Amendment 1’s passage opens floodgate of questions on water
TALLAHASSEE — State lawmakers and other elected officials are calling water policy a priority for next year, but where they’ll go with it remains up in the air.
One reason is the big unknown: how a constitutional amendment voters just passed that mandates spending for land and water conservation will work.
Beyond this, any attempt at a comprehensive policy will have to address myriad concerns and some powerful interests, including pollution from cities’ stormwater runoff and farmers’ fertilizer.
What’s more, the discussion will come against a backdrop that might seem counterintuitive to champions of water conservation: New data from the U.S. Geological Survey suggests the country’s water use overall is tapering off, with numbers at their lowest levels in 40 years.
Florida still managed to use 6.2 billion gallons of fresh water from underground and surface sources such as aquifers and rivers, according to the data. That was in 2010, the most recent year for which the information is available.