May 26, 2011

Water Wars in Florida

Water water everywhere-yes that is Florida but drinkable water is most easily gotten from the subterranean stream the Floridian aquifer. 

Prob is that the humans are drinking the aquifer dry so now the humans with their mindless appetite are looking to the rivers and streams for the bubbly that keeps them alive. 

Here are selections from a good little article in the Orlando Sentinel about internecine strife on water sourcing from 2 of Florida's largest metro areas.

PALATKA — North Florida during the late 2000s waged legal warfare on Central Florida for wasting a lot of water, including treated sewage, even as the Orlando area sought permission to pump large volumes from the fragile St. Johns River.

On Tuesday, the tables were turned somewhat when JEA, Jacksonville's municipal utility, was roundly criticized for seeking a huge permit for water use while agreeing to increase its recycling of sewage to a level that would be considered puny in Central Florida.

St. Johns River Water Management District board members agreed in a 7-1 vote to grant JEA its permit, but only after hours of contentious public comment and drawn-out talks by the board over whether the city utility was being held to a high-enough standard for recycling treated sewage.
"I take you to the city of Altamonte Springs … which is recycling 100 percent of its wastewater," said Charles Lee, director of advocacy for Audubon of Florida. "I take you to Seminole County, where plans are to recycle and reuse 100 percent of its wastewater. Most of the utilities in Central Florida are recycling all of their wastewater."
"The amount of reuse being committed to here [by JEA] is embarrassingly small, and we think that is wrong," Lee said.

The Jacksonville utility, which serves much of Northeast Florida, asked the water district to issue a permit that, with variables and incentives built in, would allow JEA to pump as much 155 million gallons a day from the underground Floridan Aquifer. It currently withdraws a little less than 120 million gallons a day from the aquifer through a vast network of wells.

By comparison, Orlando Utilities Commission now pumps about 90 million gallons a day from the aquifer under a permit that allows it to withdraw as much as 109 million gallons daily.
In Central Florida, the drying out of wetlands and rivers and other environmental harm caused by pumping too much water from the aquifer is a persistent but moderate concern that triggers generally modest protests from residents in affected areas.

But the water district heard dozens of angry allegations Tuesday about the effects JEA's pumping from the aquifer was having on the region's environment, contributing to falling water levels in the Santa Fe and Suwannee Rivers, springs such as the huge Silver Springs near Ocala and the fabled Ichetucknee Springs near Gainesville, and scores of lakes as far as 50 miles from downtown Jacksonville.
"Last Fourth of July, I stuck a pipe in the bottom of the lake where the water was up to my hip," said Dottie Carter, whose home fronts White Sands Lake in Clay County. "Today, the water['s edge] is this far from the pipe," Carter said, holding her hands 2 feet apart.

John Thomas, a lawyer for the city of Keystone Heights, urged board members not only to deny JEA's permit request but to take immediate action to restore lakes near his city that are drying up.
Complicating JEA's permit application is an ongoing, statewide debate over how much of the drying up of springs, rivers and lakes is caused by drought, drainage projects and other factors, rather than by utilities' pumping.

JEA's new permit consolidates 17 existing permits that allow the utility to pump as much as 155 million a day. So, technically, JEA wasn't seeking an increase.
But with pressure increasing statewide for utilities to improve conservation measures and drive down Florida's water use, it wasn't a sure thing that JEA could get a new, 20-year permit for 155 million gallons a day.

JEA consultant Mark Farrell said the limit of 155 million gallons a day will require the utility to make steady improvements in conservation, so that by 2031 residents will use an average of 88 gallons a day per person — though the water district's analysis indicates the average daily use per person by then will be 101 gallons.

By 2030, the utility will be required to recycle 44 million gallons of treated sewage daily, rather than discharge it into the St. Johns River, which has been JEA's usual, relatively cheaper disposal method.
JEA, which now recycles only about 9 million of its daily sewage flow of 73 million gallons, has a lot of catching up to do, according to water-district records.

Orange County's wastewater utility recycles all 42 million gallons of its daily sewage, while Orlando recycles 86 percent of its 49 million gallons a day. or 407-420-5062

Of course water wars are extant around the world. All you hear about in the Middle East is Palestinian again Jew but the two populations are indelibly linked by their lack of adequate drinking water. Of course Los Angeles is famous for it's stealing water from hundreds of miles away from Hollywood Blvd.

Conservastore says a more realistic population growth and more conservation will get us going in the right direction

1 comment:

  1. The water wars are not the only problem we will be facing more and more in Florida. As more municipalities begin to recycle their water pumping more treated water into park and fields everywhere another nightmare will soon surface. There is currently not any treatment process for removing Prozac or the multitude of other toxins flushed daily by hospitals and over medicated Americans. Before we increase our recycled water use, might we test and study what these extra hormones and other chemicals will do to already damaged and increasingly fragile environment? What are the Health issues this brings as well?