City Water

Shorter commute?
Swamp stays put, but town gets closer

National parks have a reputation …

For being stuck in time in a good way.

Population growth in south Florida since Everglades Nat’l Park and Big Cypress Nat’l Preserve were established. Compared to Miami, it looks like Collier County has barely grown at all.

Years, even decades, later you can return to a park …

And it mostly looks the same. Same old trees. Same old swamp.

But on the other side of the dotted line …

The landscape has and is rapidly changing.

Population growth in Collier County over time. By 2040 population growth in East Collier alone (shown in red) is predicted to the 2010 countywide level.

The same return trip to a spot you remembered as a grove of trees or farm fields in your youth often times has changed to houses, concrete and a maze of roads.

Slowly and steadily, that has made the parks less and less remote.

Driving to town just isn’t as far away as it used to be.

Hydrologic resolutions
Or is it better phrased as a responsibility?

Does anybody make new year’s resolutions anymore?

One of mine this year is to drink less water.

The alligator does not drink up the water hole he lives in

Okay, I phrased that wrong: I meant use less water. The reason: By the end of the winter dry season, South Florida usually doesn’t have much to spare. Of course that usually doesn’t happen until spring — and specifically April and May — when the cypress domes and strands go completely dry. And I know what you’re thinking: Is there really a connection between how much was I use in town and the abundance or sparsity of water in the swamp? Increasingly, with the town moving east into the hinterlands that used to be the swamp, I would say if not a one to one drop exchange, the two are more intermingled than we tend to appreciate. Or maybe my point is this: When it comes to Big Water solutions to benefit humans, we usually don’t blink an eye. Well, I’m here to tell you the gators and all the other animals need there water, too. Hundreds of miles of canals and levees later, we built it (for us) and broke it (for them), therefore we own it and owe it to our region to get the water right.

My other resolution is to play the guitar more.

How To: Fix a leak
Why dripping faucets bother me so much

How much water do I use per month?

My water bill read around 5,000 gallons.

Florida kitchen a hundred years ago

By “use” I don’t mean drinking it all. There’s the sprinklers, cooking, washing dishes and clothes, an occasional fill up of the pool, plus two bathrooms and showers.

Constant drip of water use


Still, doing the math, that works out to a hefty half tablespoon per second.

Talk about a leaky faucet!