Water, water everywhere, but is there enough?

Water, water everywhere, but is there enough?

Blueberries need a lot of water. Water leaches quickly through pine mulch beds during Florida’s hot summer days, and Florida’s winter requires overhead sprinklers to protect new buds and blooms from getting freeze damage. Drip irrigation helps reduce water usage, but freeze protection requires overhead irrigation that may apply a lot of water within a short period of time during a winter night. As much as arable land and sunshine, agriculture needs water to survive as an industry. Legislation enacted during the 2013 Legislative Session recognizes Florida agriculture’s need for water and attempts to assure that Florida’s farmers have a seat at the table where decisions involving the allocation of Florida’s water resources are ultimately determined. [emember_protected custom_msg=”Click here and register now to read the rest of the article!”]

Senator Grimsley sponsored Senate Bill 948, which strengthens the role of agriculture in the water supply decision-making process. First, the legislation recognizes that the cooperative efforts regarding the water supply policy must include Florida’s farmers through the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. In the water supply decision-making process of the water management districts, the Department of Agriculture must be involved along with other stakeholders. The legislation affirmatively requires that the Department of Agriculture establish an “agricultural water supply planning program” that includes projections of future agricultural water supply demands over the next 20 or so years. This information will be provided to each water management district in Florida and must be given great weight for purposes of regional water supply planning.

Legislatively, Florida’s farmers have a voice. It is incumbent on everyone involved in the Florida agriculture to make sure his or her voice is heard.

CREDITS

column by DOUGLAS A. LOCKWOOD III

BIO: A Winter Haven native, Doug received his B.S. degree in 1975 from Duke University and his law degree in 1979 from Stetson University. Doug currently practices in Peterson & Myers, P.A.’s Winter Haven office. [/emember_protected]