I had planned to only discuss my vacation and include a few photos in this post, but an article I read in Sunday’s Miami Herald so impressed me that I decided instead to write about that and hold off on Myrtle Beach until next post.
It seems that we in South Florida (including myself in a tiny part – 😀 ) have made great progress in conserving water in the past decade. The Miami Herald article disclosed that South Floridians used 30.3 fewer billion gallons of water in 2010 than we had in 2000 – enough water to fill 45,900 Olympic-sized swimming pools. If you laid those pools end-to-end you could swim from Key West to New York City. That is approximately 1,230 miles (1,980 kilometers) as the crow flies.
The actual decrease in water usage occurred despite the fact that the population of South Florida (the counties of Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe) increased from 5,087,153 to 5,637,725 from 2000 to 2010 according to the US Census. With over 550,000 more people we still used 83 million fewer gallons of water a day.
The decrease is due primarily to low-flow toilets and efficient shower heads and washing machines mandated by the Federal Government in the late 20th century, plus lawn-watering restrictions imposed because of drought conditions.
Prior to 1984 toilets used between 5 and 7 gallons per flush. In the next decade it dropped to between 3.5 and 4.5 gallons. And since 1994 new toilets installed use only 1.6 gallons per flush. Shower heads likewise have gone from using 5 to 8 gallons per minute to 2.5 gallons, and urinals from 5 gallons per flush to one gallon. The average washing machine used 56 gallons per load in 1984. Today’s washing machines use 27 gallons per load. As old units are being replaced and with all new construction requiring the improved fixtures the water savings grow.
So, it would appear that at least in the area of water conservation, we, the most wasteful people on the planet, have been doing something right. Hurray for us!!