Florida is not coming close to meeting its current water needs, let alone the projected increase in coming years. Florida’s failure to manage its water is slowly killing our springs and our rivers are not far behind. Falling aquifer levels are also allowing salt water to appear in areas where it is not welcome.
Most legislators and administrative law judges look to the day and have no foresight, and so are useless as a solution to the problem.
Charging for water use is inevitable and may come too late to save some resources.
Equally grave is the action-in-ignorance policy of the DEP, water districts and some municipalities regarding deep well injections. Little is known of future consequences which may be disastrous. We are just now learning that dying coral reefs may have the cause in excess nitrogen which is human generated. South Florida is p0lluting the ocean by injections.
Read the original article in the Herald Tribune here at this link.
Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
-A river is like a life: once taken, it cannot be brought back-
Florida’s expanding population applies pressure on water supplies
State, water management districts and local utilities promote conservation, reclaimed water and new sources
Given its birth and death rates and constant influx of newcomers, Florida’s population is increasing by more than 900 people daily.
That expanding population requires water — water to drink, cook, bathe, grow food, even operate power plants.
The Florida Office of Economic & Demographic Research says the statewide daily demand for water, 6.4 billion gallons as of 2015, is projected to increase by 17% in the next 20 years to more than 7.5 billion gallons as the population climbs to 25.2 million. That demand could be higher and the availability of that water lessened if climate change increases the frequency of droughts.
Not one of Florida’s five water management districts, which oversee permits for water supplies, “can meet its future demand solely with existing source capacity,” the agency stated in a recent report.
For the environmental group ManaSota-88, a key concern regarding future drinking water supplies involves “carrying capacity.”
“Carrying capacity refers to the number of individuals who can be supported without degrading the natural, cultural and social environment,” Glenn Compton, chairman of the organization, explained. “One of the earliest signs of an area exceeding its carrying capacity is the increasing difficulty an area has in providing good quality, reasonably priced drinking water to its residents.”
With 27,561 miles of streams and rivers, more than 7,700 lakes larger than 10 acres, 11.3 million acres of freshwater and tidal wetlands, more than 1,000 springs and hundreds of miles of frontage on the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico, the Sunshine State — 40 percent of which is covered by water — appears to have infinite sources of H2O.
Yet tapping new sources can be problematic and increasingly expensive. To meet the statewide demand through 2035, the EDR office estimates the costs could be between $1.6 billion and $2.2 billion.
In addition, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates it could cost $21.9 billion for capital improvements for Florida’s existing utility systems to continue to provide safe drinking water through 2034.