This month’s column covers water.
What kind of water you ask? Ocean, rain, ground or reclaimed? No, we are talking about Amendment 1 water.
A remarkable 75 percent of Neapolitans and Floridians agreed preserving sensitive land and water was essential and should be paid for with the revenues derived from the doc stamps revenues when they voted for Amendment 1.
From Amendment 1 we would be looking at around $758 million annually. Purchasing 46,000 acres just south of Lake Okeechobee, this would be used largely as a reservoir for discharge from Lake O.
The water would be stored there and slowly released into the Everglades whereby it would again, slowly be cleaned up as it begins to be absorbed by the infrastructure of the Everglades, therefore restoring the Everglades by replenishing the greatly needed water that it requires.
Why should we care?
We should care because without the purchase of this 46,000 acres, the Army Corps has no choice but to release into the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie rivers, sending billions of gallons of nutrient rich water into these rivers and causing environmental consequences of untold proportions.
Instead of this correct and natural fix for this problem our legislators are thinking of turning this into plain old political pork. Instead of helping the environment naturally they are thinking of bringing home the bacon to their districts. Such as $96.8 million for a Yankee Lake Surface Water Plant in Seminole County, $65 million for reclaimed water systems in Broward County and $50 million for wastewater treatment in the Keys.
To determine appropriate requests, legislators should read Amendment 1’s ballot summary that made it clear the measure was intended to “acquire, restore, improve and manage conservation lands” including protecting water resources and drinking water sources. Wetlands, forests, wildlife habitat and the Everglades are mentioned. Water plants are not. Water is so valuable to us we cannot afford to waste it or pollute it. We cannot build another Everglades only nature can do so. We can help nature and we should.