We've Got to Work Together To Preserve Florida's Water

You turn on your faucet and water comes out -- plenty of water, all the time.

Because it's always there when we want it, water may be one of the most under-appreciated natural resource we have. But as Floridians, we should know better.

It's true that Florida has more water in its aquifers - which are underground cavern-like holding tanks - than most other states. But it's also true that Floridians use more water per capita than residents of any other state except California.

Here's the problem:

Our underground water supply is not spread evenly across the state. The places we need it the most - for example, where there's the most people - are exactly the places where we have the least amount of water. And when it doesn't rain for a long time, salt water creeps into the fresh water supply and destroys it. That's called salt water intrusion and it happens because Florida is surrounded by and floats on salt water.

When you add an ever-increasing demand and the occasional drought or industrial landfill, it's easy to see that our underground water levels are at the lowest they've ever been, and Floridians need to get used to the idea of conserving water. Conservation is easy. Start by remembering this statistic: more than 70 percent of indoor use occurs in the bathroom, and more than 20 percent of it occurs in the kitchen and laundry room.

Now think about this:

ACTIVITY
NORMAL USE
CONSERVATION USE
Shower 25-50 gallons
(5-10 gal/min.)
5 gallons
(wet down, soap up, rinse)
Tub Bath 36 gallons
(full)
10-12 gallons
(low level)
Toilet Flush 5-7 gallons
(regular)
3-5 gallons
(tank displacement devices)
Brushing Teeth 5 gallons
(running water)
1 pint
(wet brush rinse briefly)
Hand Washing 5 gallons
(running water)
1 gallon
(fill basin, rinse briefly)
Shaving 3-5 gallons
(running water)
1 gallon
(fill basin, rinse briefly)
Dish Washing 20 gallons
(running water)
5 gallons
(fill basin, rinse briefly)

You can save five gallons of water a day by installing a low-flow toilet. You can save as much as 80 gallons of water a day by installing a low-flow shower head. If you turn off the water while brushing your teeth, you can save four to ten gallons of water a day.

You can also save a lot of money by fixing leaky faucets and other water leaks around your home. Also, consider planting trees and shrubs that are native to Florida and that don't require as much water as other plants. And irrigate your lawn early in the morning or late at night, when the sun won't evaporate the water before it helps your plants.

For links to additional conservation information, please Click Here

Copyright The Water Conservation School, 2004.