The Suwannee River Water Management District has an unenviable task — they are the stewards of one of the last great water supply systems in the world. Florida Water Management District Governing Boards are required to conduct regional water supply planning for areas where existing water sources are insufficient to meet projected 20-year demands. Those areas are also to be designated as Water Resource Caution Areas, which SRWMD did — they divided the region in two, citing the eastern portion as a WRCA a few years ago, and adding the western region last fall.
But the wording didn’t sit well with the agricultural interests in the area, complaining that it sounded too severe, as if the water resources were imperiled (which they are). Rather than using this as a takeoff point to educate their water consumers, two of the more conservative members convinced the Board to simply change the language, calling it a Water Supply Planning Area instead. Problem solved. And if this sounds reminiscent of our past Governor solving global warming by disallowing the use of the term in Tallahassee, well, remember these are all appointees of Rick Scott.
The SRWMD is comprised of an extremely well-functioning and well-oriented staff of scientists and administrators, and a board that is usually more public-oriented and fair than other such districts around the state. However, they disappointingly missed the boat this time — words matter, and their job is to keep the public aware of, rather than sugar coating, the water issues.
Our Santa Fe River, Inc.