This clean water flowing through the Everglades is not only beautiful, it also holds the key to our survival as Floridians. Florida is facing a potential water crisis due to “water waste”. Hundreds of billions of gallons of fresh water from Lake Okeechobee are being “wasted to tide” every year through drainage canals that discharge excess water to the east and west. Wouldn’t it be ideal if that same water could be re-routed so six million “Miamians” would not suffer a fundamental water crisis down the road?
You’ve probably also heard about those discharges from Lake O. flowing into surrounding county waterways, creating toxic algae blooms that close beaches and businesses, discourage tourism, and threaten people’s health. Without any changes in these discharges, the algae will likely be back in 2017.
Why is this happening? State water management policies discourage altering those “water waste” discharges to protect thousands living in rural communities (south of the lake) from potential flooding and to maintain the economic viability of 425,000 acres of sugarcane farmlands.
Given the current and future water problems facing the state, the Guardians of Martin County believe 2017 is the time to begin development of a comprehensive long-term solution for all Floridians. Such a program demands that we bring together scientists, engineers and environmentalists with sugar land owners and legislators. Only by working together can our state solve these critical water problems.
Therefore, we are pleased to present a position paper that provides our in-depth analysis and a set of recommendations for the future. This paper has been developed by our Board Member, Jay O’Laughlin, PhD, a policy scientist with extensive experience in studying ways to protect the natural environment and our clean water supply.