The Florida Southern Waterdome is obviously pretty, but some residents are concerned with the amount of water it will use.

Polk County New Blog reporter Billy Townsend reported the story, as did The Ledger’s Robin Williams Adams. Tom Palmer put a human interest spin on the water use, but he had a calculation error.

If we start with Townsend’s reported numbers….

The basin is 24 inches deep and uses 260,000 gallons when full. The college estimates .25 inch evaporation a day. That would mean, if left alone the pool would empty every 96 days. (.25*24)

A year is 365.2422 days long. So the pool would be filled 3.8046 times a year. (365.2422/96).

At 260000 gallons a fill up that would be 989197.625 gallons a year. (3.8046*260,000)

If a student uses 100 gallons a day she would use 36524.22 gallons a year. That means the water dome would use about as much as 27 such students a year. (989197.625 / 36524.22)

If a student uses 150 gallons a day he would use 54786.33 gallons a year. That means the water dome would use about as much as 18 such students a year. (989197.625 / 54786.33 )

I spoke to some folks at Lakeland’s Water Department. A key fact is there is a really cumbersome formula used to determine what is the per-capita* water usage in the city. However, 70% to 75% of Lakeland Water customers use less than 7000 gallons a month.

Using that number as our “mostly” worst case, our Lakeland customer would use 84,000 gallons of water a year. (12 * 7000) That means the water dome would use a little less than 12 of those customers would use. ( 989197.625 / 84,000 = 11.7762 )

Not quite a subdivision, but certainly my street.

The university is trying to control water use by limiting the time the fountain is open. State rules limit fountains to less than 8 hours a day. The college has published a schedule of a little over 3 hours a day. **

One point I haven’t seen mentioned is, that since the college didn’t get a permit for the fountain’s higher than before water usage, they have to cut back elsewhere.

*The gist is: the college can’t use any more water than they were before the water dome.*

Water Dome photo CC by Chuck Welch

* – “per capita” — per person

** – (Hat tip to Billy Townsend.)