MIAMI HERALD: Florida’s water seems free for the taking — at a cost to the rest of us

Miami Herald: Written by Carl Hiaasen. May 26, 2017. 

Here’s a government agency that sucks.

Literally.

Last week, the Southwest Florida Water Management District voted to cut the flow of the famed freshwater springs that feed Crystal River and Kings Bay by up to 11 percent. Billions and billions more gallons will be diverted to benefit developers.

That’s major suckage from the springs, and plenty of people showed up at the SWFWMD meeting to speak against it. Still, board members voted 9-1 to rob the flow.

This sort of sellout has been happening at water districts throughout Florida since Gov. Rick Scott packed the boards with pro-development and pro-Big Agriculture surrogates.

It’s the same reason that the South Florida Water Management District, which oversees water policy in the southeastern part of the state, is now basically a public-relations arm of the sugar industry.

Over on the west coast, the SWFWMD (sometimes known as Swiftmud) insists its computer models show that the Crystal River and 70 springs of Kings Bay won’t be damaged by more groundwater pumping.

The agency says its findings were submitted for scientific peer review and found to be “thorough, scientifically reasonable and based on the best available data.”

Lots of folks who live there don’t believe it. They’ve seen the clear springs change in alarming ways as the flow has been choked to provide more water for development.

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