The South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) Governing Board today officially recognized May 16-22, 2021 as Water Reuse Week.
The annual recognition, signified by a purple jacket worn by one Governing Board member to represent the purple pipes that carry reclaimed water, is made by the Governing Board each year to highlight the ongoing efforts to encourage the use of reclaimed water. Today, Vice Chairman Scott Wagner passed the ceremonial purple jacket to "Alligator Ron" Bergeron.
With demand for water forecasted to grow over the next 20 years, the use of reclaimed water, primarily used for irrigation in South Florida, reduces the demand on our underground aquifers and preserves our precious water resources. It can also help fight saltwater intrusion into these aquifers that supply drinking water to millions of South Florida residents and visitors.
Due to efforts by local governments and utilities in partnership with SFWMD to expand infrastructure, the use of reclaimed water has grown from about 100 million gallons per day in 1994 to 302 million gallons per day in 2019. Over the past two decades, SFWMD has allocated more than $100 million to support 274 different water reuse projects that add 155 million gallons per day of water reuse capacity.
The Governing Board has supported reclaimed water projects such as a $2 million grant to support the Cape Coral-Fort Myers Reclaimed Water Interconnect that will be completed by 2023 and allow communities to utilize up to 12 million gallons per day of reclaimed water. The Governing Board is also supporting a reclaimed water pipeline between Broward and Palm Beach counties, which will reuse up to 16 million gallons per day of reclaimed water in the future.