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 days of limitless and cheap water in South Florida are gone. Planning, investments in alternative water sources such as desalination and reuse, and conservation are required to secure reliability and sustainability of current and future water supplies.

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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Carbon Footprint | Florida | Renewable Energy | Sustainability | Water Management


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