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photo illustration, with background scene of florida spring water reservoir in a forested area, with the "Save the Drops" icon superimposed

Drought dampens Water Conservation Month

April is water conservation month, but this month’s water use is on track to be an annual high (Figure 1).

March brought record breaking dryness (Figure 2) and heat (Figure 3) and April is turning out to be very similar. High temperatures coupled with low precipitation spells drought. (Figure 4).

Bar graph showing rising water use in 2020 for Sarasota County
Figure 1.
2020 water use for Sarasota County is on the rise.
March 2020 Precipitation
Figure 2.
March 2020 U.S. Precipitation illustrates record dry conditions for Sarasota County.
Figure 3. U.S. mean temperatures illustrates Florida had areas of record warm and Sarasota County's mean temperature was much above average.
Figure 3.
U.S. mean temperatures illustrates Florida had areas of record warm and Sarasota County’s mean temperature was much above average.
Drought Map of Florida showing severe drought for Sarasota County.
Figure 4.
April 16, 2020 Drought Map of Florida shows severe drought conditions for Sarasota County.

Water use during drought increases

Water use increases during drought. Water managers at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) estimate that the average water demand increases by 24 percent in a 1-in-10 year drought (a drought that is statistically likely to occur every 10 years). For the month of April, average household water use has already increased by 19 percent or 25 gallons/day over January 2020 averages.

How much additional water use can our suppliers handle during drought?

Aerial image showing Peace River Manasota Regional Water Supply Authorities Water Storage Capacity

Figure 5.
Aerial image showing Peace River Manasota Regional Water Supply Authorities Water Storage Capacity.

Peace River Manasota Regional Water Supply Authority (PRMRWSA), our regional water provider that makes up 69 percent of Sarasota County’s potable water supply, has approximately 201 days of water storage (Figure 5). This is a real accomplishment and provides us protection during these dry months. With that said, we could extend our reserved supply by decreasing our water use and adopting effective water conservation strategies.

Reduce your use by 10 percent

A table displaying options of water efficient devices and total gallons saved per device.

Figure 6.
Water efficient devices can help residents meet their goal of saving 14 gallons/day.

Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) wants everyone to reduce their use by just 10%. For Sarasota County that is approximately 14 gallons per household per day. That is easy! View the table below to see ways that you can you reduce your household water use by 14 gallons (Figure 6).

Through this easy effort we can save over 1 million gallons of water per day. That’s a significant result! How will you reduce your water use this April? It is not too late to save the drops.


An Equal Opportunity Institution. UF/IFAS Extension, University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension. Sarasota County prohibits discrimination in all services, programs or activities. View the complete policy at www.scgov.net/ADA.</em

2 Comments on “Drought dampens Water Conservation Month

  1. Outstanding blog! Same issues through-out SFWMD and Miami Dade County Water & Sewer Department advises our water usage peaks during the later months of dry season every year. Drought before our rainy season begins could become a yearly event.

    • Thank you, Barbara. I appreciate your feedback. Thankfully we got 3/4 inch of rain over the weekend. It was great for our landscapes and our pools! I hope Miami-Dade received some rain too.

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