State Senators descend on FAU to discuss water management issues

State senators and residents of South Florida met at FAU Tuesday to discuss the future of water management throughout the state. Leading the discussion was Senator Al Lawson, chairman of the Committee of Natural Resources. He stressed that the meeting was an open forum for the public’s voice to be heard by members of the Florida Legislature.

The goal of the meeting was to have residents discuss their needs and concerns about water management. The major objectives of the legislators were to pass a bill concurrent with the water management needs of residents, and to provide an effective growth management solution.

Both residents and politicians voiced opposition to the possibility that Florida’s water could be privatized, saying that privatization would only complicate Florida’s water management problems. In fact, several residents were concerned that those problems are simply a symptom of other problems including uncontrolled population growth, especially in South Florida.

Some of the other concerns included the future safety of drinking water from deep-water aquifers; the quality of life in South Florida being threatened by unmanaged growth; the lack of accountability by industry and the state government; and the assurance that the public’s best interest is served by managing water appropriately for given geographic regions.

“We need to clean up glitches [and] clean up problems” regarding water management, said former Senate President Phil Lewis. Lewis also stated that water management would benefit if the scientific community could put all of its information regarding water issues in a central location, accessible to state legislators.

Among the solutions discussed were small increases in the cost of water, conservation as a reasonable alternative to piping water, and consolidation of urban areas to limit human expansion into natural reservoirs.