The water bills being developed by the Florida House and Senate have both good ideas and not-so-good ideas. (Considerably more bad stuff in the House version.) Only the Senate went to the trouble of holding more than a few public meetings to develop a full proposal. Do the bills omit anything worthwhile? Did they pay any attention to the recommendations in some recent well-respected water policy efforts?
Go bold on decentralization?
- Perhaps the best long-term solution to our water problems will be to abandon centralized water systems altogether. (David L. Sedlak, “Water 4.0,” 2014).
- In order to ensure an abundant supply of clean water, we will capture 90% of storm water currently lost and reintroduce it to the natural system throughout the state.
- Ensure the quality and quantity of Florida’s water supply to meet the state’s needs for the next 100 years by identifying measurable goals and objectives that will provide accountability (evaluated at a minimum of every 10 years) and result in national and global changes.
- Develop a series of regional consensus building boards- a la MPOs with local elective officials to develop and implant funding infrastructure solutions that addresses quality with a focus in reducing portable water consumption.
- Reduce portable water consumption by 50% by 2030 while increasing water supply by 25% through natural resources and alternative water opportunities saving Florida’s water supply for generations to come. (Sayfie Review Summit, September 2013)
Adapt for Florida some national water policy ideas?
- Support an improved understanding of water supply, use, and flows.
- Use innovative economic strategies as a tool to encourage sustainable water practices.
- Integrate the risks of climate change into all water facility planning, design, and operation. (Peter Gleick et al, “A Twenty-First Century US Water Policy,” 2012)
Adopt strict new water conservation requirements?
- Amend, as necessary, any statute, rule or policy so that quantifiable water conservation best management practices are considered an “alternative water supply” and are equally as eligible for funding as capital facility expansion proposals.
- Achieve dramatic improvements in landscape irrigation efficiency by requiring use of the recommendations found in the report, Landscape Irrigation and Florida-Friendly Design Standards.
- Set a per capita target or goal for water use and quantifiable best management water practices and provide a stable funding base for the Conserve Florida program directed by Sect. 373.227, F.S., including the statewide water conservation clearinghouse for public water supply. (Florida Water Congress, 2008)
The best kind of water policy reform efforts pay attention to the widest possible range of previous water ideas.