Floridians Need to Understand Work of Water Management Districts-

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SamuelProcteroralhistory In: Floridians Need to Understand Work of Water Management Districts- | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. (OSFR) | Protecting the Santa Fe River in North Florida

Following we have an article providing  awareness of the the University of Florida’s Samuel Proctor Oral History Program in which can be found a section on the water districts –  a collection of 58 interviews, giving intimate details of how water management in Florida began and the laws and concepts surrounding it.”  Among those is Jake Varn who, along with Bill Maloney, penned many of the water laws for Florida.

Unfortunately, these today are not followed by the state; the water management districts are not protecting our waters and  the water boards are composed of  water users instead of environmentalists.

The water management districts in Florida have a sad history degenerating downward from an idealistic beginning to a mere useless burden for taxpayers who only get  protection for polluters and abusers.

Read the original article here in the Gainesville Sun.

Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
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– A river is like a life: once taken,
it cannot be brought back © Jim Tatum

Floridians need to understand work of water management districts

Kasamba Kokayi  Guest columnist
June 21, 2021

Florida depends on water. Just like anywhere else, water is essential for life….

In 2003, the Suwannee River Water Management district reached out to the University of Florida’s Samuel Proctor Oral History Program with a solution: an oral history project dedicated to telling the history of Florida’s unique situation with water management and its inner workings from some of the most influential people in Florida water management. The Florida Water Management Project is a collection of 58 interviews, giving intimate details of how water management in Florida began and the laws and concepts surrounding it.

During its inception, one of the project’s goals was to educate the people of Florida and to create some sort of resource website for the project. That has long since been forgotten, but now the project is online and available to the public via the University of Florida Digital collections. Anyone in the state can now access this wonderful wealth of information.

As Floridians we all have a duty to be a part of what happens to our water. Not only does the state depend on the water economically but so does its environment and citizens. We all need to be a part of the process of what happens with our water. Otherwise, it can fall into the hands of corporate interests.

Some of the people in our government don’t want us to know the details of water management, they don’t want us to know what they are doing with our money. Even recently, Seven Springs Water Co. got a renewal on their contract to pump water out of Ginnie Springs, even though the Suwannee River Water Management District initially did not approve of it. Now Gov. Ron DeSantis has appointed two new members to the Suwannee River district board, members who represent his interests.

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Water management in Florida has been historically led by environmentalists. Those who worked on the boards for the water management districts were never paid. When people tried to abuse the power of their positions, they were swiftly removed. This was done to protect the land and the water of our beautiful state.

Kasamba Kokayi is a UF graduate and the coordinator for the Florida Water Management Project at the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program.

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