Almost all the attendees were SRWMD staff; no board members. The only public comment was by me, at the NFRWSP Constraint Meeting, at SRWMD HQ yesterday.
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The presentations were informative, although they omitted a major subject, which I addressed: limits on water withdrawal permits. Will the SRWMD and SJRWMD boards address it this time, or shrug it off like six years ago, after many people suggested it?
SRWMD seemed to be recording video of this meeting, and presumably they will release the slides sometime. Meanwhile, pictures of most of the slides are on the WWALS website. Here is a a WWALS video playlist:
Videos: North Florida Regional Water Supply Plan meeting @ SRWMD 2022-11-15
At SRWMD HQ, Live Oak, Florida
Videos by WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc.
And here are links to each WWALS video of each segment.
Apologies for the quality; they were taken with my phone. Turns out that after charging the video camera batteries, it would be good to be sure the camera itself is in the bag.
SRWMD presentation –Emily Ducker
SJRWMD presentation –Lori Burklew
Activities –Emily Ducker
Q&A –Amy Brown
Need water budget limiting withdrawal permits –Suwannee Riverkeeper
I said that I as Suwannee Riverkeeper and WWALS do what we can to keep the waters clean, drinkable, fishable, and boatable.
I thanked the presenters for all the hard work they had put into the details, such as in the North Florida-Southeast Georgia (NFSEG) regional groundwater flow model.
I have some issues with another level. I noticed repeated assertions that demand or projected demand are just taken as givens. So basically anybody who wants to build a golf course, or start another titanium mine, or plant almond trees that need lots of water, that’s just a given, that’s demand.
It seems strange.
You’ve gone to a great deal of trouble to compile a water budget in the sense of here’s evapotranspiration, here’s aquifer recharge, and so forth.
But all we see for a plan to deal with that is changing MFLs. Which seems to translate to is lowering the limits for the water levels. I didn’t see anything about planning to limit or review use permits for water withdrawal.
I know I heard something about, well, that’s the regulatory arm. But this plan includes aquifer recharge projects, such as I believe there’s a 48-inch pipe planned to go from the Suwannee River to recharge the Ichetucknee headsprings.
That’s a policy. That’s a policy project. Limiting permits is also a policy project. That should be in this plan, but it doesn’t seem to be.
I hope that there may be some change in course possible at this point. Because I really wouldn’t want all your hard work to just go towards further reducing MFLs and decreasing water levels for the springs and rivers.
And I’d just like to conclude by saying you’re all invited to come paddle with us on the Suwannee River up in the Okefenokee Swamp this weekend. And we have another one on December 2nd. So, y’all come. Thank you.
Wrap up –Amy Brown
-jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®