An edition of: WaterAtlas.orgPresented By: Seminole County, USF Water Institute

Water-Related News

Florida senators want federal help on their red tide problem

Algal blooms driven by chemical runoff and a warming climate killed aquatic life, slammed the state's tourism industry

As Florida grapples with so-called red tides of algal blooms along its coasts and waterways, the state’s senators are pushing the federal government to come up with a plan to help control them.

The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee will on Wednesday mark up a bill sponsored by Republican Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott aiming to find a solution to the toxic algae that cost the state’s tourism industry millions of dollars each year.

The House in September passed a companion bill that was introduced by Rep. Brian Mast, R- Fla.

“I am encouraged by its continued progress in the Senate,” Rubio said in an emailed statement.

A spokeswoman said Scott is “proud to build on” his efforts to mitigate the effects of harmful algal blooms and red tide during his time as governor, and “will continue to work with his colleagues to protect Florida’s environment for generations to come.”

As the governor of Florida before he came to the Senate, Scott received partial blame from critics for the widespread algal blooms that inundated his state’s shores last year, noting his administration cut the state’s water management budget by $700 million.

The bill would direct a federal interagency panel to “develop a plan for reducing, mitigating, and controlling” harmful algal blooms and hypoxia (dangerously low aquatic oxygen levels) in South Florida. It’s similar to one Rubio introduced last year with former Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson.

Clean Water Act: Economic analysis could undermine Trump rule repeal

When the Trump administration finalized its repeal of the Obama-era Clean Water Rule last month, it also quietly updated an economic analysis of the repeal's costs and benefits.

The 195-page final analysis is nearly 10 times longer than the one that accompanied the Trump administration's initial proposal in 2017 to repeal the rule and estimates different costs and benefits of repealing the regulation, which clarified which wetlands and waterways are protected by the Clean Water Act.

The updated analysis — which the public did not have the chance to comment on — could leave the repeal vulnerable to legal challenges, experts say.

"The agencies aren't required to do an economic analysis, but once they decide to do it, courts typically want them to do it right," Vermont Law School professor Pat Parenteau said. "If there are flaws in the analysis, and if the public hasn't had a chance to see it, that could fit into the box of arbitrary and capricious."

Already, a coalition of environmental groups have cited the new analysis in their legal challenge to the repeal filed last week.

Do your part: Reset your sprinkler system timer Saturday to fall back to once-a-week watering

Starting Sunday, Nov. 3, homeowners and businesses will fall back to once-a-week landscape irrigation across the 18 counties of the St. Johns River Water Management District. Nov. 3 is the day that Eastern Standard Time begins.

“Healthy lawns in our area require no more than one day a week of irrigation during cooler weather, based on scientific analysis from the University of Florida,” said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle. “So, when you change your clocks Saturday night, be sure to also reset your sprinkler timers to water only on the designated day for your address. And thanks for doing your part to protect Florida’s water resources!”

The district’s new Water Less campaign features four seasonal themes, starting with “Fall Back” in November to encourage once-a-week watering as temperatures begin cooling.

New water restrictions begin Nov. 3rd

Daylight Saving Time ends and new lawn watering restrictions begin on Nov. 3rd

The following lawn watering rules will be in effect for Seminole County:

  • No watering is allowed between 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. on any day of the week.
  • Residents with Odd street addresses water on Saturday.
  • Residents with Even street addresses water on Sunday.
  • Reclaimed water customers may irrigate twice a week year round.
  • Non-Residential customers irrigate on Tuesday.

These restrictions are mandatory in Seminole County for all water sources, including those on private wells.