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Floridan Aquifer, Ballot Amendment 1


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Floridan aquifer system, water.usgs.gov


On Oct. 2, the New York Times reported on California’s water crisis. In some places in the state near the Sequoia National Forest, residents’ wells have dried up. Their taps have run dry, rivers and lakes are drying up and there is no water left to shower on once-lush landscaping.

“You don’t think about water as a privilege until you don’t have it anymore,” one of the story’s subjects told the Times reporter. They are relying on bottled water and buckets to do simple things like bathe, cook and even flush toilets.

While Florida’s climate and situation is wildly different than that of California, which is facing one of the worst droughts in memory, a disturbing parallel can be drawn here.

As our state – Central Florida, in particular – struggles with a demand for water that outpaces supply, we too could find that clean water is a scarce commodity. We pump water out of the Floridan Aquifer beneath our feet, faster than it can recharge itself, allow runoff to contaminate our lakes and streams and simply fail to conserve. Our taps may never go completely dry, but they could run with undrinkable saltwater, or even treated wastewater.

“We are poised on the brink of calamity,” says the League of Women Voters’ Chuck O’Neill. “We must protect our springs, water ways and drinking water.”

There’s an amendment on the 2014 ballot – amendment 1 – that would set aside money to do just that. But as is usual in politics, it’s being overshadowed by the ugly campaigning for big-ticket offices. In the current issue of Orlando Weekly, we review that amendment and tell you what it means – it may seem like a dry topic, but it’s one Florida voters can’t afford to let slip by, or we may end up with water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink.

 


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