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Water distribution blatantly inequitable

By Staff | Jan 26, 2011

To the editor,

Ray Judah wrote a commentary recently in the Fort Myers News-Press, “Water managers continue to cheat Caloosahatchee, environment,” that I urge everyone to read.

The PURRE Water Coalition (People United to Restore our Rivers and Estuaries) is in complete agreement with Commissioner Judah and the Board of Lee County Commissioners (BOCC). We wholeheartedly support Commissioner Judah’s efforts to persuade the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) to change its policies and impose “shared adversity” when it comes to water distribution from Lake Okeechobee.

The Caloosahatchee and coastal estuaries, as Commissioner Judah and the BOCC realize, are critical to our environment and economy, and to the lifestyle we enjoy. Yet the SFWMD, with the exception of Chairman Eric Buermann and our area’s representative Charles Dauray, don’t seem to mind destroying it all by sending us too much water during the wet season, and too little or no water during the dry season which causes dangerously high salinity levels.

No one is suffering adversity in this situation but us; the water distribution is blatantly inequitable, as Commissioner Judah points out. It’s time for this to stop and PURRE applauds Commissioner Judah and the BOCC for speaking out and working to try to change this untenable situation. While we are getting none of the vital fresh water so necessary to the estuary, agriculture is getting a 100 percent allocation, there are no water restrictions or conservation limits imposed on agriculture, and landscape irrigation is barely restricted at all.

We sincerely hope Gov. Rick Scott takes note of the two SFWMD governing board members who care about the river, the estuaries and the coasts.

Michael J. Valiquette

Chairman, PURRE Water Coalition