April is Water Conservation Month for a reason. It is the time of year in our state when the demand for water resources is high and the supply is low.
Although the spring months are typically the driest part of the year, this year’s recent warmer-than-usual temperatures and less-than-average rainfall have resulted in severely low water resources.
“We are currently in a moderate drought, with the northern region of our District more heavily affected,” said Granville Kinsman, District Hydrologic Data manager. “Along with a dry season expected to last until June, we are also entering one of the highest times for water use. Now is the time when people get outside and work on their landscapes, an activity that can really guzzle water when you’re not paying attention.”
Everyone can help to alleviate some of the strain on our water supplies by actively conserving whenever possible.
Recognizing April as Water Conservation Month is a good reminder that there are many easy ways to save. Some simple habits can make a big difference by saving thousands of gallons per year. Other changes may save only a few drops at a time, but when multiplied by almost five million residents in our District, they have the potential to make a great impact.
Tips to conserve inside the home include:
- Turn off the water when brushing teeth or shaving — save 4 gallons per minute
- Only wash full loads of laundry — save 43 gallons per load
- Fix leaks in toilets, faucets and showerheads — save 5 to 200 gallons per day
- Install aerators on faucets — save up to 30 gallons per day
For outside the home:
- Use a broom instead of a hose to clean off driveways or sidewalks — save 9 gallons per minute
- Put a shutoff nozzle on your garden hose — save 6.5 gallons per minute
- Install a rain sensor for your sprinkler system — save up to 700 gallons per week
- Only water your lawn when it needs it — save up to 2,100 gallons per every week that is skipped
Do you want to find out the estimated daily water use of your home?
Check out the District’s Water Use Calculator at WaterMatters.org/PowerOf10/. After learning about how much water you use, you can pledge to reduce your use by 10 percent. If everyone in our District cuts back by just 10 percent we could save over 44 million gallons of water per day!
Water conservation is a key link between balancing current and future water needs. Students in our area are doing their part to ensure there are adequate water resources for the future.
For the fourth year in a row the District is partnering with local school districts to encourage teachers and their students to participate in the online “Classroom Challenge.” This program offers K–12 teachers the opportunity to implement various water conservation activities with their classes.
Each participating student will also complete a water conservation pledge to save 10 gallons of water per day. Many school districts will also declare April as Water Conservation Month to increase awareness of the need to save.
In addition to working with schools, the District also manages programs to work with homeowners, businesses, industries, communities and individuals to help conserve water supplies.
The District works with builders and developers through the Florida Water StarSM program, a voluntary certification program for new residential and commercial construction and existing home renovation. The program encourages water efficiency in appliances, plumbing fixtures, irrigation systems and landscapes. Based on estimates, an average Florida Water StarSMcertified home or business can save up to 20 percent of water use annually.
Staff also encourages water conservation in hotels and restaurants through the Water Conservation Hotel and Motel Program (Water CHAMPSM) and the Water Program for Restaurant Outreach (Water PROSM).
Water CHAMPSM is a free towel and linen reuse program that encourages hotel and motel guests to use their towels and linens more than once during their stay. Currently more than 450 hotels in our District participate in Water CHAMPSM. By implementing the reuse program these properties save an estimated 180 million gallons of water per year.
Water PROSM focuses on savings that can be found in local restaurants. Participating eateries use high-efficiency spray valves and practice water-conserving best management cleaning and food preparation practices. Participating restaurant staff also promote tips to save water by distributing outreach materials.
Another water-conserving program that the District promotes is Florida-Friendly LandscapingTM. This program uses nine principles to encourage homeowners to conserve water and reduce water pollution when working on their yards. Many of the principles help decrease water use such as watering efficiently, using mulch appropriately and putting the right plant in the right place.
In addition to water conservation programs, the District offers free educational conservation materials. They can be downloaded or ordered from the District’s website at WaterMatters.org/conservation.
Find your own individual way to celebrate Water Conservation Month. Read tips online to reduce your daily use, order a free publication about saving water inside or outside your home, or make a commitment to check your faucets for leaks.
Every little bit helps, and that’s the power behind Water Conservation Month.