On September 20th, the 4th Annual Florida Water Forum was held in Orlando. This successful event provided us the opportunity to hear from Florida’s key policymakers on issues relating to water policy. The Forum has garnered overwhelming recognition by business community leaders, regional and local government officials, and members of the general public. Over 200 people participated in the discussions this year.
Distinguished speakers covered topics such as Numeric Nutrient Criteria (NNC) and Everglades legislation, agricultural water supply planning, 30-year permitting, as well as funding alternative water supply projects.
Sights from the 2013 Florida Forum
Rep. Ben Albritton
Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Director
of Environmental Assessment and Restoration
South Florida Water Management District, Interim Executive
Florida Department of Agriculture, Office of Agricultural Water Policy
Rep. Matt Caldwell
Rep. Ray Pilon
Rep. Elizabeth Porter
Commissioner, Florida Department of
Agriculture & Consumer
Ann Shortelle, PhD
Suwannee River Water Management District, Executive Director
Sen. Wilton Simpson
(R- New Port Richey)
Secretary, Florida Department of Environmental Protection
Rep. Dana Young
THE WATER CRISIS
Florida is at a water crossroads. The state’s three largest urban-economic regions, Tampa Bay, southeast Florida and the greater Orlando area, have effectively run out of available groundwater. The three largest water management districts have determined that increased pumping in these regions will result in unacceptable, environmental impacts, such as drawdowns of wetlands and lakes, reduced flows to springs and rivers, and increased risk of saltwater contamination into fresh groundwater resources.
In Tampa, the water authority has already been required to reduce groundwater pumping by 90 million gallons a day. Utilities in southeast Florida have learned that groundwater connected to the regional canal system will be limited to pumpage levels of 2006. In central Florida, communities face the fact that no additional groundwater will be available beyond 2013 demands. And this groundwater crisis is not limited to major metropolitan areas. Even tiny Flagler County has been directed to pursue desalination of ocean water for its future water supply.
The growing scarcity of water supplies has already resulted in: acrimonious and expensive litigation among local governments, challenges to water management district permits, restrictions on new economic development, and in some areas, a continued decline in natural resources. Ultimately, an unstable water future will continue to wreak havoc on Florida’s economy and environment.
For more information on
Associated Industries of Florida go to aif.com
For more information on the
Florida Section of the American Water Works Association go to fsawwa.org
Florida Water Forum ● 516 North Adams St. ● Tallahassee, FL 32301 ● (850) 224-7173