David Still: We're saving water


Published: Tuesday, January 24, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 22, 2012 at 7:49 p.m.

Your Jan. 19 editorial, “Saving Water,” suggests the Suwannee River Water Management District “should be leading Florida's water conservation efforts” and should ensure that “agriculture and all water users employ best practices and the latest innovation techniques to use as little water as possible.”

Those who live outside of our boundaries may be unaware of our many efforts to do just that. To highlight a few:

Since 1998 the district has led the effort to promote efficient agricultural water use in our region. We formed the Suwannee River Partnership (SRP), a model coalition through which government and the agriculture industry work together to improve water quality and reduce water use.

The district has provided more than $1.5 million to 252 farmers and producers for irrigation system retrofits, other water-efficient equipment and techniques, and evaluations. The estimated savings in water annually: 1 billion gallons.

The district has provided nearly $7.25 million for reuse projects to the communities of Lake City, Live Oak, Monticello, Alachua and Cedar Key, resulting in a potential savings of approximately 6.7 million gallons of fresh water per day.

The district has worked with The Ichetucknee Partnership to introduce a Water CHAMP? pilot program in Columbia County, with hotels and motels close to I-75 participating in the towels and linens water conservation/reuse program. We hope to expand the program to other counties.

To help raise public awareness of water supply issues, the district again this year is asking county commissions and local municipal governments to follow the lead of our governing board by adopting a resolution officially proclaiming and celebrating April as Water Conservation Month.

The district has established itself as the water-conservation leader for North Central Florida. We hope the public will continue to support our efforts as we continue to wrestle with unprecedented water supply challenges.

David Still is executive director of the Suwannee River Water Management District.

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