Working Together

Cooperation and Coordination

handshake The IWRP is a perfect example of local and regional governments and water managers working together towards the same goal. In all levels of water management, the most important goal is to make sure that despite changing needs, demands, and policies, clean water is delivered when it’s needed, and where it’s needed.

Coordination can be a challenge when there are so many participants, and occasionally conflicting interests, but the ultimate goal for all involved is to work together to protect our water resources and to ensure the sustainability of the urban and natural environments. We’re all working together to protect your drinking water supplies, urban natural areas, the reefs and the Everglades – perhaps South Florida’s greatest natural resource.

In Broward County, elected officials, water managers, and water utilities are working together to find solutions to our water challenges. The continued success of the IWRP will require broad-based participation, as well as long-term coordination with regional planning initiatives. The IWRP is dynamic and can evolve with changing priorities and environments. However, to avoid a constant state of flux and redirection, it is important that Broward County adheres to the goals detailed earlier, such as making the most of our water resources, diversifying our water supplies, and perhaps most importantly, coordinating efforts. Local partnerships have been and will continue to be an important component in achieving successful IWRP implementation.

Partnerships

Broward’s IWRP is a partnership – government agencies and various water committees have worked together to analyze, design, and implement this 10-year Water Plan. As a resident or business owner in Broward County, we want you to get involved in the process, as well.

Some of the partnerships that Broward County has already started include the IWRP Grant Program, the NatureScape Irrigation Service, and the Broward Everglades Working Group, which will be discussed here.

IWRP Grant Program

Broward County has developed a grant program that provides funding for implementing projects related to the IWRP. The County has partnered with the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) to provide funding on a 50/50 cost-share basis. The partner provides 50% of the funding, while the SFWMD and the County each provide 25%.

Funding is available to support the feasibility analyses and preliminary design aspects of proposed projects. It is anticipated that recipients will seek funding assistance from the state during the construction phase. Grant opportunities are provided annually. Please call the Water Resources Division at 954-519-1464 for additional information.

NatureScape Irrigation Service

Broward County has launched a NatureScape Irrigation Service (NIS), which is a conservation-based approach to reducing the amount of water used for irrigation.

The NIS has been patterned after the State’s Mobile Irrigation Lab (MIL) program. This conservation strategy has been identified as one of the most effective means of reducing irrigation demands.

water sprinkler The irrigation service, funded in partnership with 21 local water utilities, is currently targeting large water users, such as parks, schools, and homeowner associations, where the greatest potential exists for significant water savings.

Irrigation specialists review the existing irrigation system design and operations, measure system efficiencies, and quantify current water consumption. After all, it doesn’t make sense to water the driveway or sidewalk when other plants and trees aren’t getting the water they need.

Irrigation specialists are also able to take water measurements of the irrigation systems to determine if the water is going where it needs to go. Property managers are then provided with specific recommendations that may help reduce water consumption through modifications to the system and possibly the landscape.

Since landscape design and plant selection ultimately drive irrigation needs, technicians are also able to provide general advice about what types of plants may be appropriate for a site. They can then coordinate a more thorough landscape assessment through the services of the NatureScape Broward program. The goal is to help landscape professionals, maintenance personnel, and property managers maintain their properties and irrigate in a smarter and more cost-effective way.

After all of the information is collected, NIS operators use it to determine the amount of water being consumed and estimate how much water could be saved by implementing some easy and inexpensive water-saving strategies. Oftentimes all that is needed is a little tune-up.

Similar irrigation system evaluations are available for Broward County residents through the Broward Soil and Water Conservation District. For more information, simply call them at 954-584-1306. You’ll see the water savings add up! And, the service is free, so why not give them a call today?

Regional Activities: LECRWSP and CERP

Successful implementation of the IWRP depends on policy integration at the local, state, and federal levels. The IWRP is regularly updated to reflect changes in policy and planning strategies, and ongoing coordination with regional water management plans is essential. While the IWRP focuses on Broward County’s water management challenges for the next ten years, it also ties in to two longer-term regional water management plans: the Lower East Coast Regional Water Supply Plan (LECRWSP) and the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP).

The LECRWSP that was completed in 2000 included three recommendations that support the County’s IWRP:

Northern Broward County Secondary Canals Recharge Network: To ensure that water levels in Broward’s canal system are consistently maintained throughout the year, whether it’s rainy or dry.            
Southeast Broward County Interconnect Water Supply System: To encourage more efficient use of local water resources through utility sharing agreements.

Broward County Urban Environmental Enhancements: To ensure that the quality of Broward’s natural systems is improved through rehydration.

The updated LECRWSP is expected to be completed by the end of 2006. The County recognizes that the strategies laid out in the LECRWSP will not only support local water management goals, but will also improve the quality and quantity of water in the Everglades system.

Broward County is also involved with several CERP projects: including the Broward Water Preserve Area and the Broward County Secondary Canal Improvement Project.

As part of the CERP, the Broward County Secondary Canal Improvement Project is a water management project designed to take some of the pressure off the regional system by using local rainfall and secondary canals to recharge wellfields. This will make more water available for Everglades restoration.

The U.S. Congress, State of Florida, and local government agencies are funding the project. Broward County would like to expand the CERP project to include a more expansive network of interconnected canals throughout the County. Such an approach to water management will also improve the benefits to the CERP. The increase in groundwater recharge will help reduce groundwater coming from the Everglades into Broward County, while the increase in surface water storage capacity will improve water quality treatment.

As you can see from the partnerships mentioned above, water management takes cooperation and coordination – at all levels. Local governments, utilities, and water managers must all be on the same page. The IWRP provides an avenue for local and regional governments to work together to achieve the same goal – ensuring a high quality and abundant water supply for everyone.

The Lower East Coast Water Supply Plan is updated approximately every five years.  The 2013 Lower East Coast Water Supply Plan Update is the most recent version.