SFWMD encourages the public to conserve water

WEST PALM BEACH — With drier than average conditions throughout South Florida, the South Florida Water Management District is encouraging all residents to become “Water Less Heroes” and do their part to help conserve the region’s most precious natural resource, water. Rainfall in March 2020 was 0.25 inches, approximately 90 percent below average. So far in April 2020, rainfall throughout the district’s 16-county region is approximately 66 percent below average. Water Conservation Area 2 and Water Conservation Area 3 are below their preferred range for this time of year.

One of the biggest impacts residents can make to conserve water is to improve irrigation settings to reduce wasting water for irrigation and following SFWMD’s simple water conservation tips. More than half of residential water use occurs outdoors, with landscape irrigation accounting for 50 percent of home water use on average. South Florida yards only need to be irrigated up to twice a week during the driest times of the year.

The SFWMD Governing Board was scheduled to declare April, typically one of the driest months of the year, as Water Conservation Month at its regular business meeting April 9. The board and district staff also were to discuss water conservation practices and district actions to encourage water conservation including outreach, education and water shortage orders.

Hand washing uses very little water, and residents are encouraged to continue frequent hand washing to prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) according to CDC guidelines. More things people can do around the house to conserve water year-round and especially during the dry season include:

• Watering the lawn based on its actual needs and following the district’s year-round landscape irrigation water conservation measures and/or local ordinances.

• Ensuring rain sensors are operating properly. Irrigating during or after significant rainfall is a major cause of outdoor water waste and can cost you money.

• Replacing aerators in kitchen and bathroom sinks with models rated for 1.5 gallons per minute or less.

• Switching to WaterSense labeled products including indoor shower heads, bathroom faucets and toilets to save hundreds of gallons of water a week.

• Implement Florida-Friendly landscaping and principles by using low-maintenance plants and environmentally sustainable practices.

• Consider updating appliances like dishwashers and washing machines to Energy Star rated products.

• Using the shortest clothes washing cycle for lightly soiled loads; normal and permanent press wash cycles use more water.

• Thawing frozen food in the refrigerator or microwave, not under running water.

• Scraping your dishes before loading in the dishwasher without rinsing.

• Installing high-efficiency shower heads, faucets and toilets.

SFWMD works every day to meet the water needs of South Florida, including its 8.7 million residents, businesses and the environment, as well as supporting efforts to conserve water and develop alternative water supplies. All South Florida residents are encouraged to observe Water Conservation Month by taking simple steps at home to conserve water this month and all year round.

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