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Florida North-Central-South Water Dispute

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Plan for a Florida water czar resurfaces

A controversial proposal to route water from one part of the state to another, scuttled after a huge uproar five years ago, may be revived as part of an Orlando gathering this week to plot the future of Florida's water supply. At the meetings of the Florida Water Congress on Thursday and Friday, the agenda calls for discussing topics, including conservation, desalination and whether the state needs a water czar with the power to order drinking supplies piped from the regions that have it to the regions where developers need it. In 2003, the state's most powerful business group, the Council of 100, came up with a plan that called for then-Gov. Jeb Bush to appoint a seven-member water commission with the power to transfer water from rural areas north of Interstate 4 to fast-growing areas south of that Central Florida dividing line. However, when the plan was exposed by the St. Petersburg Times, it created a statewide furor. A public hearing in North Florida drew 1,000 people, where one speaker shouted, "Not one damn drop!" Although Bush then scuttled the proposal, the idea of a statewide water czar never went away. St. Petersburg Times_ 9/23/08

North, central Florida fight over water

North and central Florida aren't feeling very neighborly at the moment as they battle over water from the St. Johns and Ocklawaha rivers to meet central Florida's exploding population demands. Central Florida plans to take millions of gallons of water a day out of the rivers, angering north Florida residents and officials who say that could cause grave environmental damage, particularly to the north-flowing St. Johns. The St. Johns River Water Management District, which developed the proposal, said it will consider a new two-year, $1.8 million plan to study its possible effects. The district developed the proposal after determining that areas of central Florida could reach their groundwater limits within five years, and that by 2025 it will need 200 million gallons of water a day from alternative sources. Partly because of the fast growth of central Florida, half a billion gallons of water are being pumped out of the deep underground Floridan aquifer each day. AP/Charlotte Observer_ 1/14/08

December, 2003

Feature: Florida's north vs. south water wars illustrate the political heat that comes with protecting local water supplies.  Gainesville Sun 12/4/03

October, 2003

South Florida doesn't want or need "the north's" water, residents and environmentalists tell a panel of state senators.  Sun-Sentinel 10/15/03

Water plan splits Florida in two. Proposal by advisors to the governor to let booming south take water from the north creates a firestorm.  Miami Herald 10/14/03

Florida county urges surrounding communities: Stop Orlando. Small towns fear large urban areas will usurp groundwater. Sun-Sentinel 10/14/03

Florida's water plan. "As close to North vs. South as you're going to get since the Civil War," says political leader. How would it work?  Gainesville Sun 10/11/03

Florida lawmaker and his committee members on the road. Searching the state for an "intelligent" water policy.  Tallahassee Democrat 10/9/03

Use your own water resources first, smaller Florida jurisdictions urge big neighbors. Legislature may be asked to increase protections for smaller governments.  Palataka Daily News 10/9/03

More Florida cities joining opposition to Orlando Utilities Commission. City-owned utility plans to pump billions of gallons of water from aquifer.  Sun-Sentinel 10/8/03

September, 2003

Florida governor's advisory group recommends statewide perspective in solving water needs. North Florida and environmental groups worry.  AP/Herald Tribune

Private advisor to governor says there is no plan for south Florida to use water from the north.  Lake City Reporter

Florida governor's advisory group recommends statewide perspective in solving water needs. North Florida and environmental groups worry.  AP/Herald Tribune

Private advisor to governor says there is no plan for south Florida to use water from the north.  Lake City Reporter

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