Water concerns impact (some of) Palm Beach’s well-to-do

PALM BEACH, FLA. — The exclusive town of Palm Beach, Fla., is currently experiencing one of the most severe droughts in its history. Rainfall levels are 6-in. below normal. The water level at Lake Okeechobee, the area’s key source of water, is so low that it can no longer provide for the community.

Palm Beach communities have had to look for other sources of water and have instituted stringent water-conservation programs. However, for the well-to-do living in some of the town’s biggest estates, the campaign has so far had little impact.

For instance, according to the Palm Beach News, city officials told the newspaper that some owners of large estates are currently using more than one million gallons of water per month, a rate of water consumption that has changed little since the water-conservation measures were implemented.

“However, the average residential customer in Palm Beach uses 6,700-gal. of water per month,” said Klaus Reichardt, CEO and founder of Waterless Co. Inc., makers of no-flush urinal systems. “And many of these residents along with at least some estate owners have started taking serious steps to reduce water consumption.”

Further, many local businesses that have traditionally been heavy water users are also taking water conservation seriously. A good example is Palm Beach’s famous resort, the Breakers Hotel.

As with many large hotels, it traditionally has consumed huge volumes of water, but it has managed to reduce its consumption by almost one million gallons per year.

The hotel has done so by installing low-flow faucets and toilets, implementing towel and linen reuse programs in guest rooms, and retrofitting men’s restrooms with Waterless urinals.

According to Reichardt, steps taken by the Breakers Hotel prove that water conservation is possible and water use can be reduced significantly.

“What is most important is that everyone — hotels, businesses, and Palm Beach estate owners — get on board taking what are often simple measures that can conserve a great deal of water.”

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