The playwright could have added a bit more suspense. After listening to almost two dozen public comments, many recommending tabling the North Florida Regional Water Supply Plan (NFRWSP) or a moratorium on new water withdrawal permits, the boards of the Suwannee River Water Management District and the St Johns River Water Management District each voted unanimously to approve.
SRWMD did post responses to comments from WWALS and others on the North Florida Regional Water Supply Plan (NFRWSP). A week before the planned NFRWSP adoption, same as for the agenda for the joint SRWMD-SJRWMD meeting next Tuesday in Alachua. After OSFR and WWALS posted critical blog posts, SRWMD Executive Director Noah Valenstein sent us and others an offer to meet this Friday in Live Oak to discuss. While many (including me), thanked him for his collegial offer, nobody took him up on it. See you in Alachua Tuesday (facebook event).
Update 2017-01-12: SRWMD did post responses to comments on the NFRWSP: they posted them a week in advance of planned adoption. Come on down to Alachua Tuesday!
Next week in Alachua without further public meetings or response to those who wrote in, SRWMD and SJRWMD plan to approve the North Florida Regional Water Supply Plan (NFRWSP), as the only item on the agenda.
When: 11AM Tuesday 17 January 2017
Where: 15100 NW 142nd Terrace, Alachua, FL 32615
WWALS never got a response to our letter about the NFRWSP, not about less water withdrawal, nor about better modeling and data, nor about more water retention, nor specifically about ditching the Rube Goldberg Falling Creek Aquifer Recharge Project for Dennis Price P.G.’s more cost-effective solution, nor with any mention of participation from farther afield in Florida nor in Georgia, for that matter.
The language of the memorandum accompanying the agenda is rather Orwellian:
The NFRWSP has identified sufficient sources of water to meet the needs of the environment and the projected demands through 2035.
That sounds like the environment is making projected demands. Actually, the maps in the NFRWSP are pretty clear that Jacksonville is making the most demands for water, along with other cities and corporate agriculture, and the plan would take from the environment, mostly from the Suwannee River Basin, to get that water.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jasper, Florida, November 6th 2016 — Better modeling and measurement of more water reuse and retention with fewer water withdrawals in both north Florida and south Georgia, WWALS Watershed Coalition (WWALS) recommended yesterday in comments (PDF) on the North Florida Regional Water Supply Plan (NFRWSP). WWALS also opposed the Falling Creek Aquifer Storage project and suggested a replacement, and recommended including threats to the FLoridan Aquifer and the Suwannee, Withlacoochee, and Alapaha Rivers such as pipelines and fracking.
WWALS applauded water supply projects involving reuse or stormwater, especially those in Jacksonvile and Gainesville, two of the sources of the general problem of falling water levels in the Floridan Aquifer. WWALS also applauded the plan to set minimum flow levels on the upper Suwannee River and WWALS expects to be involved with that.
WWALS recommended expanding the original study area, which stopped at the Suwannee River on the west and the Georgia-Florida state line on the north. WWALS president John S. Quarterman explained,
“Our rivers don’t stop because there’s a state line on a map, and there are three second-magnitude springs on the Withlacoochee River in Georgia south of Valdosta, one of them with a more than 4,000-foot cave system, that aren’t taken into account in this draft plan.”
Quarterman elaborated on a much larger concern: Continue reading