“The average person doesn’t realize that our water comes from the Everglades,” says Dr. Jennifer Jurado, director of Broward County’s Natural Resources Planning and Management Division. “Because water flows from our taps, and because we’re all so busy, it’s easy to overlook the challenges associated with providing enough clean, affordable water for all of our residents.”
Broward’s water provi-ders are aware that competition for a limited supply is growing and, as the population increases, the pressure for more water will increase as well.
Alternatives — such as reusing water, desalination, increased storage and a wide variety of technologies — are being considered across South Florida. One thing that all of these alternatives share is greater cost. South Florida will pay more for alternative water supplies than they do for traditional supplies.
The recognition that conservation is the most efficient way to make existing, supplies last is the main reason that 18 local governments and water providers are collaborating to encourage conservation. The Broward Water Partnership, along with the South Florida Water Management District, have set a goal to conserve 30 million gallons of water over the next five years — through conservation.
“If we can engage our residents, businesses and nonprofits we can meet our goals and more,” Jurado said. “That’s why we’re offering rebates for high-efficiency toilets and other incentives. It has been said before, because it’s true … if we all do a little, it adds up to a lot.”
FLUSH WITH SUCCESS
Homes built after 1994 likely already have water-conserving toilets, thanks to newer building codes. But older homes could very well have toilets that use up to 7 gallons per flush. By contrast, the rebate models use a modest 1.28 gallons. Between the free incentives, such as aerators and low-flow showerheads, a home can save up to 30,000 gallons annually — a lot of water and money.
In addition to homes, multi-family properties qualify for the rebates and incentives, as do businesses and nonprofits.
“We share this challenge,” says Jurado. “We need to share the solution. We’ve tried to make it easy for people to participate and we think we have.”
Maria Esch of Margate confirmed that the process was as easy as Jurado and the Broward Water Partnership hoped.
“It was so easy. I went to www.ConservationPays.
com and applied. We were approved within a couple of days! Once the new toilet was installed I sent everything online and was able to track the progress,” Maria said. “I received the refund check approximately two weeks later.”
By replacing just one toilet the Esch family saved over 20 gallons of water on their last bill, which saved them $20.
“I’m not kidding when I say that I would cringe every time I flushed that toilet. The toilet I replaced was from 1976 (and) used about 7 gallons per flush,” Esch said. “Our new toilet uses only 1.28 gpf and let me tell you that it works more effectively than the water-guzzler. Contrary to what people might think about more water being needed to flush solids, I don’t have to flush twice — ever.”
Jurado notes, “When the program is fully implemented, lots of families will save water and money, so will lots of businesses and nonprofits. The Broward Water Partnership worked together to make it possible for everyone to participate in this very unusual program. Together, we’ll do something that we could not do alone.”
Participating partners include the Broward County Water & Wastewater Services Division and the municipalities of Coconut Creek, Cooper City, Coral Springs, Dania Beach, Davie, Deerfield Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Hallandale Beach, Hillsboro Beach, Hollywood, Lauderhill, Margate, Miramar, Pembroke Pines, Plantation and Sunrise.
THE MORE YOU KNOW
Information regarding Broward Water Partnership incentives will be featured during:
The Earth Day Festival, Saturday, April 14, 1-4 p.m., Sawgrass Sanctuary, 237 North New River Circle, Sunrise
Earth Day, Every Day, Saturday, April 21, 12-3 p.m., Hugh Taylor Birch State Park, 3109 E. Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale
Coco Fest, Sunday, April 22, 12-3 p.m., The Promenade, 4451 Lyons Road, Coconut Creek