I love water. I drink it. I bathe in it, wash my clothes in it, and I love it so much that sometimes I have the luxury to swim in it. How about you?
Hold your water bottles high! My Fiji water used to be rain over the Pacific Ocean, when Christopher Columbus discovered the new world. But there is a cost of 16 pounds of carbon dioxide in the air, for every crate I buy at Whole Foods.
Bottled water is almost pure. Pure profit that is. Companies take tap water and sell it to us for eight dollars a gallon, in these small bottles we pick up from the convenience store. While that might be a problem, it’s really just a drop in the bucket.
Agriculture is the biggest consumer of water. In Florida, citrus is a huge crop.It takes 800 gallons of water to make a gallon of orange juice.
And when orange juice, celery or other thirsty crops get shipped out of state, it essentially becomes an export of of Florida water.
Industry is very water dependent, and aware of the issues. They lobby heavily to preserve their access to water resources, regardless of the public interest.http://www.waterenergystrategy.com/“As a revival of the US manufacturing base compounds already spiking industrial water withdrawals in a period of persistent drought, …”
The Florida Water Management Districts were designed to help preserve our water.But now, they must also answer to the call ofBusiness EfficiencyBusiness develops land to attract retirees. This drives the economy of Florida.The Everglades, South Florida Water District, and the St. Johns.
In the Villages, 80 thousand people moved into heavily agricultural land. This caused water shortages, and residents had to conserve. After a while. water levels returned to normal.Developers used the restored water levels to justify new development, and the cycle starts again.Florida relies on growth and expansion to drive its economic engine. The water demand is staggering.The Villages: Local land reclaimed for development, especially in tourist heavy areasLong range development locks-in permissions – Farmton, Proposition 4Watersheds drained for urban or ag useEnvironmental degradation – FBC DaytonaPrivatization (encouraged by World bank) results in 50% water cost increaseThirsty golf courses, sod lawnsPollution of watersheds and waterways spoil water
Here’s the 70-30 paradox.70% of the rain falls where 30% of the people live, and vice versa.In South Florida, the problem gets worse as aquifers become depletedSalt water intrudes as freshwater gets pumped outWater gets shipped from up north – at financial and environmental costs
As more people retire to Florida, water use will increase. Florida’s economy is dependent on population growth, especially retirees.
Regardless of whether it’s bottled and sold to us, used to make our commodities, or shipped away to other people, clean water is profitable.And as more water gets turned into money, our water becomes more scarce.
Agriculture can drastically reduce water consumption. Drip irrigation and Hydroponics are much more efficient.but it comes down to a matter of profit.
There is a solution called The Water CommonsThe PEOPLE own the water, not corporations.And if it gets sold, the people collect the royalties, much like petroleum.The U.N. Declaration of Human Rights in 1948: Access to water is a fundamental rightConcept of a water budgetWater as a public trustViolation of water rights is grounds for lawsuitsGoal of the Commons: legal protection of all lifeCommons rights empower citizens to actEnvironmental protection protects economic interests
Our waterways get polluted, causing incredible damage to nearby ecosystems. In turn, this affects people. When our fertilizer-laden waterways pour into our lagoons, food sources deteriorate and die.Pierce River, Caloosahachee river, evergladesOrlando estuaries – Mosquito lagoon, cape canaveralSt. John’s River – BiillDreggorshttp://www.floridamemory.com/fpc/reference/c027019.jpg
Larger animals and predators, like dolphins and pelicans become the symptoms of our dying estuaries. They indicate problems with the underlying food sources, crustaceans and small fish that suffer from algae blooms and other pollutants.
The Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute tried to study the reasons for the dead bodies of pelicans, dolphins, and manatees piling up at Indian River Lagoon.Except Governor Rick Scott vetoed the research project in May.It seems our estuaries are not a good investment.
It’s no fantasy. Orlando is running out of water.Next year. Orlando will have to look elsewhere for water.Sorry Cinderella, prices for nearly everything will go up, restrictions and penalties will be put in place.
There are major scarcities ahead, unless somebody does something about it.Who’s that going to be? Politicians? Industry? Real estate developers?Only grassroots groups can make a difference.That means us, if we care.Clean and Safe Energy GOAL: Advocate for regional, national, and international energy policies that encourage greater use of renewable energy resources over inherently dirty fossil fuels. Clean Water Defense GOAL: Protect the U.S. Clean Water Act from regulatory and Congressional rollbacks and strengthen other environmental laws. Polluted Runoff When it rains, water collecting on driveways, roads, rooftops, even lawns, doesn’t sink into the ground as it would in a forest or meadow. Instead, this water accumulates and runs off to the nearest storm drain or creek, lake, or stretch of coastline. Pure Farms, Pure Waters GOAL: Eliminate the impacts of factory farms on our waterways and our communities.
Keeping track of our water, holding the Orlando Utilities Commission accountable is the first and easiest step. We could work with government, agriculture, and business to ensure our rights to clean water are protected.
Next weekend you havea hands-on opportunity to get involved.Hands across the Lagoon is happening across the east coast.That’s how you can meet others, who can work with you.Civic engagement is not easy, but it is very rewarding.It’s a small price to pay so you don’t have to pay a big price later.Details are available at hunchmo.com