New Water Conservation Policies


The City of Key West has taken a proactive approach to climate change by updating policies that reduce how much water our community takes out of our aquifer, 120 miles away.  These upgrades will prolong the life of our aquifer by slowing saltwater intrusion and reducing your water and wastewater bills.  Just set it and forget it!

The City has two new policies that started September 1, 2023, and will remain in the educational phase until January 1, 2024:

1) Two-Day-a-Week Irrigation:  This is a statewide mandate to help conserve potable water for all of Florida.  If your address is an even number, such as 124 Smith Street, irrigation is only allowed on Thursdays and Sundays.  For odd-numbered addresses, like 125 Smith Street, irrigation is only allowed on Wednesdays and Saturdays.  Hose watering is allowed.  Systems with drip irrigation are allowed.  There are also exceptions to this rule for new landscaping.   Details on the Restrictions and Exemptions can be found under Sections 74-297 and 298 of the City Ordinances.   Note that it is already a City ordinance that irrigation can only occur between the hours of 5 PM to 9 AM (Section 74-297(a)) and have a rain sensor device or switch that will override the system when adequate rainfall has occurred (Sec 108-515(c))

2) High-Efficiency Fixtures: All new construction and renovations, both residential and commercial, need to use WaterSense or Energy Star fixtures for all faucets, showers, toilets, clothes washers, and dishwashers.  Commercial buildings also need to use WaterSense-certified urinals and Energy Star commercial dishwashers and clothes washers.  See below for specifics.

What do WaterSense and Energy Star Certified mean?  Most people have heard of Energy Star, which helps consumers find products that will save them the most money on their electricity bills.  The US EPA, which created and manages Energy Star, created Water Sense to do the same for water. All WaterSense-labeled products have been tested for efficiency and performance, so you can flush once and be done!  The WaterSense Certification means that labeled fixtures and appliances use at least 20% less water, save energy, and perform better than regular models.

Where do I find WaterSense and Energy Star Certified fixtures and appliances?  Most major home improvement stores have a search filter that you can use to hone your choices, or you can just type "WaterSense" into their search bar.  If you don't want to be limited to any home improvement store, the EPA WaterSense database will help you search all models and brands.  You can also walk into these stores and find the labels on the products on the shelf.  At least equal and sometimes more residential choices are available as WaterSense Certified and cost the same or less.

What difference will this make?  The older your house is, or the longer it's been since a remodel, the more your individual savings will be.  For example, replacing a 1980s toilet (3.5 gallons per flush) could save 9,116 gallons per year ($106 annually) instead of the 1,314 used for the replacement from the current code.  For water savings across the community, a conservative average of 192,000,000 million gallons would be saved over the next decade.

Who has to do it?  If you are not planning on replacing your fixtures or appliances, you don't have to change now. But when you have to buy a new dishwasher or want to remodel your bathroom, the policy will come into play.  Code Compliance will be in education mode between September 1 and December 31, 2023, as the community and contractors adjust to the new rules.  Starting January 1, 2024, tickets may be issued, and incorrect purchases must be exchanged.

Total Rebates: All WaterSense toilets qualify for a Rebate from FKAA.  A single flush design will get you a $100 rebate and a dual flush is worth a $150 rebate.

Commercial Only: For commercial buildings, the same WaterSense certifications apply for any lavatory, whether public, private, or metered, as well as urinals.  Energy Star certifications are needed for commercial washing machines and commercial dishwashers.   (Section 14-35 covering 604.4 FBC Plumbing and P2903.2 FBC Residential)