Dry conditions bring reminder to conserve water outdoors

Water Less banner with Azaleas

Water Less banner with Azaleas

PALATKA, Fla., April 8, 2020 — With below-normal rainfall causing increasingly drier conditions, the St. Johns River Water Management District wants to remind water users about the importance of outdoor water conservation. Indoor water use, such as hand washing and sanitizing, is critical in the current health crisis, and the district urges Floridians to follow directives from the state and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to curb the spread of COVID-19.

However, more than half of Florida’s residential water use typically occurs outdoors on lawns and landscapes; thus, the district has concentrated its year-long Water Less campaign on outdoor water conservation.

Across the 18-county district, rainfall is almost six inches below normal for the past three months, and March rainfall averaged barely ¼ inch. Moderate drought conditions have developed across most of the district, including Clay, Putnam and St. Johns counties where 12-month rainfall totals are less than 40 inches. By comparison, the average 12-month rainfall is just over 51 inches.

Groundwater levels in the Floridan aquifer have dropped by approximately 15 percent over the last month. Surface water flows are low, except for the St. Marys River, which is the northernmost boundary of the district and a waterway that receives significant runoff from Georgia.

Conservation is among the district’s most important strategies to help meet Florida’s water supply needs. The district’s springtime “Did you set it and forget it” message recommends an irrigation system checkup, including timers, spray heads and pipes, to make sure systems are working efficiently and effectively. Taking control of your sprinkler system can help to save water and money while allowing for healthy, beautiful landscapes.

Also, to encourage awareness about the importance of water conservation, the district’s Governing Board recently approved a proclamation designating April as Water Conservation Month, along with a growing list of local government partners.

Year-round watering restrictions are in place across the district’s 18-county region to ensure the efficient use of water for landscape irrigation. Visit www.sjrwmd.com/wateringrestrictions/ for information about when watering may occur at residential and nonresidential properties and for tips for outdoor water conservation.

Join the conversation on social media: #WaterLess #StayAtHome #waterconservation #sjrwmd