Demand for Water (Reductions)
On July 01, 2015 at 02:48PM, Tom at Watery Foundation published the following article:
How much more water supply development is needed in Florida? According to the 2014 projections from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, 1.3 billion gallons a day more will be needed by 2030 for a total of 7.7 bgd. Well, maybe, but it seems very doubtful. Demand projections seem always to be high overestimates. For example, in 1999, FDEP guessed that 9.2 bgd would be needed by 2020. As recently as 2008, FDEP projected that water demand would be 8.7 bgd in 2025. The previous projections were very high. It would not be surprising if projections continue to drop.
Will it be hard to develop the currently projected level of demand? The department notes that 538 mgd is already funded or developed and that additional water use efficiencies can be expected to save 300-400 mgd. (p. 3) That leaves only 277-311 mgd to be developed to meet 2035 water demands. On any scale of comparison, that isn’t very much. It would mean increasing current supplies by about 14-16 mgd a year. That is an average annual increase in supply of only 0.25%, based on 2012 fresh water use of 6,382 mgd. Surely, that level of effort is not a major water supply challenge.
What would be more challenging, and is needed for long-term water sustainability, is steady demand reduction. It wouldn’t be very ambitious to reduce aggregate demand by 1% a year but would make a difference over the long run. Over 20 years, that would result in an 18% reduction, or about 1,160 mgd. That would save money for water suppliers and water customers, move toward rejuvenating Florida springs, and likely also reduce nutrient transport.