Hand under running water

April Is Water Conservation Month!

April is Water Conservation Month! Did you know conserving water year-round is an integral part of managing and protecting South Florida’s water supplies today and for future generations?

Around 3 billion gallons of water are used every day in Central and Southern Florida by 9 million residents and visitors. Future water demands are projected to increase to approximately 4.1 billion gallons per day by 2040. One of the most effective ways to address increasing water needs is through water conservation.

During Water Conservation Month, the Lake Worth Drainage District joins with local governments to raise awareness about the importance of water conservation and the ways we can reduce our water use all year long.

With approximately 50 percent of residential water used for irrigation, it is important to irrigate efficiently. Homeowners can use these simple tips to reduce wasted landscape water:

  • Make sure your rain sensor device is working properly to prevent your irrigation system from running when rainfall is meeting your landscape needs.
  • Set an irrigation timer to run pursuant to your local irrigation ordinance and do not irrigate during mid-day hours when evaporation is the highest. Visit Lawn Watering Restrictions to learn more at https://www.sfwmd.gov/community-residents/landscape-irrigation
  • Install a “smart” irrigation controller that uses weather data or soil moisture information to decide when and how much irrigation is needed for your yard.
  • Fix leaks. Finding and fixing water leaks conserves water, saves money and protects your home from damage.
  • Employ Florida-Friendly Landscaping principles by using low maintenance plants and environmentally sustainable practices.

All of us have a role in protecting our water resources. Together we can ensure a more sustainable water supply for the benefit of all South Floridians.

C. Stanley Weaver Canal sign at Weaver canal

That’s A Good Question

Why doesn’t the Lake Worth Drainage District (LWDD) keep the canal water elevations lower in preparation for the storm season? Seems like a good idea, but the LWDD network of canals does more than provide drainage for flood control. LWDD’s water management system helps to protect regional water supplies for all the residents, businesses and agricultural land within its boundary.

During normal operations, canal water levels are maintained to hold water higher than sea level to prevent saltwater from encroaching and polluting existing freshwater wells for numerous municipal water utilities. Once polluted with saltwater the well can no longer be used for drinking water supplies and alternative sources will be needed.

LWDD’s water managers are continually monitoring weather systems and canal levels to proactively respond to heavy rainfall events. In anticipation of a heavy rainfall event, the LWDD water control structures are opened to maintain appropriate water levels in the system for flood control. However, this operation must consider the potential environmental risks. As control structure gates are opened, water is discharged to the ocean and cannot be recovered for water supply. These freshwater discharges may also adversely impact environmentally sensitive areas such as the Lake Worth Lagoon.

For these reasons, drainage is often referred to as a balancing act between flood control protection and supply needs. LWDD has over 100 years of experience in the operation of stormwater management within our boundary. To learn more about LWDD’s water management function, visit our website at www.lwdd.net.

Woman giving the thumbs up sign

Did You Know?

It takes about 20 gallons of water to produce a pint of beer.

Average household leaks account for nearly 10,000-gallons of water wasted every year.

75% of the human brain is water and 75% of a living tree is water.

Turning off the water when brushing your teeth can save up to 4-gallons a minute.

You can begin to use water wisely by placing a bucket in the shower to catch the excess water to be used for watering your plants.

Children in the first 6 months of life consume seven times the amount of water per pound as the average American adult.

Watering your plants and lawn in multiple short sessions supplies better absorption and avoids runoff.

A garden hose left unattended can pour out 600 gallons or more in a few hours.

Each day, we lose a little more than a cup of water (237 ml) when we exhale it.

During the growing and production of a tomato, 3 gallons of water are needed.

It takes more than twice the amount of water to produce coffee than tea.

97% of the world’s water is salty, 2% is trapped in ice, leaving only 1% for human consumption.

It takes seven and a half years for the average American home to use the same amount of water that flows over the Niagara Falls in one second (750,000 gallons).

Hand under running water

Water: Use It Wisely

In Florida, April is historically one of the driest (lowest rainfall) months of the year and typically marks a peak demand in water use which is why April is designated Water Conservation Month. During April, the Lake Worth Drainage District (LWDD) joins with other local governments throughout our region to raise awareness about the importance of water conservation and the ways we can reduce our water use all year long.

Conserving water means using our water supply wisely. We can start saving water by making smart choices at home. Implementing simple water conservation tips can help reduce the usage of water significantly. Committing to just a bit of effort can make all the difference. With these ten simple tips, you can do your part to save hundreds of gallons of water:

• Only run your washing machine and dishwasher when they are full.
• Use the shortest clothes washing cycle for lightly soiled loads. Normal and permanent-press wash cycles use more water.
• Thaw food in the refrigerator or microwave, not under running water.
• Scrape do not rinse your dishes before loading them in the dishwasher.
• Install high-efficiency appliances, shower heads, faucets and toilets.

• Check your home’s irrigation system for leaks and make repairs as needed.
• Turn off your automatic irrigation system and only water as needed.
• Do not leave sprinklers or garden hoses unattended. A garden hose can pour out six hundred gallons of water in just a few hours.
• Use a hose with a shut-off nozzle when washing the car and wash the car over a pervious area such as the lawn.
• Consider installing a rain barrel with a drip irrigation system for watering your landscaping. Rainwater is free and better for your plants because it does not contain hard minerals.

Our water supply is a finite resource and needs our protection. We can all make changes in our lifestyle to reduce our water usage. The trick is making water conservation a way of life and not just something we think about each April.


Landscape Mulch 101

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) landscape irrigation is estimated to account for nearly one-third of all residential water use, totaling nearly 9 billion gallons per day.

So, how can a conscientious homeowner save water? Think mulch. A thick layer of mulch can help retain moisture allowing you to reduce your outdoor water use. As mulch decomposes, it adds nutrients to help improve the texture and fertility of your soil, improving water retention. Plus, it can also help to create an attractive visual contrast in your landscape.

There are several different types of mulch products on the market. When choosing mulch, you should consider factors like durability and sustainability in addition to appearance. The following is a brief description of some of the common types of mulch available to Florida residents.

types of mulch

  • Pine Bark is a byproduct of the forest industry. It comes in various sizes. It typically has a dark brown color. It is a sustainable product and decomposes very slowly which is a benefit. However, it may float and wash away during heavy rains.
  • Pine Straw typically comes from pine plantations which produce paper and wood products. Because they “knit together,” the pine needles are less likely to wash away than some other mulches. But color options are limited to natural pine needle color and availability is limited in some areas making it more difficult to find.
  • Eucalyptus Mulch typically comes from plantations in South and Central Florida, where the trees are grown specifically for this purpose. The trees grow quickly, so this mulch is considered renewable. It is offered in various colors for attractive landscaping but is low in nutrients.
  • Melaleuca Mulchis made from exotic invasive trees. The product is cured at a high temperature to kill the seeds, so they cannot germinate in your garden. It is also available in various colors. Using Melaleuca Mulch promotes removal of this invasive exotic species, and it is not attractive to termites.
  • Fallen Leaves (including grass clippings) can sometimes be raked up for free in your landscape. This type of mulch is high in nutrients but decomposes quickly. However, many homeowners are not fond of this mulch as it is less tidy looking for formal landscape settings and needs frequent replenishment.
  • Gravel, Pebbles, Shell or Synthetic Mulch can sometimes be useful in borders or pathways, but they do not contribute to the soil’s nutrient content or water-holding capacity. If you use this type of mulch, make sure to first install a woven ground cloth to keep it from sinking into our sandy soils. This type of mulch lasts a long time, but it will need to be cleared of debris regularly to look its best.