Hilton Head PSD recognizes Drinking Water Week

The celebration is from May 5-11

Benjamin Franklin once said, “Nobody cares about water, until the well runs dry.”

How much do we care about water today? It is our most precious natural resource, essential to so many of our everyday tasks — from a shower and cup of coffee in the morning to a pot of pasta and clean dishes at the end of the day.

How many of us take time to consider what it takes to treat and deliver drinking water every day or to clean and recycle wastewater? Hilton Head PSD tap water costs a fraction of a penny by the gallon — delivered 365/24/7 on demand. It can be easy to take for granted. Yet the quality of life as we know it would not be possible without water and the infrastructure that provides it.

This May — from the 5th-11th — celebrate Drinking Water Week with Hilton Head PSD. This special week was started more than 40 years ago by the American Water Works Association and its members to shine a spotlight on water professionals and the vital role water plays in our daily lives.

Hilton Head PSD serves more than 19,000 customers in the north- and mid-island areas of Hilton Head Island, from Windmill Harbour to the Hilton Head Resort. Our dedicated employees are part of a continuously advancing organization working on dynamic and complex systems that protect public health and our environment, through the stewardship of water.

Let’s celebrate water achievements

During Drinking Water Week, all of us at the PSD are taking a moment to recognize programs and achievements that affect our community:

The PSD recycles more than 1 billion gallons of wastewater into beneficial recycled water. The recycled water provides irrigation for 11 golf courses — which conserves drinking water and boosts the local economy. This recycled water also nourishes the wetlands in Palmetto Hall and Hilton Head Plantation, preserving the unique habitats for plants and wildlife. This was one of many programs that the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program (ACSP) used to certify the PSD in environmental planning.
This year, we have introduced some cutting-edge technologies that aid in water efficiency by tracking water consumption and water distribution leaks. In particular, we completed Hilton Head’s first-ever satellite-based leak detection, using satellite technology to inspect our entire water distribution for leaks at one time. Additionally, our customers have access to a water usage portal that sends automated alerts for possible leaks.

Do you know where your water comes from?

We’re also taking time this week to remind the public about where their water comes from. The PSD has multiple sources of water:

  • The Reverse Osmosis (RO) Water Treatment Facility provides more than 40 percent of our water supply, at a rate of 4 million gallons a day. Reverse osmosis is a pressure-driven membrane separation process that removes ions, salts, and other dissolved solids and nonvolatile organic compounds. The process produces fresh water and yields a concentrate of the rejected solids.
  • The PSD purchases water from the Beaufort-Jasper Water & Sewer Authority (BJWSA). BJWSA operates state-of-the-art water treatment plants in Chelsea and Purrysburg on the mainland.
  • The PSD’s Aquifer Storage & Recovery (ASR) facility provides 2 million gallons a day in the high-demand spring and summer months. The facility both stores and withdraws water. During the winter months of low water demand, the PSD takes advantage of a reduced wholesale water rate from BJWSA and stores wholesale water in the Middle Floridan Aquifer using the ASR facility. Then, in the summer months when water demand and the wholesale water rate increase, the ASR well is used to withdraw and re-treat the water.
  • The Upper Floridan (FLORA-DAN) Aquifer is a limestone, freshwater aquifer located 50 to 150 feet underground. It is one of the largest aquifers in the world, and stretches from the Beaufort area southward through the Florida Everglades. Groundwater from this aquifer requires little treatment. The PSD has several wells that continue to provide fresh water from this aquifer.

We need your help!

The PSD needs help promoting stewardship of our water resources and environment. About half of the demand for drinking water on Hilton Head is used for residential irrigation. Our treated drinking water comes at great overall expense, requiring multi-million-dollar capital projects and annual budgets to both develop supplies and treat and distribute our water. Yet, we all have seen this precious natural resource being used to irrigate asphalt and concrete, or to over-water turf and plants that don’t need it.

We urge all of our customers to follow Hilton Head’s law that limits irrigation to two-days a week only, and requires a working rain sensor on all irrigation systems. Additionally, take advantage of community resources from Clemson Extension programs to educate yourself on sustainable, native landscaping that sets the stage for a more sustainable future for the next generations.

Take a moment this week to educate yourself and the little ones in the community on where our water comes from and how important this natural resource is to our world. Download this coloring sheet from American Water Works Association. We would love to see your children’s artwork. If you feel so inclined, take a photo and post to our Facebook or Instagram account.

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