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Reclaimed Water

Reclaimed water is highly treated wastewater and can be used for irrigation and other uses to extend our water supplies.

Up to 50 percent of a community’s drinking water is used for irrigation. Much of this irrigation water could be replaced with reclaimed water.

Reclaimed water is a clear and odorless high-quality water source for irrigating industrial and natural systems needs.

Reclaimed Water Use in the District (for 2010)

  • More than 40 percent (149 mgd) of wastewater in our area is reused.
  • Eight local power plants use reclaimed water as cooling water.
  • Nearly 200 area golf courses irrigate with reclaimed water.
  • More than 8,000 acres of mostly citrus crops are irrigated with reclaimed water.
  • About 100,000 residential customers in our area irrigate with reclaimed water.

It can be used for:

  • Irrigation
  • Street-sweeping operations
  • Power generation
  • Decorative fountains
  • Fire protection (purple fire hydrants)
  • Dust control
  • Aquifer recharge
  • Cooling or makeup water for a variety of industrial processes
  • Natural system restoration

It can’t be used for:

  • Body-contact recreation (including swimming pools)
  • Cooking or drinking
  • Irrigating vegetable and herb gardens (unless a drip or bubbler system is used)

The Wastewater-to-Reclaimed Water Process

  • Screens and other processes remove sand and debris
  • Sedimentation removes large solids
  • Microorganisms break down organic materials
  • Clarifiers remove microorganisms and remaining solids
  • Filtering makes water clear
  • Disinfection, usually with chlorine, kills the remaining microorganisms

Reuse facilities are constantly monitored to ensure that only high-quality reclaimed water is distributed. This water is clear and essentially pathogen-free.

Benefits

  • Costs less than drinking water
  • Reduces fertilizer use, as some nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus remain
  • Reduces stress on drinking water supplies
  • Reduces disposal into waterways, which can help reduce nutrient loads in bays and rivers

Our Role

Our Cooperative Funding Initiative program has contributed to more than 300 reuse projects to help communities develop reclaimed water systems. Our Regional Water Supply Plan describes a Districtwide reclaimed water long-term goal of 75 percent utilization of all wastewater treatment plant flows and 75 percent offset efficiency of all reclaimed water used. It is recognized that future and system-specific potential opportunities may exist for utilization and efficiency to approach 100 percent through a variety of methods including, but not limited to, customer-base selection, project type selection and implementation of new technologies. Utilities within the District currently use more than 149 million gallons per day (mgd) (44 percent utilization) of reclaimed water to offset 102 mgd (68 percent offset efficiency) in traditional potable-quality water demands. Reuse over the next 20 years is anticipated to continue to grow to more than 373 mgd and result in more than 280 mgd in offsets.

The District has been recognized as a leader in the promotion and development of reclaimed water.

Reclaimed Water Videos


University of Florida/IFAS Citrus Extension

Six brief videos provide background on reclaimed water use in Florida. Click Playlist or the playlist icon ( playist ) to reveal more video titles — or just let the videos play in sequence.


“Downstream” (WateReuse Association)

It’s nothing new. We’ve been doing it for centuries. What’s new is that today’s technology makes it cleaner and safer. Water reuse is the key to a sustainable future!

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