Water Quality & Conservation
What's the problem?
In Miami-Dade County residents receive their drinking water from the Biscayne Aquifer. The aquifer is made up of porous limestone and is located underground. The state of Florida manages this water resource and allows utilities to dig wells into the aquifer to reach the freshwater and bring it up for consumers. Some risks that face the aquifer are contamination, over-pumping and salt water intrusion.
Why should we care?
Because the aquifer is located close to the surface and is recharged by rainfall it can become contaminated from above. Things like pesticides on lawns, gas/oil, and waste risk seeping into the aquifer contaminating the water. The aquifer is not a closed system and freely interacts with salt water. As we over-pump the aquifer, remove more water than we should, salt water is replacing the fresh water causing salt water intrusion. Sea level rise is also a factor in salt water intrusion as more salt water is moving inland that will end up in the aquifer turning the freshwater to saltwater. This requires utilities to move further west to pump for freshwater. The Biscayne Aquifer is at risk of becoming fully saltwater, causing us to lose our water supply. The next water source is the Florida Aquifer which is located below the Biscayne Aquifer and would be much more costly to retrieve water from and is also a limited resource.
What can we do?
Protecting our water resources is a priority for Miami-Dade County and should be for its residents. The Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department has put together a comprehensive list of tips and changes you can make to help conserve water resources. Some easy solutions are to replace fixtures with more water-efficient models like low-flow shower heads, faucets and toilets. The County offers numerous rebates and sometimes even free exchange programs to help make these changes possible.
This year, we are proud to partner with The Ocean Conservancy and share the amazing work that they have done in setting out a vision for Florida’s ocean and coasts. “WE know this is a phenomenal challenge - to imagine and then realize a Florida whose beaches are (even more)vibrant, whose water are clean and accessible to all, and whose ocean is thriving and providing for millions. We are up to the challenge - and we hope that you are, too.” Janis Searles Jones, Chief Executive Officer.
Green Schools Challenge Activities:
- Community Building (Pre-K through 1st grade) - From the Sky to Your Cup
- Hands On Learning (2nd through 3rd grade) - Seagrass & Mangroves
- Lab Activity (4th through 5th grade) - Icebergs vs Icesheets
- Create Your Own (Pre-K through 5th grade) - Submit Lesson Plan click here
Schools can choose to do more than one activity but maximum amount of points a school can earn for this topic is the same. Points for participation will be based on a rubric. Download here.