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).
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?
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
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.