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Florida’s recycled water footprint: a geospatial analysis of distribution (2009 and 2015)

Department of Geosciences, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN, 37614, USA 

Water shortages resulting from increased demand or reduced supply may be addressed, in part, by redirecting recycled water for irrigation, industrial reuse, groundwater recharge, and as effluent discharge returned to streams. Recycled water is an essential component of integrated water management and broader adoption of recycled water will increase water conservation in water-stressed coastal communities. This study examined spatial patterns of recycled water use in Florida in 2009 and 2015 to detect gaps in distribution, quantify temporal change, and identify potential areas for expansion. Databases of recycled water products and distribution centers for Florida in 2009 and 2015 were developed by combining the 2008 and 2012 Clean Water Needs Survey databases with Florida’s 2009 and 2015 Reuse Inventory databases, respectively. Florida increased recycled water production from 674.85 mgd in 2009 to 738.15 mgd in 2015, an increase of 63.30 mgd. The increase was primarily allocated to use in public access areas, groundwater recharge, and industrial reuse, all within the South Florida Water Management District (WMD). In particular, Miami was identified in 2009 as an area of opportunity for recycled water development, and by 2015 it had increased production and reduced the production gap. Overall, South Florida WMD had the largest increase in production of 44.38 mgd (69%), while Southwest Florida WMD decreased production of recycled water by 1.68 mgd, or 3%. Overall increase in use of recycled water may be related to higher demand due to increased population coupled with public programs and policy changes that promote recycled water use at both the municipal and individual level.
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