February 19, 2014
Tallahassee, Fla. – The Associated Industries of Florida (AIF) today launched its Florida H2O Coalition, which will bring together stakeholders interested in water quantity and quality issues in Florida and seek to review and make recommendations on state and federal water laws and rules impacting Florida.
Years of below average rainfall in large parts of Florida combined with reduced infrastructure spending during the recession, have exacerbated a growing shortfall in water supply across the state, drawing the attention of Florida's businesses, environmental groups, utilities and government.
“One of the most critical issues before our state legislature is the need to start looking at and devising a comprehensive plan for Florida’s water problems,” said Tom Feeney, president and CEO of AIF. “With the creation of the Florida H2O Coalition, we will bring together stakeholders interested in sound water quantity and quality solutions and together encourage lawmakers to consider legislation that will help manage our water supply, ensure that we are looking at every alternative and provide for adequate water consumption for all of Florida.” “This coming session we will be encouraging lawmakers to support a comprehensive statewide plan to address our current problems and plan for future needs, advocating for science-based solutions and adequate funding for badly needed programs, supporting alternative water supply options, and highlighting the need to fund regional projects that are in line and ready to deliver results,” added Feeney. “Water quality and quantity have the potential to limit residential and business growth, and we need to attack this problem head on with forward-thinking solutions. AIF is proud to take on this issue in 2014.”
“Water is the biggest long-term issue facing the State of Florida, but there is no easy solution for a state with such diverse water resources,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam. “Florida's water policy must be flexible, comprehensive and long term. I am thrilled to see
Florida businesses coming together, under the leadership of AIF, to address Florida's water crisis with sound principles and a science-based approach.”
During the 2014 legislative committee weeks and session, AIF’s Florida H20 Coalition will advocate for, among other things, the following key elements to be incorporated into legislation or funding directives to address Florida’s water quality and quantity issues:
The Department of Environmental Protection projects a need for an additional 1.3 billion gallons per day by 2030; the three largest water management districts predict a shortfall of 250 million gallons per day in groundwater by 2035 in the greater Orlando area; a shortfall of 256 million gallons per day in 2035 is predicted in Northeast Florida; North Florida is developing water supply plans for the first time that will identify shortfalls in this historically water-rich region; and South Florida faces an anticipated increase of 25 percent in overall demand by 2030, without including the loss of well fields to saltwater intrusion as anticipated by local governments.