Water footprint

Governor Crist was in Tallahassee celebrating Earth Day on Tuesday.
Among his observations was that the environment and economy are “inextricably linked,” as reported in the News-Press.

That includes its precious water – for all its uses, in all sectors.
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I’m a big fan of Florida oranges, love aquatic south Florida in all its forms, drink my fair share of water from the tap, and enjoy a refreshing swim in the algal-free Gulf.

We’ve heard and read a lot about “calculating your carbon footprint.”

But what about your water footprint?
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In Florida, the number is around 160 gallons per person per capita. It changes from community to community, and household to household — and its only an estimate to be sure. But that’s as good a number as any.

That adds up to a little over 1/6th an acre-foot over the course of a year, 1.4 to be exact.

That’s about the size of a football field filled with 2-3 inches of water.

Click here to view a brief history of earth day from the EPA’s website, or you can read a very nice piece on the history of earth day in our very own Tallahassee Democrat. Their thesis — and title: “On this Earth Day, Thank a Legislator“.

Or check the Orlando Sentinel’s Florida-specific retrospetive on the day, courtesy of guest columnist Jack Davis, professor of history from the University of Florida.

Side note:
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Looking at the stadium sort of has my mind slipping towards football season. Football season is a lot like the water cycle these days: Both are a year-around endeavor. And the eyes of those fans have been transfixed on south Florida as of late . . . no not on Lake Okeechobee, . . . but on the Miami Dolphins.
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The Fish (as they are locally called) have the first pick of the NFL rookie draft this weekend.
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But Bill Parcells pulled a quick one on the league: the Dolphins pre-signed Michigan lineman Jake Long to a pre-draft deal. That’s unusual, but smart: Parcells got what he wanted, didn’t pay and arm and a leg, did it on his terms.
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He would have been a heck of a watershed manager if football hadn’t got him first.

Go Dolphins!
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And Go South Florida Watersheds!

Corrections in red: In my original post I had forgotten to convert gallons to cubic feet by dividing by 7.48. A classic blunder when doing unit conversions. Still, a football field is a nice way to conceptualize an acre-foot of water, even if you don’t drink a full one per year.

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