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Water-Related News

Consortium says no to moratorium on additional aquifer pumping

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By Kevin Spear

A consortium tasked with guiding Central Florida to a new era of water decided Friday to double down on scrutinizing the doling out of the last available water in the Floridan Aquifer.

But the group ruled out a moratorium on issuing permits that would allow utilities and other users access to what's left in the aquifer, which is being tapped by Central Florida at an average rate of 850 gallons a day.

The Central Florida Water Initiative, comprised of utilities, state regulators and, in a recent addition, environmentalists, estimates the region could need as much as 1.1 billion gallons of water daily in 20 years.

With only about 50 million gallons a day left in the Floridan Aquifer, the initiative is setting the stage for greater reliance on conservation, recycled wastewater and other sources, such as the St. Johns River.

Getting the wheels turning for those measures will take years in many cases, and members worry utilities and other users will compete, if not fight for, the 50 million gallons.