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Water-Related News

Withdrawing water from St. Johns River report based on outdated data, Riverkeeper says

Critics of withdrawing water from the St. Johns River argue a Central Florida Water Initiative report relies on outdated statistics to show the Orlando area will need far more water in the next 20 years than it actually will. The case for withdrawing water from the river is based on “highly inflated” projections for future water demand, St. Johns Riverkeeper Lisa Rinaman told the Jacksonville Waterways Commission on Wednesday.

Rinaman spoke after St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Ann Shortelle gave the waterways commission an overview of the draft plan put forward by the Central Florida Water Initiative.

Shortelle said river withdrawals are just an option in the plan, which outlines ways to meet future water needs for growth in a five-county area including Orlando. She repeatedly said that greater water efficiency is the best and least expensive way to confront that challenge.

“Water conservation is the first line of defense for water supply planning,” Shortelle said.