Florida's water demand for development could double by 2070
Demand for water will more than double in Florida by 2070 if building trends continue along their current sprawling path, bringing another 15 million people to the state, according to a new report.
But if new development clusters together and increases water conservation by 20 percent, the state could save 27 percent in development-related water demand, compared to the business-as-usual scenario, a study by University of Florida concludes.
"If we don't change the way we are developing, more than one-third of Florida will be paved over," warned Peggy Carr, a professor at UF's GeoPlan Center, who worked on the analysis on behalf of the nonprofit 1000 Friends of Florida.
Under Florida's current development patterns, the state's total water use will double by 2070, growing to 8 billion gallons per day, a 54 percent increase, the report found.
But under UF's 20 percent conservation, clustered development scenario, water demand would only grow to 6.8 billion gallons per day, a 30 percent increase.
Panhandle counties had the lowest projected demand, followed by northeast Florida. Central Florida would see the greatest demand in all scenarios, because of population and agriculture trends.