How to avoid a water crisis
If Polk County is at the epicenter of a drought across Central Florida, as a state legislator recently said, then that area should look to our four-county region -- Sarasota, Manatee, DeSoto and Charlotte -- for constructive lessons in long-term planning for water.
State Rep. Ben Albritton recently told The (Lakeland) Ledger that Central Florida and the entire state must soon pursue strategies for meeting long-term demands for water. Albritton -- a Republican from Wauchula whose district includes southern Polk County -- has co-sponsored legislation with Rep. Ray Pilon, R-Sarasota, to promote water-supply planning.
"I know it is hard to talk about what will be a crisis in 10 or 15 years, but if we don't start now to develop a complete water policy for the entire state, it will be too late,"Albritton told Bill Rufty of The Ledger. "What has happened with water in the state is that there hasn't been a sense of urgency. I think in the backs of their minds, people get it."
Developing a water policy for the entire state would be difficult; in fact, in light of vast differences in resources and needs across Florida, a one-size-fits-all approach could be counterproductive.
Yet the Sarasota-Manatee-DeSoto-Charlotte region could serve as a model for collaboration and diversification of water resources across the state. In particular, areas that have both surface waters (rivers, creeks and such) and groundwater (wells) should examine the strategies implemented by the four-county Peace River/Manasota Regional Water Supply Authority.