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Friday, 08 April 2016 10:19

Water Woes: Water Continues to be "THE ISSUE" for South Florida Featured

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Water Woes: Water Continues to be "THE ISSUE" for South Florida
As Florida continues to add population, pressure grows for clean, public water management. Recent "dirty water" flows from Lake Okeechobee, continued declines in the Keys coral reefs, algae blooms including "Red Tides" and decimation of recreational and commercial fisheries continue to occupy a prominent place in South Florida news.

Just this week there was a new turn in the so-called WATER WARS between Georgia and Florida. as officials from both states met with a mediator to discuss their differences. Florida says it may still seek a resolution in the U. S. Supreme Court. downplaying any expectations in the talks.

Florida sued Georgia in 2013 over water use amid a collapse of the Apalachicola Bay oyster population. A court official in the Supreme Court case has urged the states to settle the case through negotiation.

In other related news, Florida climate-change concerns continue to mount as a recent study shows a link to flooding from rising sea levels. Increasingly, Floridians are concerned about climate change, according to the new poll released this past Monday by St. Leo University. The same day a separate study was released that found Miami Beach will be increasingly prone to flooding due to rising seas. Meanwhile, a University of Miami study found that Miami Beach flood events had significantly increased over the last decade because of sea-level rise in South Florida.

Governor. Rick Scott and other state leaders have avoided direct discussion on climate change, despite the fact no less a figure than Pope Francis called attention to the issue last year asking the world to take action and avoid a last minute crisis. Efforts by local governments in South Florida to plan for sea-level rise and climate change have drawn national media attention and have long been a focus of the Sun Bay Paper whose publisher has won international attention for writing editorially on environmental topics. The NewsPress and the Naples Daily News have also published numerous articles emphasizing the importance of sea level rise..
The St. Leo poll found that 81.3 percent of residents in peninsular Florida were "very concerned or somewhat concerned, compared to 67 percent a year ago." The share of those who said they were not at all concerned fell this year to 8.3 percent, compared to 14 percent last year, according to the university.
“I think what these numbers are telling us is that awareness of global climate change is growing,” Leo Ondrovic, a St. Leo professor, said in a news release.
According to Politico, "More Floridians reported observing ocean rise or seacoast flooding — up to 33.5 percent from 23 percent last year. And more than three-quarters Floridians held global climate change very or somewhat responsible, a 12-point jump from 63 percent last year."
They also noted that a separate study at the University of Miami study "confirmed widespread media reports about increased flooding during extreme high tides, sometimes referred to as "king tides."
That study found that Miami Beach flooding grew significantly since 2006 chiefly due to those tidal events. The increased flooding coincides with accelerated sea level rise in South Florida, the researchers concluded.
"The average rate of sea-level rise increased by 6 millimeters per year over the last decade — from 3 millimeters per year before 2006 to 9 millimeters per year after 2006," said Politico
“Our results show that the effect of sea-level rise is real and affecting the daily life of people living in low-lying coastal communities, such as Miami Beach,” said the study's lead author Shimon Wdowinski, a research professor of marine geosciences.
Adding to the concern over "water woes," Gov. Rick Scott recently declared a state of emergency in February for Martin, St. Lucie and Lee Counties in an effort to get more federal money to fix the dike around the Lake which could provide one alternative to continued discharges.
State officials told the Sun Bay Paper that the declaration is good for 60 days unless it's extended. At this point there's no indication when it will be ended.

Carl Conley

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