Without much thought, you turn on the faucet and water flows out. We see water all around us in Florida, which averages more rain in a year (50-60 inches) than most other states. How could water supply ever be a worry in South Florida?
Growing Demand for Limited Water Resources
More than 3 billion gallons of water are used every day in central and southern Florida by 7.7 million residents and millions of visitors – for drinking and bathing, watering our lawns, growing our crops and servicing our industries. With increasing water demands, the region's traditional freshwater sources may not be enough to inexpensively meet all future water needs.
Some examples of alternative water supply include:
Saline water sources and reverse osmosis treatment– using brackish (salty) water from deeper aquifers for drinking water
Aquifer storage and recovery – storing water in an aquifer system when there is excess water and recovering the stored water during dry times when it is needed
Reclaimed water use – using reclaimed, treated water for irrigating residential lots, golf courses and other green spaces and for groundwater recharge and industrial uses
A Shared Responsibility
In 2005, the Florida Legislature took extraordinary action to give clear guidance and create powerful new planning tools to tackle long-term water supply issues. Senate Bills 360 and 444 changed and strengthened the link between regional water supply planning and local government comprehensive land use planning. The landmark legislation requires local governments in our region to ensure:
Water supply facilities are consistent with water management district water supply plans
Water resources are available to match growth
Future water sources must not impact natural systems
Alternative water supply programs are developed and used
This stronger link ensures adequate water supply is available before residents move into new developments.
Through technical and funding assistance, the South Florida Water Management District is helping local governments meet these state requirements and protect our water resources.
To match projected water use determined in the water supply plans with actual water use, the South Florida Water Management District issues permits that determine how much water city and county utilities and other large users are allowed to withdraw from our shared underground water reserves.
We are not the agency responsible for delivering or treating the water you use in your home or business. If you have questions about your water bill or rates, water pressure or drinking water quality, you should contact your city or county. The same is true for sewage treatment questions.