PALATKA, Fla. -- The Central Florida Water Initiative wants to pump 150 million gallons of water, a day, from the St. Johns River. They're admitting, for the first time, that Central Florida is running out of drinking water.
"Once you overdraw the aquifer you never get it back. It's gone forever," said concerned citizen, Bill Hamilton.
Representatives from Northeast Florida were fired up at Thursday's public meeting in Palatka. Lisa Rinaman, with the St. Johns Riverkeeper, told Action News siphoning the river would cause more harm to our already suffering septic system and could cost Jacksonville taxpayers a lot of money in restoration in the future.
"It is going to be more costly to get the pollution out because it's going to stick around longer and pull more in," she said.
Rinaman also said pulling surface water creates more pollution, which then produces more of the green slime that has polluted local waterways for the past eight months.
On Thursday night, the Jacksonville city leaders introduced a resolution to oppose any pumping of the St. Johns that would adversely effect the river.
Still, others we spoke with said the water supply has to come from somewhere.
"So there has to be some component to come from surface water, whether it's 150 or 100 or 80. It's just a matter of what can be withdrawn," said environmental consultant Bill Kerr.
There were several other options being considered. The cheapest one is water conservation. We're
told the most expensive is desalination, which is changing saltwater into fresh water.
No plans are set in stone yet. More public meetings are expected soon.
The public comment period ends Jan. 31. The water management team will issue a response to those comments some time in March.