April is Water Conservation Month! Since it is also National Poetry Month, we thought it would be fun to ask ChatGPT to write us a poem about water conservation in Florida. Here is the unedited response:
“Sure, here’s a poem about water conservation in Florida:
Florida, the sunshine state, With beautiful beaches and lakes, But water conservation is crucial, For our future’s sake.
The Everglades, a treasure, A vast ecosystem to preserve, Water conservation is vital, To ensure it doesn’t swerve.
From Miami to Tampa Bay, Our cities must do their part, Reducing water usage at home, Can save it from the start.
Fixing leaks and shorter showers, Can make a big impact, Conserving water in our homes, Is a simple, yet critical act.
In agriculture and industry, Water conservation is key, Using it more efficiently, Can ensure our crops succeed.
Let’s reduce landscape irrigation, And use drought-resistant plants, To conserve Florida’s water, And protect its natural grants.
Water is a precious resource, One we cannot afford to waste, Let’s conserve it in Florida, For our future to embrace.”
Conserving Water in Florida
While Florida is known for our “beautiful beaches and lakes,” the state is facing a water crisis. With Florida’s population continuing to grow, water demand is on trend to increase 54% by the year 2070 (according to the Water 2070 Project). We all have a part to play in protecting our resources. Any way that you’re saving water is a great way to help protect our Florida springs, rivers, and lakes. To make the biggest impact, however, you might want to start in your yard.
H2OSAV, a UF/IFAS Extension program, just released research that found an irrigation system uses at least 991 gallons of water each time it is used to water the average-sized yard in Florida. That amount of water is equal to showering for 8.25 hours, flushing your low-flow toilet 774 times, or running the dishwasher 50 times!
We know that not everyone waters their yard with an in-ground irrigation system. But for those that do, they might find that a significant portion of their water bill is just for irrigation. For example, UF/IFAS research shows that the average water use for a home in Orange County, Florida is 299 gallons of water per day. A quarter of the homes, however, are using an average of 668 gallons of water per day. What is the main contributor to that higher water use? Those homes are using more than 70% of their water for irrigation!
Most homeowners water their yards with potable water. That means the water they use for their yards is from the same supply that we use for bathing, drinking, and cooking. Since most of our water supply is from the aquifer, this is also the same water that feeds our beautiful springs. As you can see, it is critical that we work together to help conserve this water “for our future’s sake.”
While hopefully ChatGPT inspired you with its poem, you can trust UF/IFAS for the most current research and water conservation tips. You can always contact your local UF/IFAS Extension office for guidance. Extension agents in all 67 counties are available to help you reduce your water use while maintaining a beautiful Florida-friendly yard.
UF/IFAS tips and resources to start saving water in your landscape
- Only water your yard when it needs it. One way to know your lawn needs water is if footprints stay in the grass for a long time. Besides wasting water and raising your utility bill, overwatering your lawns can increase weeds and reduce drought tolerance.
- If you choose to irrigate, make sure you’re following your local watering restrictions. You can check out this Urban Irrigation Scheduler tool, which can help you know when your landscape might need water.
- If you have an irrigation system, make sure you have a working device that shuts off your irrigation system when there’s been enough rain. It’s the law (Florida Statute 373.62)! You can install a rain sensor device or a smart irrigation device. A smart irrigation device monitors soil moisture or local weather to make it easier to make sure your lawn gets the water it needs. Check your local utility to see if they offer a rebate or free irrigation audits.
- When designing a new landscape or changing your existing one, think about reducing how much water your landscape will need. You can install landscaped beds that need little extra water, or even no extra water, by using mulch and drought-tolerant plants. The Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ plant guide can help you select the right plants for your landscape.
No matter how you work to save water in your home, know you’re doing your part to protect Florida’s natural resources. “Water is a precious resource, One we cannot afford to waste, Let’s conserve it in Florida, For our future to embrace” -ChatGPT.