There’s something going on in north Florida. Water is disappearing. Lakes and rivers are at historic lows. First-magnitude spring discharges have dropped to half their historic average flows.
Is it drought? Or is it over pumping that is allowing water to be permanently taken from groundwater sources that would otherwise support the area’s lakes, rivers, and springs?
How these questions are answered is important to the future of Florida. Are we reaching the limits of our naturally existing water supplies? If so, how are we defining that limit and where are we going to find new sources of water that are not going to cause the “harm” now occurring? This is a crucial dilemma because if we say we have tapped out all existing cheap water supplies and there are no alternatives, economic growth as we know it is going to come to a screeching halt.
Florida’s history over the last 40 years is rife with legal and political battles over water.