Water management district recognizes May 13-19 as Water Reuse Week in Florida


From the St. Johns River Water Management District

The St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD), Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) and fellow agencies across the state will recognize Sunday, May 13, though Saturday, May 19, as Water Reuse Week, which will spotlight the benefits of reusing treated wastewater, or reclaimed water.

On Tuesday, May 8, SJRWMD’s governing board approved a resolution proclaiming May 13-19, 2018, as Water Reuse Week.

More than 207 million gallons of reclaimed water is reused daily within the SJRWMD.

“In order to meet our future water demands and protect our natural resources, we have to continue supporting use of reclaimed water to meet our outdoor watering needs and reduce demand on traditional water supplies,” said Chuck Drake, SJRWMD governing board secretary. “This week is a great opportunity to celebrate the positive direction our state is headed and educate residents about how each person can make a difference when it comes to making smart choices about our water supply.”

“Florida is a national leader in water reuse,” said Dr. Ann Shortelle, SJRWMD director. “We are excited to partner on cooperative funding projects that provide financial assistance to develop additional reuse opportunities like irrigation, within our 18-county area.”

Water reuse is the process of using highly treated wastewater for a beneficial purpose. By using reclaimed water, communities can conserve traditional freshwater supplies and provide an environmentally responsible alternative to disposal of wastewater. Since Florida utilities began using reclaimed water in the 1970s, it has become a major component of water resource management by local governments and utilities within the state of Florida and the district.

Using reclaimed water saves fresh drinkable water for use in homes and businesses; provides a safe, environmentally responsible alternative to wastewater disposal; delays the need to develop alternative drinking water supplies; and can reduce the need for fertilizer.

Many people may recognize the purple pipes from their own neighborhoods that are used to distribute reclaimed water. They’re color-coded to remind water users that the water is not treated to drinking water standards in Florida.

Across Florida, more than 1.6 billion gallons of reuse from domestic wastewater treatment facilities are permitted per day. The largest use for reclaimed water is irrigation. May is typically the month when irrigation demands peak due to hot and dry conditions.

The SJRWMD actively promotes and encourages efficient and effective use of reclaimed water by:

*Implementing a cooperative funding program that provides financial assistance to entities developing alternative water supplies including water reuse;

*Funding studies and pilot programs that promote innovative treatment technologies; and

*Engaging in innovative uses and applications of reclaimed water.

The majority of beneficial reuse currently occurs in the Central Florida area, but other areas of the district continue to expand reuse.

For information about cost-share opportunities, visit the district online at www.sjrwmd.com/localgovernments/funding/.