The Florida Water Forum was held, September 21 - 22 at the Royal Pacific Resort in Orlando.
Hurricane Irma was a remarkable storm on a scale that we have not seen since Hurricane Andrew. Significant impacts are being felt from Key West to Jacksonville, and while Florida and Floridians are incredibly resilient, there are opportunities to learn from our experiences with Irma and improve our resiliency for the next disaster.
This meeting will provide participants with the most current information from Florida's policy leaders in the legislature and state government on issues relating to water policy. Industry experts and policy makers will serve as guest speakers and panelists, and they will lead important discussions about the on-going, critical issues facing our state. Additionally, we will be making some adjustments to the agenda and plan to incorporate the challenges, experiences, and impacts that the recent storm has had on Florida.
With the passage of 2017 Water Resources Bill (SB 10) and the additional influx of money from Florida’s Water and Land Conservation Amendment, Florida’s leadership is devoting more time, money, and attention to water than it has done in many years. Time is of the essence. Our state is facing significant challenges with some of its largest economic regions as they struggle with water quality concerns and are forced to plan for the loss of affordable, sustainable groundwater in the not-too-distant future.
Florida inches closer to water shortages and the associated acrimonious and expensive litigation among water users, challenges to water management district permits, restrictions on new economic development, and in some areas, a continued decline in water quality and natural resources. Southeast Florida must still balance water supply with environmental needs, both heavily dependent on Lake Okeechobee, and face saltwater intrusion concerns. Southwest Florida remains wrapped in a water-use caution area and is also vulnerable to saltwater seeping into the aquifer. Central Florida is still planning for a long-term groundwater shortage, and North Florida continues to see controversy and concern stemming from its abundant, but impacted springs.
Innovative solutions and expanded infrastructure hold a great deal of promise. Does Florida embrace these possibilities, or slide further toward problems like those in California? These issues and more will be discussed during the 2017 Florida Water Forum, where you will have a unique opportunity to hear from Florida’s top experts, policymakers and elected leaders.