5th UF Water Institute Symposium Abstract

Submitter's Name Mackenzie Boyer
Session Name Poster Session - Water & Nutrients in Managed Landscapes
Poster Number 49
Author(s) Mackenzie Boyer,  Graduate Student (Presenting Author)
  A tale of two regions: How residential irrigation differs between Tampa Bay and Orange County and what that means for conservation
  Florida is a hotbed for residential irrigation, but not all regions irrigate equally. The seven member-governments of Tampa Bay Water, located in southwest Florida, have developed a culture of conservation as a result of regional water scarcity. In contrast, Orange County Utilities in central Florida has not encountered the same scarcity. Although geographically close, customers of Tampa Bay Water member-governments and customers of Orange County Utilities differ greatly in their irrigation habits. Analysis is based on monthly billing records for single-family residential customers without access to reclaimed water in Tampa Bay Water member-governments (1 million customers) and Orange County Utilities (140,000 customers). Monthly irrigation demand was calculated from billing data, estimated indoor water use, and estimated irrigated area. Estimated theoretical irrigation required was calculated using soil-water balances. Based on the estimated irrigation demand and theoretical irrigation required, 7% of Tampa Bay Water customers over-irrigate as compared to 60% of Orange County customers. The differing irrigation behavior directly impacts which conservation measures would be most effective in each region. Several previous studies have reported the effectiveness of tools such as smart controllers (i.e., soil-moisture sensors and evapotranspiration controls) and landscape modifications (i.e., Florida-Friendly Landscapes), but these results have not yet been used to project region-wide conservation benefits. This study seeks compare historical irrigation habits and to estimate the potential impact of water conservation tools in southwest and central Florida.