Thursday, July 5, 2018, was the final public input meeting for the twenty-year plan before acceptance by the Governing Board at the July water management meeting. This is an exercise required by Florida law.
At the last board meeting there was considerable discussion about the issue of extending the Water Resource Caution Areas. This continued at last night’s meeting, but with much less dissension, since the reasons presented by district staff Tom Mirti were convincing and reasonable.
Not convincing to some, however, was the small number of deficit gallons per day predicted for 2035. Naturally, a smaller deficit number indicates a less serious water problem and gives an inaccurate assessment of the situation.
Disconcerting also were the reports by Mr. Mirti that showed a consistent downward trend in the flow of the springs in the Suwannee River valley. This was cause for concern among some who attended.
The water management district has the following statement:
The District utilizes planning, permitting and projects to ensure an adequate water supply for future demands while ensuring the safety of our water resources. In partnership with many local governments, agricultural producers, and other stakeholders, the District has begun implementing projects to help ensure an adequate water supply and to protect our natural systems.
To date the projects and plans to ensure adequate water and protection of our natural systems seem to consist mostly of increasing use of waste water and small conservation tactics. These are commendable, but there seems to be no incentive to reduce groundwater pumping nor the number of pumping permits, without which the goal of attaining an adequate water supply while preserving our natural systems seems in doubt.
We were very happy to hear a representative from agriculture express his concern that conserving our water resources was of paramount importance, since without adequate water we would have no farms.
Both agricultural and environmental groups were represented at the meeting, with three board members of OSFR present, as well as members from Sierra Club and Audubon Society.
Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
-A river is like a life: once taken, it cannot be brought back-