When fewer people lived in Florida, there was so much water, the focus was on drainage and flood control.
Over the years, however, water management districts were formed, and water began to be allocated to ensure that all users could get what they need.
Much of the water regulated by these management districts is in the form of “consumptive use.” Water used for our quality of life, to create jobs and run businesses.
The goal is to ensure that we don’t take more water than nature can really provide. When we do that, environmental damage impacts the quality of life and increases the cost of the water. If we kill a wetland from taking too much water, we have to build a stormwater utility that will clean the water that the wetland otherwise would. And, we have to build additional water storage or move the stormwater elsewhere.
The healthy wetland would have done the job for us. The environment isn’t just “nice” to provide valuable public service.
Reuse is key to conservation. When we irrigate with recycled water rather than fresh water, we take less from the environment. Our recycled water, instead of being disposed of in rivers and oceans, can be used to rehydrate wetlands and water wellfields, to irrigate lawns and crops and run industry and … well, there are as many ways to use recycled water as there are to use water one time.