Efficient water management is the foundation for an effective
water management plan. But, water resources are limited and rainfall
is uncertain. The idea is that when a drought occurs, systems are
already in place to make sure that Broward County residents continue
to have access to the water necessary to maintain adequate levels of
domestic, business, industrial, and commercial activities.
One way to manage drought is to
adequately plan for it, just as people plan for retirement
throughout their working career. The idea is that when a drought
occurs, systems are already in place to make sure that Broward
County residents continue to have access to the water necessary to
maintain an adequate level of domestic, business, industrial, and
During prolonged periods without rain, groundwater levels can
drop and it becomes more challenging to provide water to people and
natural systems. During these periods, the County has been dependent
on water from the Everglades system to maintain the canal system and
ground water levels.
With Everglades restoration activities underway, there is a need
for urban communities to meet these demands through alternative
water supplies so that there continues to be enough water to
maintain the Everglades’ natural areas.
Maintaining water levels in our
canals is critical to managing water resources in Broward County.
Minimum canal levels have been established to prevent erosion,
provide wellfield and natural system recharge, and to prevent
In Broward County, saltwater intrusion occurs when groundwater
levels drop. The amount of pressure created by fresh groundwater is
reduced, so the wall of salty ocean water to the east is able to
move westward. This saltwater movement has the potential to
contaminate drinking water wells and make them unusable. The
County tries to prevent this by enhancing groundwater recharge with
surface waters transported throughout our elaborate canal
One of the objectives of the County’s IWRP is to reduce the
County’s reliance upon the Everglades system as a source water for
this canal recharge.
Drought management can be accomplished in
several ways. Typically, drought management involves storing water
during the rainy season so that when there is a drought, water can
be distributed in an effective and timely manner to those who need
it most. Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR), wastewater reuse, and
water filtration are all potential means for providing drought
management in Broward County.
Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR)
Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) is a process that involves temporarily storing water in the upper
Floridan Aquifer to be withdrawn during times of reduced rainfall
and drought. Potential source waters for an ASR system are the
Biscayne Aquifer, with water collected during the wet season. ASR
withdrawals can then be used for potable purposes or for canal
recharge. This method of water management is still in the early
stages of implementation in Broward County, but has the potential to
provide a cost-effective means of providing drought management.
One challenge is locating the right site for the placement of ASR
wells. There are many factors to be considered, land availability,
local geology, and potential interaction with neighboring utility
operations. Regulatory constraints must be considered as well. It is
a complicated process, but the County is committed to making ASR a
There are various forms of water reclamation (or reuse) that can
be used to support the development of new water supplies. Two
principle strategies that are being pursued by Broward County are
stormwater reuse and Advanced Wastewater Treatment (AWT). Stormwater
reuse involves the capture of stormwater runoff and AWT, like the
name suggests, entails the high level treatment of domestic
wastewater to a strict water quality standard. These sources of
reuse can be used for irrigation or canal recharge.
In Broward County, the quality of the water in the Floridan
Aquifer is not as good as water from the Biscayne Aquifer. While the
Floridan Aquifer is the major source of water in other parts of the
state, its use is limited in South Florida because it is salty. So
the Floridan Aquifer hasn’t been the first choice for Broward water
utilities. But as water resources become more limited, more water
utilities are considering using state-of-the-art technology to make
the water drinkable. The process is called reverse osmosis.
Reverse osmosis uses a membrane that is semi-permeable, so water
flows through the membrane, but minerals, bacteria, salts, and
particles cannot. This means that the drinking water coming from
your tap is of the highest quality.