Gators Gamble on Water Conservation

January 17, 2014 02:35 AM

A group of lawmakers in Florida is taking a risk ahead of election season by collaborating on a major proposal that would affect how farmers and others in the state use water, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

At issue is the preservation of natural springs and other bodies of water that are being depleted. Among proponents are state Sen. Wilton Simpson, who owns a large chicken farm. Such agricultural operations would have to follow best-management practices, and water districts could not approve new permits if a water source’s flows would be negatively affected, the Sentinel says.

Simpson wants to see whether it would be practical to build storage sites for agricultural irrigation and other purposes.

In an editorial, The Tampa Tribune voiced its support for the effort. "Although building regional facilities may be cost prohibitive," the publication says, "it only makes sense to put to use the tens of millions of gallons of treated wastewater and other water that is dumped into Florida waters. Doing so could reduce groundwater pumping and greatly help farmers and ranchers." 

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