Bob Knight, Gainesville Sun, April 27, 2021

Last Sunday’s opinion pages celebrating the 51st Earth Day were appropriately filled with messages about the importance of protecting our environment. But what was interesting to me was the juxtaposition of conflicting claims by environmentalists, agricultural representatives and state officials.

Interested readers of The Sun may be trying to make sense out of their divergent views. Here is my take.

The first piece I read was written by Dr. Ann Shortelle, executive director of the St. Johns River Water Management District. In her column, “Make water conservation part of your regular routine,” she reiterated her oft-repeated message that homeowners need to do more to reduce their personal uses of water.

Emphasizing that April is designated by the state as Water Conservation Month, she asked the public to cut back their outdoor water uses by half. Considering that more than 95% of that water is extracted from the groundwater, I suggest her agency should take a different tack.

The Florida Springs Institute’s recently publicized Earth Day “Springs Friendly Yards” message is that everyone concerned about the health of Florida’s springs and water environments needs to switch to rainfall capture and stop all uses of groundwater for outside irrigation. Attractive landscaping is in the eye of the beholder: Growing native plants in yards with rainwater is a beautiful image because it is the flip side of beautiful, flowing, clear-blue artesian springs.

Leave a Reply