Water, Water Everywhere!

American Bittern in Flight

Water, Water, Everywhere (and not a drop to drink!)

Ever heard this expression? It’s truer than one might think.  Around the world less than 1% of the Earth’s water supply is suitable for drinking.  Salt water is not consumable in it’s raw state, brackish water (a mix of salt and fresh) is also not useful, and fresh water is so rare that honest-to goodness water wars are being fought over it in places that are as high tech as it comes.  The whole Colorado river in the Western United States was diverted from it’s natural path to feed the need in California.  Now, here in Florida, we face a threat that no one seems to have really analyzed properly.  Our water supply, in a state that is covered by water, is dwindling with an ever expanding population.  That means that the amount of water we can take out without causing a more rapid disappearance and non replenishment is dwindling.  Yet, we keep building, and not innovating.

Here in my home county of Brevard, where the borders are defined by both the St. John’s River and the Atlantic Ocean, a new housing project that will add 30,000 -60,000 more people to the area was just approved to be built in the next ten years; even though myriads of homes and business dwellings have been empty for years.  I have to ask, is this really beneficial to our future?  In the end, without more innovations like desalinization, or filtration that removes salts, there won’t be enough water in less than 20 years for our current population with zero growth, and definitely not for this new one.



December 18, 2009

Water will last to 2030

Usage rate must remain the same


South Brevard, Indian River County and southeast Osceola County have enough groundwater to keep drawing at projected rates until 2030 without harming wetlands, as long as current conservation efforts persist, regional water planners said.

Early results from new groundwater modeling suggest the so-called Southern Water Supply Planning Area’s water outlook is better than originally feared.

But results could change as the model is developed, warned staff of the St. Johns River Water Management District.

Last year, the district identified the extreme southern portion of Brevard, all of Indian River County and southeast Osceola as areas that might fail to meet future water demand without unacceptable impacts to wetlands. That put more pressure to tap sources other than groundwater, such as the St. Johns River.

The portion of Brevard in the Southern Water Supply Planning Area extends from Palm Bay south.

The improved outlook exists in part because of lowered growth projections, officials said.

But the better outlook won’t make it any easier to get consumptive water use permits, district officials said.

“They’d still have to meet the criteria,” said Ed Garland, a district spokesman. “It doesn’t make it any easier. It does give them more breathing room for developing alternative supplies.”

Last week’s meeting in Vero Beach was one of several the district has held throughout its 18-county region as part of it long-term water supply planning.

The district updates its water supply plan every five years to make sure there’s enough supply to last 20 years without causing wetlands, lakes and rivers to recede below acceptable levels.

Contact Waymer at 242-3663 or jwaymer@floridatoday.com.

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