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Today the SJRWMD governing board met in Palatka to discuss approval of the 2015 Central Florida Water Initiative Regional Water Supply plan. This plan was generated to ensure a future water supply for industry and development in Central Florida, especially in the Orlando area, which cannot meet its water needs even under present conditions.
To attract more industry and development, more water will be needed, and part of this plan is to transfer water from the St Johns River to the Orlando area, although the CFWI downplays this.
Many spoke in favor of the plan, and they were the water users who will need this water for growth and new development; city mayors, city managers, ranchers and industry representatives. Environmentalists, including OSFR, pointed out the lack of conservation practices, some criticized the transparency of the process, and others said new development should be limited by what the area can sustain. Which of course, is nothing, since the current water withdrawals are depleting the aquifer faster than it is replenished.
After much discussion the plan was approved with one member absent, one vote against, and the rest in favor. George Robbins cast the nay vote, not because of concerns for the water removal, but because of what he determined to be inaccurate numbers in the plan.