Florida declared April “Water Conservation Month,” encouraging residents to take extra steps to cut water use at the peak of the winter-to-spring dry season.
South Florida has had a drier-than-usual dry season, averaging about 45 percent of the normal rainfall since November.
This follows a drought last year that dropped Lake Okeechobee – South Florida’s primary back-up water supply – to its lowest point since 2008.
“Droughts and water shortages in recent years have shown us that we all depend on water in our daily lives and have a responsibility to use it wisely,” South Florida Water Management District board Chairman Joe Collins said in a statement released this week.
Conservation measures that can help stretch water supplies include:
-Installing low-flow shower heads and other water fixtures.
-Adding aerators to kitchen and bathroom sinks to reduce water flow.
-Watering lawns by hand in targeted areas instead of running the sprinklers.
-Filling up the dishwasher instead of washing dishes by hand.
-Taking shorter showers.
-Turning off faucets while brushing teeth and soaping hands.
Audubon of Florida contends that residents should go further and rethink how they landscape to reduce water use.
Instead of thirsty lawns, Audubon advocates landscaping with native Florida plants that can get by on less water.
Half of South Florida’s public drinking water supply ends up getting used for landscape watering. Smarter landscaping could save more water for drinking water supplies and wildlife habitat, according to Audubon.
“By modifying the way we design backyard landscapes and use water indoors, we can dramatically reduce water consumption while providing food, water and shelter for birds,” according to water conservation recommendations issued this month by Audubon of Florida.
South Florida remains under year-round watering restrictions, which limit most of Broward and Miami-Dade counties to twice-a-week watering and allow watering three times per week in most of Palm Beach County.
Relief for local water supplies could be coming soon. The summer rainy season typically starts in mid May or by early June.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun