TALLAHASSEE – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) recognizes May 16-22 2010, as Water Reuse Week, highlighting the fact that water reuse is essential to ensuring safe, clean and sustainable water resources. A national leader, Florida currently reuses over 243 billion gallons of reclaimed water each year statewide; and DEP Deputy Secretary Mimi Drew suggests that the state’s exponential growth requires an even more aggressive stance on reuse.
“Increasing beneficial reuse is vital to ensuring Florida’s water future. Florida leads the nation in reusing 667 million gallons of reclaimed water each day to conserve freshwater supplies and replenish our rivers, streams, lakes and aquifers. But we have to do more,” said DEP Deputy Secretary Drew. “The Department will continue to work with local partners to ensure we balance environmental protection with future water supply needs.”
Water reuse is the beneficial use of reclaimed water (highly treated wastewater) for landscape and golf course irrigation, agricultural irrigation, industrial uses, toilet flushing, fire protection, decorative water features and ground water recharge. Among the many “net results” of reuse are that it augments Florida’s water resources and allows other sources of fresh water to be conserved or saved. In 2008, reuse saved Florida more than 125 billion gallons of fresh potable quality water and replenished our precious aquifers with more than 79 billion gallons of reclaimed water.
Florida has become the national leader in water reuse, which is a critical component of water management options in the state. Florida’s permitted reuse capacity exceeds 1.5 billion gallons per day, more than 62 percent of Florida’s total permitted capacity for all domestic wastewater treatment facilities.
The DEP, together with the state’s five water management districts, Florida Department of Health, Florida Public Service Commission, and other state agencies, recently implemented an award-winning Water Reuse Program. In 2006, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency honored Florida’s Water Reuse Program with the prestigious Water Efficiency Leader Award in recognition of the water conservation achievements of the program. Florida currently uses reclaimed water to irrigate 260,456 residential lawns, 477 golf courses, 805 parks and 285 schools.
The Water Protection and Sustainability Program was established in 2005 to help water suppliers fund alternative water supply projects. About 66 percent of the projects funded in the first two years of the program involved reuse of reclaimed water. An additional 19 percent of the alternative water supply projects were for brackish groundwater projects. During the first two years of the program, the water management districts helped fund 238 projects.
In addition, DEP provides funding for reuse projects through the State Revolving Fund loan program and the Disadvantaged Small Community Grant Program. DEP established the State Revolving Fund in 1999 to provide low interest loans to plan, design and build wastewater and stormwater systems. Created in 2000, the Disadvantaged Small Community Grant Program provides grants to plan, design and build wastewater management facilities. During the last fiscal year, Florida invested more than $43 million in projects that included reuse through the State Revolving Fund loan program and the Disadvantaged Small Community Grant Program.
To view the proclamation, visit www.dep.state.fl.us/secretary/news/2010/05/files/water_reuse.pdf.
To learn more about Florida’s reuse program, visit www.dep.state.fl.us/water/reuse.
To learn more about the State Revolving Fund Loan Program and water facilities funding, visit www.dep.state.fl.us/water/wff/index.htm.
"Increasing beneficial reuse is vital to ensuring Florida’s water future. Florida leads the nation in reusing 667 million gallons of reclaimed water each day to conserve freshwater supplies and replenish our rivers, streams, lakes and aquifers. But we have to do more."
Last updated: May 19, 2010