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The Sunshine Economy

Got Water?

Tom Hudson

The good news from last summer's rains is that South Florida's water supply is running above average. But that doesn't ease the concerns of those responsible for finding, protecting, cleaning and distributing freshwater to the more than six million people from Pam Beach County through Key West.

They tell us there is no "average" year for water supply. It's either too wet or too dry. And while it's technically the dry season, there's plenty of water.

That's good news for residents, businesses, tourists, farmers and the Everglades. But last summer there was too much water, too fast and not enough places to store it. Heavy spring rains led to discharges from Lake Okeechobee that damaged fragile ecosystems. In November, Florida voters will be asked if they want to approve a Constitutional amendment designed to provide money to help create buffer zones and additional storage for water throughout the state.

On this edition of the Sunshine Economy, we talk with water management experts, environmentalists and the agriculture industry about finding the balance of the demand we put on our water resources. Some of that water is full of salt leading utilities to invest in desalination plants in preparation to meet future demand. We also travel the pipeline responsible for delivering freshwater to the Florida Keys. 

Tom Hudson is WLRN's Senior Economics Editor and Special Correspondent.