South Florida embraces desalination and water reuse for the future
Ashie Akpoji, Mark Elsner, Marjorie G Craig, Patti Nicholas and Barbara Ross, South Florida Water Management District, USA
The South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) is the oldest and largest of the five districts in Florida. The district's mission is to oversee the water resources in the southern half of the state by balancing and improving water quality, flood control, natural systems and water supply within a 16-county region. A key initiative is restoration of the Everglades, a vast wetlands and US national park.
By augmenting supplies through alternative sources - including desalination of brackish and seawater, reclaimed water and reducing demand through year-round water conservation, the SFWMD hopes to continue quenching the thirst for a renewed environment and an ever-growing population.
Realizing that water desalination using reverse osmosis is energy-intensive, the district also supports studies and projects that use renewable energy to reduce the carbon footprint, operate more efficiently to reduce water use, and manage concentrate to protect the environment. To encourage diversification of water resources, public utilities that use reclaimed water for outdoor irrigation are exempt from water-shortage restrictions.
This article appeared in the February/March 2009 issue of D&WR magazine.
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