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Jax mayor opposes CFWI plan to withdraw water from St. Johns

JACKSONVILLE – In a letter to officials of the Central Florida Water Initiative, a consortium of five central Florida counties looking to siphon up to 155 millions of gallons of water daily from the St. Johns River, Mayor Lenny Curry asked that water withdrawals from the upper and middle basins of the St. Johns River be put on hold.

“We’re asking those involved to look for a better solution in meeting that region's water supply needs,” Curry said Monday upon the letter’s release. “Transfers of water outside the St. Johns River watershed should be a last resort."

Curry's letter cited a resolution passed last year by City Council.

“The official position of the consolidated city of Jacksonville, as stated in City Council Resolution 2014-37- is that we are opposed to surface water withdrawals from the upper and middle basins of the St. Johns River at this time and under these circumstances," Curry wrote.

Curry also took issue with the projections for future water demand in central Florida, noting that total demand has remained almost unchanged during the 17-years between 1995 and 2012 despite an increase in the area’s population of nearly 50 percent. Curry believes that the projected need for an additional 300 million gallons of water daily by 2035 may be overstated. As one of his recommendations, Curry asked the study team to revisit its calculations for future water demand in the five-county area.