Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Floridians Are Contrarians on Water Conservation; They Say They Want to Help - until Lawn Turns Brown or Shower Time

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Floridians Are Contrarians on Water Conservation; They Say They Want to Help - until Lawn Turns Brown or Shower Time

Article excerpt

Byline: Meredith Rutland

Water conservation is essential to maintain the state's water supply, but actually getting Floridians to conserve is tough.

They'll gladly wait to run those laundry machines. They'll turn off the faucet when brushing their teeth. Just don't ask them to take shorter showers.

Most Florida residents recognize water is a vital issue to the state, but left to their own devices, they'll mostly conserve water when it's convenient, according to a University of Florida survey of about 500 residents released last week.

Florida constantly battles water issues, and this year will be no exception. Cities across the state are trying to figure out how to draw enough water to keep up with their growing populations.

In December, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Florida was growing faster than New York. Demographers predicted Florida would soon become the third most populated state in the country.

Central Florida is figuring out a plan to manage its growth over the next 20 years, which could mean taking water from nearby lakes and rivers. The usual source - the Floridan aquifer - is too strained for regions to take any more water from it.

On top of that, the Panhandle is dealing with the decline of oyster beds in Apalachicola due to a lack of fresh water, and Florida is suing Georgia for allegedly taking more than its fair share of water from the region.

CONSERVING

Conservation, experts say, is one way to delay a serious drain on Florida's water resources.

Floridians want to help out and protect the environment, the study suggests.

But they simply don't want dry, brown lawns, and they don't want buzzers bugging them to get out of the shower.

The study showed 90 percent of respondents would wait to load the washing machine until it's full, 54 percent would install water-saving shower heads, 42 percent would limit watering the lawn if it meant the grass would die and 29 percent would use a shower timer. …

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