Gasparilla Island Water Association Inc. has renewed its 10-year water withdrawal permit from the Southwest Florida Water Management District with a condition that GIWA reduce the daily average water use to 150 gallons per person by 2019.
In 2011, our average per person usage totaled 154 gallons per day. These four gallons over maximum may not seem like much water but it equates to an average of 23,000 gallons per day or 8 million gallons per year. "Our membership faces a challenge in this next decade to reduce its water usage," said GIWA Director Bonnie Pringle. "We are currently classified as in severe drought conditions with a forecast to persist or intensify between now and the end of June."
Warm, dry conditions helped leverage water usage for the first quarter to 15 percent over the 2011 first quarter.
"If this trend continues it will significantly increase the average water usage per person for 2012," Pringle said.
Pringle said two-thirds of water supplied to the island was used for landscape irrigation last year.
"In order to meet our mandatory reduction, our membership needs better control of irrigation on a year-round basis," Pirngle said.
Florida law requires all automatic sprinkler systems installed after May 1, 1991 be equipped with a rain shutoff device that automatically turns off sprinkler systems during and after rain showers. The irrigation system returns to its normal watering schedule once the sensor dries out.
Southwest Florida receives an average annual rainfall of approximately 52.5 inches. Most rainfall occurs from June to September, but island water usage indicates many irrigation systems are still running.
"We especially want to bring to your attention that improper irrigation practices, including overwatering, can damage your landscaping," Pringle said. "Aside from being a requirement, a rain sensor is a smart and easy way to conserve water and save money."
Tips on how to save water when irrigating:
Check rain sensors a minimum of twice per year as they are subject to failure.
Inspect irrigation system regularly as sprinkler heads can easily misalign or break, which can lead to improper and wasteful water application.
Follow watering restrictions set for Lee County:
Even-numbered addresses water before 9 a.m. or after 5 p.m. Thursday and/or Sunday
Odd-numbered addresses water before 9 a.m. or after 5 p.m. Wednesday and/or Saturday
Follow watering restrictions set for Charlotte County:
Even-numbered addresses water before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m. Thursday and/or Sunday.
Odd-numbered addresses water before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m. Wednesday and/or Saturday.
"If the drought conditions persist as predicted, we may be facing more stringent watering restrictions in the upcoming months," Pringle said. "Some of the northern counties are already on once-per-week watering restrictions."
IGo to mygiwa.com or watermatters.org for more tips on how to conserve water.
"GIWA wants to thank its members for their cooperation in lowering our water usage as required by our permit," Pringle said.