Guest message: Deirdre Irwin, district water conservation coordinator
Collaboration a key to success in water conservation programs
You might be surprised to learn that Florida is the only state to celebrate Water Conservation Month every year. The Sunshine State has been raising awareness about reducing wasteful or impractical use of water resources each April for the past 21 years.
By 2025, 4 million new residents are projected to make Florida their home, swelling the population to more than 24 million. Conserving water is the most affordable action we can take to protect our most precious resource.
Promoting water conservation is easier than making it happen on a large scale. Conservation programs mean change: change in behavior for utility customers, change in the equipment we use in agriculture and change in how our landscapes look. People often resist change, so a water conservation strategy that makes perfect sense to a utility conservation coordinator can fail when implemented among customers.
Water supply planning and regulatory programmers at the St. Johns River Water Management District include water conservation as a fundamental part of their work. Another approach the district uses to succeed with water conservation is collaboration. Collaboration with our partners has resulted in successful water conservation programs throughout our 18-county service area. Three ways we collaborate are:
- The district’s water conservation experts meet monthly to share information about projects and programs. Staff knowledge is increased as everyone brings ideas or suggestions for the group.
- Each quarter water conservation staff from all five districts meet via conference call to share updates and information.
- The district’s cost-share funding program assists utilities with implementing conservation programs with up to a 50 percent share in funding.
The district also collaborates through quarterly gatherings with utility and local government conservation coordinators. The meetings are hosted by a different entity each time, with speakers of interest to the group. This gathering is uniquely valuable as participants can learn from others’ successes and less than positive experiences, fostering even more collaboration.
Finally, the five districts’ water conservation work is greatly enhanced by what we learn from the University of Florida, from how best to save water with irrigation systems to social science research into behavior change.
It’s more about changing our wasteful habits than anything else. Individually and together, we can all make a difference toward water conservation.
Now in StreamLines
Master gardener shows it’s easy to conserve water and enjoy a beautiful landscape
As we observe Water Conservation Month, we’re celebrating the everyday people who are helping to make every drop count. Meet Deborah Weaver, a resident of central Florida who has converted her backyard from a thirsty plot of turf into an oasis of water-conserving groundcover, broad-leafed potted plants and colorful flowers.
We have great job opportunities at the district.
Hydrologist I (negotiable), Hydrologist III (Palatka), Electrical and Mechanical Specialist (Palatka), Hydrologist II (Palatka), Regulatory Scientist I (negotiable), College Interns (multiple locations)
For more information visit: www.sjrwmd.com/jobs.
Water Conservation Month tip
This week in district social media
- Thanks to district staffers Bobby Hessler, Abby Johnston, Geoff Sample, James Troiano and Susan Davis for video and photo contributions this week.
- Did you catch the photo of the green tree frog? Look closely or you may not see it. Like many other animals, it can help protect itself from creatures that might want to eat it by blending in with its surroundings. These frogs are commonly found all over Florida, maybe even in your backyard. #greentreefrog #wildlifeWednesday
- As we continue our observance of the My Home, My Springs campaign, we featured a video tour of Alexander Springs. This first-magnitude spring is in the Ocala National Forest. Learn about springs and the district’s work to protect them at www.sjrwmd.com/springs.
Subscribe to Water News
Receive timely and pertinent information about the district, water resource issues, upcoming key meetings, opportunities for public input and involvement, events and water resource decisions affecting northeast and east-central Florida by email.