Gil Smart writes for the TC Palm – “I’d tear [my sprinkler system] out and set it on fire…[I]t might actually help Florida…South Florida residents…consume, on average, 145 gallons of water per day, which seems insane. Outdoor irrigation accounts for half of that…and half of that water is lost to evaporation or runoff. Couple this with the fact that Florida’s population is expected to balloon by another 15 million people by 2070, and it begs the question- can we actually accommodate them? Do we actually have that much water? The answer, according to a new report is “no” – not if our current development patterns persist…Florida…continues to pave paradise and put up parking lots, new subdivisions and strip malls. And unless we rein it in- that is, embrace more-compact patterns of development and cut existing water use- there might not be enough agua to go around…[T]he report makes two major recommendations: increase supply (perhaps via water reclamation…) and reduce demand through water conservation and increased efficiency…Statewide…single-family homes with an automated sprinkler system consume an average of 358 gallons of water per day…Those without an automated system…use an average of 190 gallons per day. So use cisterns or rain barrels, group plants according to water needs, and don’t water if it’s rained in the last 24 hours or is projected to rain in the next 24 hours. Couple that with public policies designed to minimize water usage and maybe, just maybe, there’ll be enough to go around.” Read 15 million thirsty new Floridians are coming
Andy Reid reports for the Sun Sentinel – “If growing Florida keeps sucking up water, we risk not having enough to meet our needs in the next 50 years, a new study (by 1000 Friends of Florida, UF, and DACS) says. Residents and businesses would have to pay more to turn salt water into drinking water. More farms could disappear. And wetlands like the everglades, already suffering from decades of draining, would be strained even further… ‘We don’t have the water,’ said Frank Jackalone, of the Sierra Club. ‘We will endanger our aquifer by putting more homes on the open spaces we have left.’…Charging more for heavy water users is suggested as one way to boost conservation. Even following the report’s recommendations still would lead to a 50 percent increase in development-related water use, according to the projections…[T]he report recommends updating building codes to include tougher water-efficiency standards for new homes and significantly remodeled homes.” Read Florida at risk of facing water-supply strain over next 50 years, report warns
Bruce Ritchie reports for Politico Florida – “More compact development patterns and modest water conservation measures can reduce the (projected) increased water use to 30 percent, but that still represents more than the environment can provide, the researchers said…The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is pointing to…Central Florida…where water supplies are reaching their “breaking point”…The “Water 2070” report built on another study…that showed…that Florida can save 5.8 million acres of conservation land and 1.3 million acres of farm land through more compact development patterns. The report captured the attention of the news media and state leaders, and reinvigorated discussion of growth management, which has largely been dormant since Gov. Rick Scott took office in 2011. He signed bills that year scaling back state oversight of local land use decisions and dismantling the state agency in charge of planning…The Legislature earlier this year passed SB 552, which authorized water planning in Central Florida…Some environmentalists criticized the bill for not requiring more water conservation…Sen. Wilton Simpson,…in line to become Senate president in 2018, is working on legislation involving the regulation of treated wastewater, also called “reclaimed” water, that can be used for agriculture and suburban landscapes.” Read Report shows Florida’s dire water needs with population growth even with some conservation
Zach Murdock reports for the Herald Tribune – “ ‘We would argue modest (conservation) is not enough,’ said Vivian Young, a spokeswoman for 1000 Friends of Florida. ‘There needs to be aggressive water conservation if Florida is going to be able to accommodate the new population coming. There are things that can be done, but we need to start doing them now and thinking about them now.’… ‘The situation does look dire, but I take hope in the fact that it’s relatively simple things we can do as Floridians that would dig us out of this hole,’ said Ryan Smart, president of 1000 Friends of Florida. ‘When you see the amount of savings possible just from changing the way we irrigate our lawns…I think there is hope.’” Read Water 2070 projects ‘dire’ outlook for future water demand without changes
Melissa Montoya reports for the News Press – “Two Republican incumbents, Ray Rodrigues and Matt Caldwell, won re-election to their state House seats…Fracking was the big issue in the District 76 race. Messina was vocal about his opposition to fracking. Rodrigues launched a plan…which died in the Senate, [and] would have…stripped restrictions that were passed by municipalities and counties…Rodrigues far surpassed Messina in fundraising…Water quality dominated the District 79 races. Scott and Miller criticized Caldwell for receiving campaign donations from special interests. Scott wants to buy land south of Okeechobee…Caldwell said he believes a better approach to dealing with water quality is to do so at a local level. Caldwell raised $393,456.64 in campaign money. Scott received $61,073 and Miller $5,700… ‘Like always the money rules, the people don’t,’ Miller said. Rodrigues said he would spend his next two years implementing an amendment…that removes property tax barriers for businesses using solar…He said he will also work with the Lee County commission to preserve 4,000 acres of environmentally sensitive land known as Edison Farms.” Read Matt Caldwell, Ray Rodrigues win re-election to Florida House
Mary Ellen Klas reports for the Miami Herald – “Four environmental groups…asked a court to accelerate its ruling in a lawsuit accusing the Florida Legislature of violating the state Constitution and misdirecting Amendment 1 environmental funds into salaries and inappropriate operating expenses… ‘Nowhere does the Amendment contemplate spending money for restoration or improvement of private lands, or appropriations for projects on private lands that have a general environmental benefit,’ the groups wrote in the motion…Instead, the purpose of Amendment 1 is ‘to dedicate funds to ‘acquire and restore conservation and recreation lands,’ they argue. ‘Instead of appropriating money for those purposes, the Legislature appropriated Amendment One funds as if the terms ‘management’ and ‘restoration of natural system’ in the text of the Amendment encompassed the salaries and operating expenses of state agencies with a nexus to conservation or improvement of the environment,’ the motion states.” Read Environmental groups return to court over Legislature’s diverting Amendment 1 money
Katie Landeck reports for the News Herald – “Florida will receive $32 million for four projects aimed at restoring natural resources damaged by the 2010 oil spill, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation announced…NFWF was awarded a total of $2.5 billion over five years in settlements and penalties from BP…In Florida, the latest round of grants will go toward conserving oyster reefs, building a sea turtle necropsy facility, better assessing stocks of Florida’s reef fish, and restoring shorebird and seabird populations. The largest chunk of Florida’s money, $11.5 million, will be put toward reversing declining populations of five bird species: America oyster catcher, black skimmer, least tern, Wilson’s plover and snowy plover. The project will be coordinated by the…FWC and the Florida Audubon Society…The money will go toward crafting baseline population estimates, monitoring nesting habitat, predation management and reducing disturbances at key nesting beaches.” Read Florida gets $32M more in oil spill money
Rob Moher writes for the Sun Sentinel – “We have seen as a community how a water management system terribly out of balance has resulted in massive fish kills, a state of emergency for multiple counties in South Florida, and economic hardship for business dependent on healthy waters…There are no simple solutions to our water woes. We do know that by addressing the many “pieces of the puzzle” – including the need for additional lands south of Lake Okeechobee to store, treat and convey waters to the Everglades, accelerate funding of existing Everglades Restoration projects including the C-43 reservoir in Lee County, planning for an additional water quality component as part of the C-43, and creating stronger incentives and regulations to reduce pollution at its source- that we can create lasting solutions for our water, our economy and our quality of life…We are grateful to political leaders such as retiring Congressman Curt Clawson, incoming Florida Senate President Joe Negron, and Representative Heather Fitzenhagen…” Read Everglades restoration must be accelerated
From Our Readers
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Upcoming Environmental Events
September – November – Participate in The Great Suwannee River Basin Cleanup 2016. For more information and to sign up, click here.
November 17, 6:30 pm – Attend a Solar Co-op Information Session at 862 S. Orlando Ave. in Winter Park. Homeowners in Orange County and bordering counties are invited to hear how solar can work in their homes, how to pay for solar, and the benefits of solar co-op membership. For more information and/or to sign up for the co-op, click here. The deadline to join the Orange County Solar Co-op is November 30, 2016.
November 19, 11:00 am – Attend North Florida Land Trust’s Salt Marsh Brewgrass Festival at Big Talbot Island Biological Field Station in Jacksonville. There will be a great lineup of “Brewgrass” music outside on the marsh and an array of food trucks and local brews. You can also sign up for a guided kayak tour or guided hike around the island. Click here to purchase tickets.
December 1-2 – Attend the rescheduled Florida Remediation Conference in Orlando. FRC includes 2 days of technical presentations on soil and groundwater cleanup, along with more than 80 industry product and services exhibitors. For more information, click here.
December 6, 12:00 pm – Join the Florida Springs Institute for Springs Academy Tuesdays at the North Florida Springs Environmental Center, 99 NW 1st Avenue, High Springs, FL 32643. December’s lecture is on Springs Chemistry. For more information, click here.
December 14, 12:45 pm – Come learn about irrigation improvements for homeowners in The Villages. The meeting will take place in the Belvedere Library. For more information and to RSVP, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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