Water has economic, social and political implications that make it a unique and challenging natural resource to manage. Our habits, practices and expectations about the availability of freshwater threaten long-term enjoyment of this vital resource.
Clearwater residents use approximately 11.1 million gallons of potable, or drinking, water every day. Around 80 percent of this water is pumped from city-owned and operated groundwater wells. The remaining water is supplied by water purchased from Pinellas County Utilities. While vital to the community, the water treatment process requires a large amount of energy. As a coastal community, it is also important to consider the future projections of sea-level rise in Clearwater, which could cause seawater to infiltrate freshwater aquifers currently used for potable water.
Water use and the energy demand associated with it can be reduced through water-saving installations and personal behavior changes. Increasing awareness of the issue and the corrective action is essential. But beyond that, we each must feel the desire to be part of the solution.
Households and businesses can install water conservation appliances, such as low-flow faucets, shower heads, and toilets. Limiting water used for irrigation is essential to the city’s conservation goals. Landscapes can be designed to use small amounts of water. Irrigation systems can be installed to only turn on where and when needed. Rain barrels can be installed to capture rain during the wet season and use it during the dry season. Native plants can replace turf lawns, drastically reducing the amount of water needed for flourishing landscapes. By watering lawns and gardens more efficiently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates Florida residents could save 46 million gallons of water each day — equal to the amount needed to supply every household in Tampa.
- The city has maintained a very low per-capita water use across the city. Clearwater Public Utilities continues to offer low-flow shower heads and toilet tank volume reducers to the public.
- Clearwater maintains a reclaimed water system. Each of the reclaimed water projects identified in the department’s master plan have also been completed.
- Low Impact Development (LID) elements, such as vegetative swales and rain gardens, have been incorporated into the Stormwater Drainage Criteria Manual, the US 19 and Downtown zoning district development standards.
- The Cleveland Streetscape Phase III design includes plans for green infrastructure: directing rain water to street planting areas rather than stormwater systems.