IN OUR OPINION
Sign on to save our water
If there is one thing all Floridians should be able to agree on, it is that our water supply is being threatened by pollution and overpumping, and if we all do not start working together to stop both, it will be both environmentally and economically devastating to our state.
The problem over the years has not been not finding agreement on the point but stirring action to bring about change. That time may have arrived.
Across the state on Wednesday, the Floridians’ Clean Water Declaration Campaign will kick off with the signing by elected officials and everyday citizens of a petition calling for action. The goal of the campaign is to gather at least 100,000 signatures undefined hopefully many more undefined by Feb. 18 to show unified and widespread concern for protecting our waterways and water supply from overuse and pollution.
The declaration specifically identifies Floridians’ rights to clean drinking water, protection from pollution, knowledge of the sources of pollution and safe public waterways. It also cites our responsibility to do what we can to stop pollution, protect our water from overconsumption and privatization and ensure clean water for generations to come.
In short, it calls for the embracing of a new water ethic that accentuates the long-term value, both environmentally and economically, of a clean and plentiful water supply. And it will take all Floridians to achieve that goal.
“The new vision and new water ethic will be developed only when we can agree to stop pointing fingers and begin to work together to solve our water problems,” wrote Lucinda Faulkner Merritt, a member of the Planning Committee for Floridians’ Clean Water Declaration. “Elected officials, water managers, agriculturalists, power suppliers, business and industry leaders, homeowners and homeowners’ associations, engineers, builders, inventors and innovators ... all have parts to play.”
Oddly, the need to stop the degradation and diminishment of our water supply and our surface waters has been long recognized in Florida’s communities. There is seldom opposition to efforts to make our springs, lakes and rivers cleaner. There is rarely any resistance to the notion that water permits must be curbed to protect our groundwater supply.
The message seems to get lost in Tallahassee, though, where state water policy is made. That is the target of the Floridians’ Clean Water Declaration Campaign undefined our lawmakers and governor.
The good news is there is positive movement in the state Senate, in particular, and some encouraging words coming out of the House leadership that suggests they are beginning to acknowledge the breadth and depth of Florida’s water woes. Now, if Floridians, and especially those of us in Marion County, which has been ground zero for so many water battles, can send an unmistakable message that we are unified on this issue, maybe, just maybe, we will see some real action, some real reform to protect our water.
Sign the declaration. It costs nothing. It commits you to nothing, except your desire to save and protect Florida’s invaluable water.
To sign the declaration go online to wewantcleanwater.com undefined or google “Floridians’ Clean Water Declaration.”