South Florida Cuts Water Use by 20 Percent
By CURTIS MORGAN
South Florida has suffered through some dreary declines of late — home values, paychecks and the Miami Dolphins, for instance. But in the case of the public thirst for one precious commodity — fresh water — the decline has actually turned into a major money-saving plus.
The 53 water utilities serving Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Monroe counties pumped about 83 million fewer gallons a day in 2010 than they did in 2000 — despite a population that grew by some 600,000 over the decade — according to a new draft analysis produced by the South Florida Water Management District.
Do the math and it adds up to South Floridians using about 20 percent less water each day for drinking, bathing and sprinkling yards per person than they did a decade ago. That’s about 30 billion gallons over the course of a year, enough unused water to fill 45,900 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
It’s an unexpected but entirely welcome drop-off in public demand in a region that only a decade ago was worried about taps running dry in relentlessly sprawling suburbs.
“It’s not a surprise that it went down,’’ said Mark Elsner, administrator of water supply development for the water management district. “It’s a surprise it went down so much.’’