Broward Leaders Discuss Water Policy
The final session of the Broward Leaders Water Academy wrapped up on February 13 with a group discussion on water policy in the 2009 Florida legislative session. Invited speakers included Ernie Barnett, Doug Mann, Diana Ferguson, Eric Draper, Steve Siebert, and Jake Varn. Topics centered on the future of water policy in Florida and what might be on the horizon for local governments. A significant point shared during the session was that Florida’s water is a growing policy issue and the days of affordable water may be coming to an end as we deal with our economic future, growth and our ability to meet future water demand. Recognizing that we are at a crossroads with regard to our water supplies, the Florida Legislature is increasingly engaged in discussion about water conservation (SB 492), water resource protection (SB 274 and 1490), water governance and funding issues (SB 1070), reuse, and the incentivizing of alternative water supply development.
Broward Water Resources Task Force
First convened in September ’08, the Broward Water Resources Task Force continued to convene monthly to further efforts to develop regional strategies for ensuring a sustainable water supply for our residents, visitors and natural systems. On January 9, Task Force members benefited from a panel discussion with invited speakers from Florida and California who were familiar with regional and multi- jurisdictional water supply strategies. Topics ranged from important considerations in the development and implementation of effective regional approaches, to various financial and political options.
In March and April, the Task Force began to look at newly revised water demand projections and specific water supply projects that could be implemented regionally to meet future demands. The topic of discussion for the May 2 meeting was water conservation and strategies that are being implemented in other parts of South Florida to reduce water use, and some that are newly proposed for Broward County.
In June, the Broward and Palm Beach Water Resources Task Forces held a joint meeting at the Coconut Creek Community Center to explore the C-51 Reservoir project as a viable alternative water supply option with potential benefits for both counties. The project calls for the capture and storage of stormwater that currently discharges to the Lake Worth Lagoon, for use by Palm Beach County. This would serve to diversify local water supplies and allow routing of newly available water to critical delivery points in the region, with both natural system and urban water supply benefits. Upcoming meetings of the Broward Water Resources Task Force will address how to better advance development of reuse projects, review and prioritization of proposed regional water supply project concepts, and additional means for furthering water conservation goals.
Broward Water Advisory Board
The WAB advanced a number of key water resource initiatives since the Spring, including an amendment to Chapter 27, Article V of the Broward County Code of Ordinances providing clarification on the application of Broward County’s water quality standards to effluent discharged to surface and groundwaters, and support for a proposed county-wide Water Conservation and Incentives Program. The proposed program would offer plumbing fixture replacements and rebates for residential and commercial facilities with eligible devices to include toilets, faucets, showerheads, and pre-rinse spray valves. The proposal is soon to be considered by the Broward County Board of County Commissioners, and if approved, the program could be implemented in 2011 through interlocal cost-share funding.
In September, the WAB recommended eight water resource management projects for cost share funding under the County’s Integrated Water Resource Plan. The projects include the feasibility analysis and preliminary design of various alternative water supply projects and improvements to surface water management systems. The Broward County Board of County 3 Commissioners is expected to consider the grant requests in November/December.
Everglades Water Quality
Coordination of interagency efforts to control pollution in the C-11 West Basin is critical to the health and restoration of the Everglades in western Broward County. With that goal in mind, the Broward Everglades Working Group convened in February, May and October to review current water quality data from a number of stations throughout the basin, and to discuss efforts that have been, or could be, undertaken to further reduce nutrient loads and improve overall water quality in the basin.
As an additional step to protect water quality, the County’s Know-the-Flow program has been expanded under an agreement with the South Florida Water Management District to target stakeholders in areas of the County that drain directly to the Everglades (non-Everglades Construction Project basins). The Know-the-Flow program includes delivery of workshops and information on maintenance of effective stormwater management systems; turf, landscape and golf course best management practices; and other pollution prevention and water conservation measures that reduce runoff of polluted water to our surface waters and the Everglades.
County Mobile Irrigation Lab Increases County-wide Water Conservation
It is estimated that about 50% of the all water consumption occurs outdoor, with the majority used for landscape irrigation. Year-round water conservation measures are under development by the South Florida Water Management District and will serve to limit the number of days during which landscape irrigation can be provided. These measures are expected to greatly reduce overall water consumption throughout the region and in Broward County. There is room for additional water savings even when adhering to water restrictions and/or conservation measures however, as evidenced by the water savings achieved through the Broward NatureScape Irrigation Service over the past several months. Since January, and during Phase II water restrictions, services provided by the NatureScape Irrigation Service mobile irrigation lab resulted in a total water savings of 93 million gallons following irrigation system evaluations and improvements conducted at 174 locations.
Annual Water Matters Day Event
On March 14, Broward County held the 7th Annual Water Matters Day event at Tree Tops Park. This fun-filled annual event is the highlight of the year for native plant and water 4 conservation enthusiasts throughout the County. Over 3,200 visitors attended this year’s event and took advantage of the many informative displays and educational demonstrations on the importance of water conservation and ways to save water in their homes, yards and businesses. Always popular, the native plant give-way provided 3,700 native trees and shrubs to visitors to take home and incorporate into their own landscapes to attract native wildlife, help conserve water and reduce the need for pesticides and fertilizers that pollute our waterways. Next year’s event is scheduled for March 13, 2010 at Tree Tops Park.
Schools Embrace NatureScape
Over 2,200 students, teachers and other participants took part in educational programs and landscape makeovers at four county middle schools during the Spring and Summer. Activities included training in NatureScape Broward principles, water conservation, native landscaping and landscape best management practices. As educational materials and lessons from this outreach program are incorporated into school curricula, students and teachers alike explore and expand their knowledge of environmental principals and “bring home” the importance of environmental stewardship. Nearly 2,700 properties throughout Broward County, including 66 schools, have been certified as water conserving Florida-friendly landscapes since the inception of the NatureScape Broward program.
Regional Climate Leadership Summit
On Friday, October 23, from 9:00 AM to 3:30 PM, the Broward County Board of County Commissioners will host a four-county Climate Summit in partnership with Palm Beach, Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties. The purpose of the event is to begin a regional dialog on shared climate change mitigation and adaptation challenges and to lay the foundation for a regional climate strategy. The audience is primarily elected officials, leaders in climate policy, and representatives from regional planning agencies. To access summit materials or to participate in the summit webcast, visit www.broward.org/climatechange.
Broward Water Resource Task Force
The Task Force and supporting Technical Team convene monthly to address Broward water resource issues. For more information, contact Toni Edwards at 954-519-0356.
Broward Everglades Working Group
The BEWG convenes three times per year to address water resource issues specific to the C-11 West Basin. For more information, call Asif Ali at 954-519-1222.
Know-the-Flow Seminar Series
KTF Sessions are held monthly, 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM, at different locations throughout Broward County. This free, four-part course provides an overview of water management with a specific emphasis on what residents and property managers can do to manage and conserve water resources. Half-day classes include topics related to South Florida’s natural history, managing South Florida’s water, managing your neighborhood water management system and NatureScape landscape best management practices. The course provides opportunities for licensed community association managers and landscape professionals to earn continuing education credits. For more information and to pre-register, contact Ali Asif at (954) 519-1222.
Broward Water Advisory Board and Technical Advisory Committee
Joint Board and TAC meetings are held bi-monthly with TAC only meetings scheduled in alternate months. For more information, contact Toni Edwards at 954-519-0356.
Unless otherwise noted, for more information on the above articles and events, please contact Toni Edwards at email@example.com, 954-519-0356.
Fall' 09 Newsletter (PDF)