One of the biggest issues facing Florida today is the availability of sufficient water to meet the needs of people, agriculture, and the environment. A growing population makes the historic competition between users even more intense.
“Water 2070, Mapping Florida’s Future is a new study that graphically depicts how water conservation strategies can mitigate the potentially devastating impacts of Florida’s continuing population growth on the State’s invaluable water supplies," said Harvey L. Poppel, Civic Association Director & Water Resources Committee Chair. "It could serve as an important input to Town decisions regarding development and conservation."
The study is a joint project of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS), University of Florida Geoplan Center, and 1000 Friends of Florida.
Water 2070 Summary Report
One of the biggest issues facing Florida today is the availability of sufficient water to meet the needs of people, agriculture and the environment. A growing population makes the historic competition between users even more intense. In poll after poll, protection of drinking water consistently ranks as a top environmental concern for the public. Clean and abundant water also is needed to ensure that Florida’s multi-billion dollar agriculture and tourism industries — the two mainstays of this state’s economy — remain strong and viable over the long term.
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS), the University of Florida’s Geoplan Centerand 1000 Friends of Florida partnered on Florida 2070, using geographic information systems (GIS) to show actual 2010 land use patterns and two land use scenarios for 2070, when Florida is projected to have 15 million additional residents.
Based on Florida 2070 results, DACS, Geoplan and 1000 Friends have now partnered on Water 2070 to explore the impact on water demand of projected population growth and agriculture demand encompassed in the three scenarios generated in Florida 2070.
Additional demand numbers remain un-projected, including water formining and power generation. And of particular concern, and not within the scope and budget of this project, is the annual water needed for the health and function of natural systems.
Water 2010 Baseline is based on the actual 2010 distribution of population, agriculture, and protected lands as identified in Florida 2070.
Using data from a United States Geological Survey study, the 2010 baseline per capita gallons per day(GPD) demand for each Florida county is established and used to determine total development-related demand for each county.
Based on an Alachua County study prepared at the University of Florida, it is assumed that rural/suburban census tracts (those with less than 2000 people/square mile) use three times as much water as urban census tracts (those with > = 2000 people/square mile)
Agriculture irrigation demand is based on data from a study prepared for the Department of Agricultureand Consumer Services which estimates water demand for crops, livestock, and aquaculture.
Water 2070 Trend is based on the addition of 15 million new residents, assuming 2010 development patterns continue.
Using the same baseline per capita gallons per day (GPD) demand for each Florida county and the assumption that suburban/rural census block groups use more water than urban census block groups, each county’s water demand quantity is increased to reflect its population increase and the spatial distribution of that population.
Agricultural lands are lost to development, but the same per acre irrigation demand is assumed resulting in a decrease in agricultural demand.
In Water 2070 Alternative, the projected 15 million new residents are accommodated with more compact development patterns and increased protected lands as shown in the Florida 2070 Alternative scenario.
Per capita rates of development-related water demand for each county are conservatively reduced by 20% to capture the potential impact of water conservation measures.
Agriculture irrigation demand is based on data from a study prepared for the Department of Agricultureand Consumer Services which estimates water demand for crops, livestock and aquaculture in 2035. No irrigated lands identified in this study were allowed to develop under this scenario Statewide Results.
Water 2070 results in a series of maps and associated tables and graphs which reveal significant differences among the three scenarios and among the four regions of the State.
Water 2070 Trend reveals that the combination of population growth and increased development-relatedirrigation (associated with new and sprawling development patterns) will increase development-related water demand by more than 100% compared to the 2010 Baseline.
With more compact development and a modest 20% increase in water conservation, Alternative 2070 would save 27% in development-related water demand when compared to the 2070 Trend.
However, Alternative 2070 development-related water demand is still 50% higher than the 2010 Baseline Compared to the 2010 Baseline, statewide agriculture irrigation demand in the 2070 Trend is 24% less due to the loss of agriculture lands to development
Statewide agriculture irrigation demand is slightly greater in the 2070 Alternative than the 2010 Baseline because there are more agricultural lands projected for 2035 in the irrigation demand study prepared in 2015 by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Given existing water shortages in some areas of the state, the 54% increase in total demand from 2010 to 2070 Trend, and even the 30% increase from 2010 to 2070 Alternative, are clearly not sustainable
Modest water conservation of 20% and a modest increase in development density are not sufficient.
The clear takeaway is that development-related water demand is the major driver of increased water consumption in Florida by 2070, and that the combination of more compact development patterns and modest water conservation measures would result in a fairly significant reduction. However, given existing water supply shortfalls in some areas of the state, going beyond Water Alternative 2070 by promoting even more compact development and increasing water conservation efforts is essential if Florida is to accommodate 15 million more residents and maintain agricultural productivity in 2070.
As shown in the Regional Results Overview section, the correlation between population growth and water demand is clearly evident when comparing the Florida 2070 maps with the Water 2070 maps which show gallons used per day per acre (GPD/A) for the same scenarios. Pay particular attention to Central and Northeast Florida which are most impacted by both population growth and sprawling development patterns and, as a result,development-related water demand.