Broward county two-day water restrictions now permanent
Broward County residents are now permanently under two-day a week water restrictions. Citizens have been under two-day restrictions for two and a half years after the South Florida Water Management initiated the restrictions in response to severe drought conditions. Since then, the District ruled in November on two day water restrictions for some counties in Florida, while Broward was one of 11 that could decide between two and three day landscape/irrigation watering. Commissioner Kristen Jacobs, who represents Deerfield and is on the water resource task force has been urging the passage of the ordinance. Click for water ordinance language.
On Tuesday, Broward County commissioners passed the ordinance unanimously, with Commissioner Lois Wexler urging staff and attorneys to follow up with information on enforcing the ordinance along with possible penalties to give it some teeth. Several members of the public spoke on the issue, most supportive of the ordinance, with the exception of the local landscape association who said they’ve seen a drop in sales since the District first implemented the two-day system. However, Jacobs said the industry has had enough time to adapt to the changes.
“I am here to support…reducing water consumption,” said Michael Clark, “however these techniques are like putting on a Band-Aid when the average rain is 60 inches and we release 60 percent of the water captured.”
Everyone seemed in consensus that this was only the beginning of the discussion to reduce water usage, induce conservation and change the habits of residents in Broward County. Commissioners will likely vote on other issues related to water supply in the future, including new wells, capturing well, managing limits on withdrawal to the Biscayne Aquifer (the top layer of fresh water—beneath it is the Floridan Aquifer which is more brackish (salty) and using that fresh water to push back intrusion of the ocean into Broward’s fresh water table.
In the meantime, however, even-numbered addresses are permitted to water on Thursday and/or Sunday and odd-numbered addresses can water on Wednesday and/or Saturday. Year-round water conservation measures limiting landscape irrigation to two days per week are already being implemented in other parts of the state, including Miami-Dade County and Lee County.
Landscape irrigation in Broward County is estimated to account for one-half of household water consumption and places a significant demand on local water resources. Recent water shortages, changes in regional water management and policy, and Everglades’s restoration activities have placed greater emphasis on water conservation activities as part of a regional water management plan.
This ordinance is effective County-wide as it sets minimum standards protecting the environment through a regulation preventing the destruction of resources belonging to the general public.
This new ordinance supports the Commission’s vision for a “Pristine, Healthy Environment,” as well as Commission goals to “Protect and Enhance the Environment” and “Encourage an Ethic of Conservation.”
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