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WATER CONSERVATION Dry Times05


Once people recognize the severity of today’s droughts—such as the one in the Southeast—programs aimed at conservation aren’t just “feel good” measures, they’re essential to the population’s long-term survival. BY ED GARLAND, GUEST COLUMNIST


You might think the water supply in a state such as Florida is limit- less. Surrounded on three sides by water, blessed with rivers, lakes, streams, springs and one of the most prolifi c aquifers on the plan- et. But the Sunshine State relies mostly on groundwater to meet the needs of its 19 million-plus residents. And like many places in the U.S., that source of water is nearing its sustainable limits. When you consider the increase in population that Florida has


had over the past decade and all the new residential and commercial development, improving water effi ciency in new development could go a long way toward helping Florida and other dry states address their water woes.


F


lorida’s Water StarSM water con- servation certifi cation program could be a good model for other water-deprived states. Designed


for new and existing homes, along with commercial developments, the program


began in 2006. The St. Johns River Water Management District—one of fi ve water management districts in Florida—devel- oped Water Star as a way to increase water effi ciency in landscapes and irrigation sys- tems, as well as indoors. Each year, the pro-


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