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Water-Related News

Group wants more spending on future water supplies; others call for conservation

By Bruce Ritchie

A small group of lobbyists with corporate and municipal water utility ties is urging legislators to spend more on water supply projects.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection says utilities need 1.6 billion gallons per day of additional water to meet population needs by 2030. Some environmentalists say Florida can meet its future water needs through conservation alone.

However, Florida Water Advocates, led by lobbyist Lee Killinger, is reminding the Legislature that it appropriated more than $500 million a year from 2005 to 2007 on various water programs including water supply. But the Legislature appropriated an average of $127 million a year since 2008.

The group isn't recommending a specific amount this year, Killinger said, or commenting on Gov. Rick Scott's request for $145.2 million for those selected programs. The accuracy of the group's numbers could not be immediately verified with DEP.