April is Water Conservation Month, and the Southwest Florida environment relies on this natural resource to play, live and thrive. After all, we’re surrounded by it. Florida is home to swamps, rivers, lakes, ponds and almost completely surrounded by the open ocean; it is vitally important to preserve and conserve these resources, because without water, daily life would be impossible.
“Our priority continues to be to ensure the sustainable supply and quality of our water,” states Deputy Secretary for Water Policy and Ecosystem Restoration Greg Munson. For the last 16 or so months, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection has been trying to improve consistency in water usage for Florida’s five water management districts. These efforts have included education initiatives and projects for reclaiming water.
These efforts seem to be working—Florida is actually one of the most water-efficient states. In 2011, Florida used over 722 million gallons of reclaimed water every day in an effort to conserve freshwater and replenish rivers, streams, lakes and other natural water sources. Reclaimed water has been used to irrigate residences, golf courses, parks, and schools, reusing more water than any other state.
Water conservation is the easiest and most inexpensive way to preserve natural resources, and during a time when most parts of the state are suffering drought conditions, it is an essential part to daily living.
The Southwest Florida WaterManagement District has released these ten tips for conserving water. These tips will also help lower your monthly water bills, while helping to save hundreds of gallons of water.
• Only run your washing machine and dishwasher when they are full.
• Use the shortest clothes washing cycle for lightly soiled loads.
• Thaw frozen food in the refrigerator or microwave, not under running water.
• Scrape, don’t rinse, your dishes before loading in the dishwasher.
• Install high-efficiency shower heads, faucets and toilets.
• Check your home’s irrigation system for leaks to save up to 6,300 gallons of water per month.
• Turn off your home’s irrigation system and only water as needed; save up to 2,000 gallons each time a watering day is skipped.
• Don’t leave sprinklers unattended. Use a kitchen timer to remind yourself to turn sprinklers off.
• Use a hose with a shutoff nozzle when washing the car to save around 40 gallons per wash.
• Consider installing a rain barrel with a drip irrigation system for watering your landscaping. Rainwater is free and better for your plants because it doesn’t contain hard minerals.
These simple acts can save gallons upon gallons of a vital resource, and practicing them year-round can pave the way for a world of clean, reclaimed and quality water. To find out your water usage, go to www.swfwmd.state.fl.us/conservation/ and click for the Water Use Calculator. Take a look around the site to learn about all the ways you can converse water and the impact conservation can have right here in Florida and around the world. For more facts and information about conservation, through the month of April, follow @FLDEPNews on Twitter.