At the Bob Graham Center at the University of Florida this evening, the consequences of aquifer pumping were discussed by a group of individuals all connected in some way to water uses. These were Preston Haskell, of the Haskell Company of Jacksonville, Dr. Sanford Berg, PURC (Public Utilities Resource Center) of Water Studies, Dr. Bob Palmer, Florida Springs Institute, and Darrell Smith, Office of Agricultural Water Policy.
The participants discussed the economics of water production, recent attempts to remedy the situation, and potential policy solutions for ensuring sufficient water supplies for the future.
Several of the panelists touched on the values of water, the trading of water rights, the politics and money that influences everything, the two problems of water in Florida of quantity and quality.
Preston Haskell carried the spirit of the audience when he put forth the idea that the only solution to aquifer over-pumping is to charge for the amount of water used. Many agreed with him, including panelist Bob Palmer, Dr. Bob Ulanowicz, audience member, and many others.
During the question and answer period, Dr. Bob Knight posed some pointed questions about the possibility of agriculture paying for water use, but panelist Smith thought that would not be feasible.
Nearly as popular as those of Mr. Haskell, were the comments by Gary Appelson of Sea Turtle Conservancy, who said that it is time for agriculture and the water management districts to step up and make some changes to the established water uses of Florida, which have resulted in a continual depletion and degradation of our water resources.
Several OSFR Advisors and members were present at this forum.