While Florida has the second highest rainfall in the United States, from the northern Okefenokee Swamp to the southern Florida Everglades, these bountiful ecosystems are still dependent to a great degree on the level and flow of underground water
supplies. Yet these life sustaining water bodies are under threat
by the very government agency tasked to protect them. By selling
millions upon millions of gallons of water from the Floridan aquifer
to out-of-state bottling interests, Florida's water management
districts are causing an unnecessary, yet life threatening, depletion
of the aquifer waters. Over the last forty years of regulation by the
water management districts, many of our springs have declined in
quality and flow while others have dried up altogether.
In Central Florida, the St. Johns River Water Management
District issues numerous Consumptive Use Permits, or CUPs, to
public and private development interests. Often selling millions of
gallons each year for nothing more than a few hundred dollars in
permitting fees. In recent years, the St. Johns River Water
Management District has issued hundreds of millions of gallons in
CUPs despite outcry from both local governments and local citizens.
This article reviews two of the most controversial of these permits.
Karen Consalo, Selling Florida's Water up the River, 31 J. LAND Use & ENVTL. L. 69 (2015).