Our thanks go to Nathan Crabbe and the Gainesville Sun for posting our guest column.
Read the complete, original article with images here at the Gainesville Sun.
Piping Water to Replenish Aquifer at Ichetucknee Springs Is Absurd Idea
Published 2:00 p.m. ET Jun. 18, 2021
The Suwannee River Water Management District, as well as other Florida water districts, have mismanaged the water so thoroughly and for so long that they have resorted to science fiction idiocy in their desperation to fix the damage they have caused. That we, as taxpayers, are funding the people who are responsible for this should be cause for outrage.
Over-pumping by giving an unlimited number of permits over the years has caused roughly a one-third reduction in river flow in the Santa Fe and other North Florida rivers, and an alarming lowering of the Floridan Aquifer. Saltwater encroachment has occurred in some areas and not just near the coast.
The district water scientists know the situation and they know why it has happened. At times they have said it is because of a lack of rainfall, even though data prove that we have a long-term constant rainfall but a declining aquifer and river flow. They have even said that their misused and contrived models show that if all the pumps were turned off, the rivers and aquifer would not rebound.
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They also know that that solution is simply to cease doing what is causing the problem. This inconvenient truth, however, might create financial difficulties for the permit holders and cause so many changes and adjustments in their business plans that the state of Florida and the district would be overwhelmed and unable to handle the push-back.
Rob Peter to pay Paul, they used to say.
Not only is this water transfer plan illogical, it goes counter to district policies. This is because the Suwannee River needs its water.
Some non-thinking people have said if we don’t use the water, it just goes down to the Gulf and is wasted. The district has spent thousands on restoring oyster reefs near the mouth of the Suwannee, which have declined due to district-caused diminished fresh water entering the Gulf from the Suwannee River.
This is the same district which spends thousands (our money again) ostensibly trying to restore the “impaired” and “Outstanding Florida Waterway” Santa Fe River, yet it grants a pumping permit to a single-use plastic water bottler for an equivalent of enough water to supply 11 towns the size of Fort White. And while doing this, the district’s Governing Board disregards nearly 20,000 letters of opposition written directly to them, expressing nearly 20,000 examples of the public interest being violated.
Do you want a definition of “egregious,” “greedy,” and “out of control?” This is it.
This is the same district whose board has members who have no idea what is causing pollution in the Suwannee River — who think the springs are healthy because they are flowing, who think they are great stewards of the environment just because they grow trees or cattle, who never question any issue beyond what their attorney suggests and who spend no time researching an important issue whose fate their vote decides.
Jim Tatum is historian and board member of Our Santa Fe River.