Annual report shows average daily water use is 115 gallons per person

Historical freshwater use chart

PALATKA, Fla., July 28, 2021 — Annual water use reporting conducted by the St. Johns River Water Management District shows that 2020 total water use was 1% lower than the five-year average but 4% higher than 2019. Daily per capita water use at 115 gallons per day remained below the 10-year average of 128 gallons.

Historical freshwater use chartThe District’s 2020 Survey of Annual Water Use was presented at the July 13 Governing Board meeting.

“Changes in rainfall, greater access to reclaimed water and economic factors all play a role in the results of our annual reporting, but each of us individually has control over our own water use behaviors,” said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle. “This yearly report is a great reminder that we all must keep doing our part to conserve water in our homes and businesses.”

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.

Within the St. Johns District, the largest water use is public supply, which represents 53% of total water use, followed by agricultural irrigation at 23% and commercial/industrial/institutional and mining/dewatering uses at 9% of water use. Other categories of water use are domestic self-supply and small public supply systems (7%), landscape/recreational self-supply (5%) and power generation self-supply (3%).

Highlights of the report include:

  • Since 2001, gross per capita water use has decreased from 155 gallons per person per day to 115 gallons per person per day.
  • Total public supply water use in 2020 was 550 million gallons per day (mgd). This includes some commercial/industrial/institutional uses that are supplied by public supply utilities.
  • Public supply water use increased 1% from 2019, while population increased 2% from 4.68 million to nearly 4.78 million.
  • Although public supply water use in 2020 is slightly higher than the 10-year average (due to factors such as rainfall / drought conditions and economic factors), the gross per capita rate has seen a significant decrease since 2001 and is 17% lower than 2011.
  • Since 2001, total public supply water use has increased by 4%. During the same time, total population served by public supply has increased by 40%.
  • More than 211 mgd of reclaimed water is reused within the St. Johns District. Reclaimed water is treated wastewater that is reused for beneficial purposes and reduces the demand for fresh groundwater for irrigation and some industrial and commercial uses.
  • More than 50% of wastewater flows have been beneficially reused since 2014, and reuse varies from county to county. For example, reuse utilization rates in Baker County are 7%, while Alachua County reuse utilization is 96%.
  • Agricultural water use was 14% below the 10-year average but 19% higher than in 2019. The increase is attributed to crop irrigation during the first half of the year because the majority of rainfall occurred in the second half of the year.
  • Domestic self-supplied households consume an average of 86 gallons per person per day. 2020 water use was 2.3% higher than the previous year, which can be attributed to a 2% increase in population, rainfall and changes in conservation behaviors.
  • Self-supplied commercial/industrial/institutional and mining/dewatering water use in 2020 was 10% below the annual average of the last 10 years.

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