A new study warns that over the next 50 years, the growth of urban areas in Florida could double the state’s water consumption.
Researchers at the University of Florida, in partnership with the state’s Department of Agriculture and smart-growth group Friends of Florida, compared urban and rural water consumption and calculated how much rural space would be encroached on by urban sprawl.
If current growth rates continue, the state’s population will reach 34 million by 2070. This will lead to consumption increasing from its current 3.1 billion gallons to about 6.5 billion gallons, though agricultural use will drop to 1.6 billion gallons from 2.1 billion gallons today.
Agriculture department consultant Cori Hemle told a briefing meeting: ‘We’re concerned the future looks very dark for water in Florida, but I want to point out we have an array of solutions available to us. It’s implementation of those solutions that is vital.’
In another state, the Indiana Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations has reported that all of the state’s counties have significant water and wastewater needs, and that the state will need to spend $16 billion over the next 20 years on maintaining and upgrading infrastructure.
The author, Jamie Palmer, warned that while officials may hesitate to raise utility rates, it is the best approach to maintain infrastructure.
- USA, Florida, water resources