Annual report shows 11% decrease in water use over last decade

Image of annual water use 2009 - 2018

Image of annual water use 2009 - 2018Agricultural irrigation efficiencies and improved rainfall helped reduce 2018 water use

PALATKA, Fla., June 11, 2019 — Annual water use reporting conducted by the St. Johns River Water Management District shows that 2018 total water use was 7 percent lower than 2017 and 11 percent below the 10-year average, even though total population continued to increase. The district’s 2018 Survey of Annual Water Use was presented at the district’s June Governing Board meeting.

“We commend the efforts of agriculture, water utilities, local governments and all water users who make water conservation a year-round priority,” said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle. “Water-saving practices are an important strategy to ensure sustainable use of Florida’s water.”

Within the St. Johns District, the largest water use is public supply, which represents 58 percent of the total water use, followed by agricultural irrigation at 19 percent and commercial/industrial/institutional and mining/dewatering uses at 9 percent of water use.

Highlights of the report include:

  • Total public supply water use in 2018 was 568 million gallons per day (mgd), which was approximately 2 percent lower than public water use in 2017. This includes some commercial/industrial/institutional uses that are supplied by public supply utilities.
  • Gross per capita water use decreased to 128 gallons per person per day (gpcd), down from 135 gpcd.
  • Agricultural water use was 12 percent lower in 2018 than the previous year and almost 40 percent below the 10-year average of 315.99 mgd. This decrease may be attributable to efficiency changes in agricultural irrigation practices, as well as above-average rainfall in 2018, the third wettest year in the last decade.
  • In 2018, districtwide average rainfall was 11 percent above the 10-year average, which mostly occurred in the second half of the year, with 54.74 inches of rainfall, compared to 2017 districtwide rainfall tallied at 57.96 inches.
  • Total population districtwide has increased by 11 percent during the 10-year period, an increase of 502,879 people to more than 5.2 million people. Since 2017, total population has increased by 3.4 percent.
  • More than 218 mgd of reclaimed water is used for beneficial purposes with approximately 55 percent of wastewater in the district is being reused.

Factors such as water conservation, less landscape irrigation with potable water and increases in multifamily housing occupancy can decrease gross per capita rates. Conversely, expanded tourism and other commercial development, larger irrigated lots and increases in single family housing can increase gross per capita rates.

The district has published annual water use data since 1978.  Annual water use surveys assess total water use, with data arranged by source, category of use, and county. Water use amounts are based on the best available data at the time of publication. The published report can be found on the district’s website at