I just returned from a two day conference on sustainable water in Gainesville and I was impressed with the near-reverence with which Sarasota County is regarded by many state water experts. This admiration stems from the fact that the average Floridian uses 170 gallons of water a day, whereas the Sarasotans supplied by the county now consume half that (86 gallons per person per day). Thus it is tempting to conclude that if everywhere was doing as well as we are, a lot of the perceived water crises and" wars" erupting around the state would be averted. In fact (can't lay my hands on it right now) columns have been written suggesting as much.
There is general agreement that it is easier (cheaper) to save water than go find, store, treat and pump new water, but state funding has been biased against this approach. The State's Water Protection and Sustainability Trust Fund dollars cannot be spent on improving efficiency, demand reduction, avoided use, or any other euphemism for conservation. That's unfortunate, because it is far more cost effective. Some speakers were optimistic this might change in the next year or so, but until then be prepared for more pipe projects that will cost citizens far more than other approaches.
This is just another example of how what is better for the environment also happens to be the most fiscally conservative.