of water per day. It is estimated that half of that goes to water our lawns (with more than 50 percent of irrigation water lost to evaporation and runoff due to overwatering).
In a recent email to residents, Commissioner Kristin Jacobs said, “Continuing to use water in this way will undoubtedly lead to seriously adverse consequences for not only our residents, but also the Everglades – which occupy two thirds of Broward County – and our sole source of potable water, the Biscayne Aquifer.”
At the Tuesday, December 8, 2009 County Commission meeting, the Broward Commission will be considering enactment of a permanent, year-round, two day per week landscape irrigation water conservation ordinance. Nearby, Miami-Dade and Lee counties have already implemented permanent two day a week year-round watering restrictions.
You are key to passing this ordinance. If you live in Broward County, tell your Commissioner that you want them to protect our water resources.