Adam Putnam: Florida Needs a Statewide Water Plan
Around the State
Appearing before the Senate Agriculture Committee, Putnam listed the maintenance of water resources, along with expanding the "Fresh From Florida" promotion of Sunshine State produce both in schools and abroad, and the eradication of invasive species and diseases, among his legislative priorities for the 2013 session.
“There is not a corner of the state that’s not in some type of water scarcity conflict,” Putnam said.
“We’ve got to work our way and manage through those things, with a particular sensitivity to agriculture because it is such a foundation for our economy.”
He pointed to ecological and economic collapse facing Apalachicola Bay, to regional fights over spring sheds from Jacksonville to Central Florida, to the pressure of population growth on water supplies in the Southeast.
“For the past decade-and-a-half the Everglades have received the bulk of attention when it comes to water policy. I think that we need to have a statewide strategy for water, and that includes protecting our springs and the aquifer that feeds those springs, as well as our surface water issues,” Putnam said after the committee meeting.
The message isn’t anything new from Putnam, who has been sounding the alarm since taking office that Florida must increase its alternative water supplies and desalination plants and offer incentives to developers to help conserve water supplies.
With Florida expected soon to surpass New York as the third most populated state in the nation, the projections have been that the Sunshine State will need to increase its water production by 2 billion gallons a day by 2025, a task the state’s five water management districts have started planning for.
Also to help the citrus industry, Putnam told the committee he is backing a $9 million request for citrus greening research, to match the $60 million already invested to fight the disease by the state’s $9 billion a year citrus industry.
Reach Jim Turner at email@example.com or at (772) 215-9889.