The overall goal of Broward's Water Plan is to provide high quality, reliable water for all of Broward County, now and in the future. Whether it’s wet or dry, we have to manage our water resources.
By having a long-term approach to local water management, current sources can be efficiently used while new sources are being developed.
In 1997, Broward County began development of an Integrated Water Resource Plan as a strategy for meeting its long-term water supply needs and water resource goals. The South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) was invited to participate in the effort and has been an important partner in both development and implementation of the plan.
As you saw in the first section of this website, Broward’s Integrated Water Resource Plan (IWRP) has four main goals:
- To make the most of our local water resources, so that Broward’s long-term water supply needs are met;
- To coordinate a diverse water management community, ensuring the efficient and effective management of our water resources;
- To match up local water sources and users to ensure that water supplies are available when and where they’re needed;
- To diversify water supplies so that the needs of urban and natural systems are met under wet and dry conditions.
Making the Most of Our Local Water Resources
Before developing the IWRP, Broward’s water management community conducted a comprehensive review of our local water resources and water users. This initial effort was somewhat cursory; a more comprehensive assessment would continue as the IWRP was put into motion. It was soon apparent that the IWRP would have to address water management from several different perspectives, including urban and non-urban interests, natural systems, and potable water needs. The approach to water management was reaffirmed with the passage of the Federal Water Resources Development Act (2000) and the adoption of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP). Successful restoration of the Everglades would require a careful balance of urban and natural system water needs.
With an urban population expected to reach 2.4 million by 2025, water demands are expected to increase about 34% during the next 20 years. At the same time, there are more and more constraints on our ability to use current water resources to meet future water demands. These constraints are also closely linked to the health of the Everglades. So, one of the IWRP’s goals is to produce the additional 100 million gallons of water per day that we will need to support our population in 2025, without increasing our reliance on the Everglades system. One way we are working to do this is by making better, more efficient use of local water resources, and by protecting the quality of those resources.
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Coordinating a Diverse Water Management Community
A quick assessment of Broward County’s water resources and interests reveals a complex system. The water management community consists of dozens of water utilities, water managers, municipalities, and drainage/water control districts. In addition to making the most of our existing water resources, another IWRP goal is to coordinate the actions of a diverse water management community. By coordinating efforts, we can achieve more efficient and effective operations. This water management approach requires that water resources be viewed from a regional perspective, independent of municipal and service area boundaries.
Coordination in water management requires that we evaluate water projects based on their benefits to the entire region. This eliminates redundancy in planning efforts and reduces construction and maintenance costs.
The idea is to maximize the benefits when compared to the cost. Because Broward County and the District have agreed to share the costs on some projects, there are more incentives to develop projects that offer regional solutions to local water management problems. In addition, cost sharing promotes finding solutions that are both effective and efficient.
Matching up Local Water Sources and Users
To help guide water management decisions, Broward County has invested a lot of time, energy, and resources to develop advanced hydrologic models. These models help us plan for the future while guiding current water management decisions. With the financial support of the SFWMD, Broward County is using some of the most sophisticated water modeling technologies to evaluate our water management options.
This technical basis to the IWRP allows us to fully assess the implications of our water management decisions, including impacts to surface water and groundwater levels, drainage implications and flood control.
This technical approach to water planning is of particular value when determining how surface waters can be routed through the County’s extensive canal system to areas in need of recharge, and when measuring the potential benefits of transporting water. Some recharge projects help sustain wetlands, others recharge wellfields, and still others can help hold back saltwater intrusion.
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Diversifying Water Supplies
Broward’s IWRP works because of its unique combination of a technical framework, outreach efforts and focus on regional coordination. Although we expect that great efficiencies can be achieved by coordinating water management practices and by conserving water, these strategies will not meet all of Broward’s future water demands. So, another goal of the IWRP is to expand and diversify local water sources by developing new alternative water supplies.
These alternative water supplies are independent of the Biscayne Aquifer and are not dependent on water deliveries from the Everglades system. They include such strategies as desalination, treatment and reuse of wastewater, and capture and reuse of stormwater, Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR), and use of the Floridan Aquifer.
Although more costly than traditional water supplies, alternative water supplies are not dependent on rainfall and they help protect against water restrictions and shortages during times of drought.
Broward’s IWRP works because of its unique combination of a technical framework, outreach efforts and focus on regional coordination. The Plan looks at all water management functions in the County, including:
- Managing the quality and quantity of drainage
- Recharging the Biscayne Aquifer
- Protecting against floods
- Maintaining groundwater levels for wetlands
- Reducing water pollution
- Preventing saltwater intrusion, and most importantly,
- Protecting the public’s water supply
There are many pieces to the water management puzzle, and the people involved in managing and implementing the IWRP are diverse. Participants include local and regional political representatives, water managers, planners, engineers, environmental interests, and numerous other stakeholder groups. This gives all levels of government a voice at the table and allows residents of Broward County to actively participate in the process as well.
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