Water, Water, Everywhere
Broward’s Integrated Water Resource Plan (IWRP)(PDF)
Water is an essential
component of Broward County's vibrant economy and quality of
life. Without it, people, plants, and animals just wouldn’t be
the same. As the County continues to grow, demand for water
grows, as well. But, supplies of water are limited, so Broward
has taken an active role in making sure that there is enough
water for everyone – now and in the future.
Broward’s water management community has
developed a Plan called the Integrated Water Resource Plan
(IWRP) that looks at how Broward’s water
resources might be most effectively and efficiently managed –
for the next ten years and beyond. The Plan is an important
step in making sure that water is managed in a way that
benefits everyone, while protecting the environment.
Broward County has a number
of unique natural conditions. Those natural conditions are, in
a word, unpredictable. Our hot, wet summers and dry winters,
combined with occasional droughts and torrential rains make
water management a tremendous challenge. In addition to the
unpredictable weather, our County is also incredibly
flat. This has significant water management
implications. Not only does our flat terrain severely limit
our ability to provide long-term storage of surface water, but
it also means that we must actively drain and pump water to
prevent flooding during rainfall events, and in some cases,
even when it’s not raining.
Water Sources in Broward
Although our region receives
an average rainfall of sixty inches each year, three-fourths
falls between May and November. And really, there’s no such
thing as an “average” year. On the other side of the spectrum,
the greatest demand for water occurs in the dry winter months
when the population swells with winter residents.
Broward’s IWRP provides a common-sense
solution for balancing all of these competing interests and
water requirements, while still providing enough water for
surrounding natural areas and urban wetlands.
In Broward County, our current water
supplies are highly dependent on rainfall. Rain soaks into the
ground and recharges the Biscayne Aquifer, which is the
primary water source for our 31 local water
While most of Broward’s water
comes from rainfall within the boundaries of urban Broward
County, surface water and groundwater from the Everglades
Water Conservation Areas are also important water sources.
These Water Conservation Areas must be adequately protected
and managed, so that people, plants, and animals have access
to the water that they need, when they need it.
Since rainfall by its very
nature comes when it wants to, and flows where it wants, our
challenge is to effectively capture and use rainfall for
current supplies while simultaneously finding new water for
Public education and personal
stewardship are critical components of Broward’s water
management plan. Broward County is working with elected
officials, business leaders, and residents like you to help
all Broward interests understand that despite the seeming
abundance, our water resources are limited and droughts can
occur, even if the summer has been wet.
Water management in Broward is definitely a challenge, but
the IWRP ensures that local governments, special districts and
water professionals are working toward the same goal – a high
quality and adequate water supply.
At the same time, we have to
protect the environment— we must strike a safe and sustainable
balance between demands for potable water and the needs of our
natural systems. When we find this balance, we’ll enjoy a
great quality of life and the assurance of a reliable water
As we will explain throughout this
website, Broward’s Water Plan 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.
While the County’s water
management activities and water conservation programs have
been a focus of the County’s Water Plan, the County is also
looking at ways to develop new sources that may be needed to
accommodate future growth. As with all of Broward’s water
programs, our primary concern is to ensure that we’re making
the most of our natural resources and at the same time looking
ahead to future needs.
Our hope is that this website
will help you understand the importance of our water
resources, and consider ways in which we might work together
to ensure that present and future water demands are met.
Coordination and cooperation are essential.
We hope that you enjoy
learning about Broward’s Integrated Water Resource Plan. We’re
eager to work with you to ensure that everyone in our
community has clean, affordable, and plentiful water – now and
in the future.