FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 17, 2013
FLORIDA CELEBRATES WATER REUSE WEEK
~The Department encourages Floridians to help conserve the state’s freshwater sources~
TALLAHASSEE – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection will observe May 19-25 as Water Reuse Week. Governor Rick Scott proclaimed next week Florida Water Reuse Week to highlight the importance of water reuse to the sustainability of Florida’s water supply and overall ecosystem. Water reuse is essential to ensuring safe, clean and sustainable water resources.
Florida has flourished as a national frontrunner in reclaiming water, which has transformed into a critical element of water management. Florida began celebrating Water Reuse Week in 2007, after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recognized the Department’s Reuse Program as a national leader in water efficiency. Since then, Water Reuse Week has gained momentum and recognition with the help of partnerships from the Florida Department of Health, Florida Public Service Commission and other state agencies.
“While Florida currently reuses more water than any other state, there is still great potential for increased reclaimed water use to be a major part of meeting our future water needs while also protecting the environment," said DEP's Director of Water Policy Tom Beck.
Reclaimed water maintains hundreds of Florida golf courses and thousands of private residences – lowering the demands on valuable surface and ground waters used for drinking. In 2010, Florida conserved more than 121 billion gallons of fresh potable quality water and replenished more than 80 billion gallons of recycled water back into aquifers as a result of water reuse. Florida currently uses reclaimed water to irrigate 281,781 residences, 525 golf courses, 877 parks and 324 schools statewide.
As part of the Department’s efforts to bring greater consistency and predictability to its regulatory programs, the Department has worked with the state’s five water management districts, the Florida Water Environment Association, utilities and other stakeholders to develop consistent approaches and incentives to increase the use of reclaimed water to meet the state’s future water supply needs.
The Department’s recently adopted CUPCon rule specifies how reclaimed water can be used to eliminate the harmful impacts of ground and surface water withdrawals, or to replace non-potable uses of high quality water in water limited areas. This results in increased use of reclaimed water, a decrease in disposal of reclaimed water into our rivers and estuaries, and less use of high quality water for non-potable purposes such as irrigation and industrial processes.
City and county governments, water and wastewater utilities, water management districts, state agencies, engineering firms and other organizations are invited to participate in the celebration. Floridians are urged to adopt the proclamation declaring their support for Water Reuse Week. Those who fill out the proclamation on the DEP Water Reuse Week webpage can provide a copy to Florida’s Water Reuse Coordinator to have their name listed among other supporters on the DEP website.
Floridians are also encouraged to participate in Water Reuse Week by implementing these tips on saving and reusing water at home, starting this week:
- Turn off the tap when not in use. Regularly check taps and pipes for leaks and repair any leaks detected.
- Never pour water away when there may be another use for it.
- Washing machine rinse water, especially the last few batches of rinse water can be used for toilet flushing and floor cleaning.
- Reuse water from washing of fruits and vegetables, and dish/cup washing final rinse water to water plants.
- Install water-efficient taps and showerheads to cut water usage.
- Take shorter showers and turn off the shower while lathering and washing your hair.
- Use a tumbler of water to rinse your mouth instead of leaving the tap running while you brush your teeth.
- Use a pail of water to wash your car rather than a hose.
- Rinse dishes in a plugged sink rather than under running water.
- Do not use running water to defrost frozen food.