'The Cost Of Water Is Going To Go Up': Central Fla. Finding Alternatives To Groundwate
Central Florida planners are grappling with a challenge: There’s not enough water for the people expected to live in the area 20 years from now. That realization has prompted unprecedented collaboration between local governments, private utilities and state agencies as they search for more water.
In an October committee meeting, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam gave lawmakers an alarming-sounding statistic about water in Central Florida: “In the next 20 years they’ve got to find another 200 million gallons per day to support a high quality of life.”
As the Orlando-area population is projected to rise by more than 50 percent, there’s just not enough water in the state’s primary source: the underground Floridan aquifer. The actual projected shortage is closer to 255 million gallons per day. That’s enough drinking and bathing water for about 50 small cities.
St. Johns River Water Management District engineer Tom Bartol says, “We need to look at other options than just fresh groundwater.”
Bartol is part of a group called the Central Florida Water Initiative.