Water

NICE DAY — A typical view of a Central Florida waterway (this one near Highland Fish Camp) includes hanging Spanish moss and shimmering water. Florida relies on water in many ways — for tourism, general health and wellbeing and, ultimately, for drinking. The levels of water flow are regularly measured around the state in different water bodies in order to monitor the health of the underlying Floridan Aquifer.

Remember the old adage “April showers bring May flowers”? In Florida, April is typically a dry month when water demands are higher due to springtime planting and low rainfall amounts. For 22 years, April has been recognized as Water Conservation Month in Florida, a designation to heighten public awareness about the many ways we can reduce our water use until summer thunderstorms arrive. 

Each spring, a renewed focus on our lawns and landscapes makes it an ideal time to inspect our automatic sprinkler systems and timers. The St. Johns River Water Management District’s seasonal “Did You Set It and Forget It” message is a timely springtime reminder to give your automatic sprinkler system a checkup for leaks, timer adjustments, replacing the rain-sensor battery and other maintenance.

The district’s annual “Water Less” outdoor water-conservation campaign promotes easy ways to make water conservation part of your regular routine at home.

Consider this: More than half of all residential water is used outdoors for lawn and landscape irrigation. Studies show that up to half of that water can be saved and isn’t necessary for native and Florida-friendly plants to thrive.

Individually and collectively, you make a big difference when you take control of your water use. In fact, between 2010 and 2019, gross per-capita water use in the St. Johns district decreased 12 percent, from 132 gallons per person per day to 116 gallons per person per day.

Changing old habits doesn’t have to be hard. 

Just follow our five easy ways to save water outdoors:

• Adhere to the district’s watering restrictions.

• Give your sprinkler system regular checkups.

• Turn off sprinklers if there is rain in the forecast.

• Use water-efficient smart irrigation technology.

• Replace thirsty landscape materials with drought-tolerant “waterwise” plants.

Our waterwise plant database at www.sjrwmd.com/water-conservation/waterwise-landscaping is simple to access and use, too.

Year-round water conservation is an important way to help meet the state’s water-supply needs, and you can still maintain a healthy and beautiful Florida landscape.

We’re grateful to those who are helping us raise awareness of the small behavior changes that can lead to big water savings. 

I ask you to spend a few minutes visiting the district’s water conservation campaign website at www.WaterLessFlorida.com to learn how you, too, can make a difference.

— Shortelle is executive director of the St. Johns River Water Management District.210429BEACON