On June 25, 2014 at 06:29PM, Tom at Watery Foundation published the following article:
Suppose that, in contradiction to long-term trends and despite enormous water efficiency potential, Florida water use increases a lot but new supplies were not developed. How horrible would that be?
Would it be worse than the current California drought? Researchers at UC Davis estimate that the drought may cost the California economy $1.7 billion in losses associated with the massive agricultural industry of the Central Valley. A big number, apparently, but it is less than one-tenth of one percent of the state’s annual domestic product. (Doesn’t sound like a mega-disaster.) It is hard to imagine how any water shortage in Florida could be as costly.
What might be the adverse consequences of an epochal water supply deficit for non-agricultural activities in Florida? Many Floridians would be unable to overirrigate planted landscapes and might be unable to play golf. They even would have to install efficient plumbing devices (like those now required in Colorado). Some landscapes might even have to be replanted with species that require little or no irrigation. (Good news for the nursery industry!) Additionally, some enterprises that use huge amounts of water use but produce comparatively little economic value could see some water re-allocated to higher value activities.
Those are some of the “worst” things that might happen in an extremely severe future Florida water shortage. We already are using too much water for the health of the state’s springs, however. Done right, groundwater flow to the springs could be restored with low overall economic costs and without the disruptions I just described. It is a matter of choosing to maintain those water bodies for the indefinite future. Do Floridians want to?