* r .*~'v~'~..''~1.*. ~
S u -, '. .- .. *;-. . .. -: .
FlOuida is seringthe
Py a-,w the sta t s
Imo*.* tpprecpius1' '
."-* 'J:"',- L IJ
at 30rmJohn "Woody Wodaska
was a puiateward of waer,beading
Sauth Florida WatsMna' gement
errepn Mwa r ater
y Calt .niai l i993.
Byq C ,nf a rCalif 'dis-
w a~s i p a d o n wer, binding
.._ m c .
I Plorid-a 'Trend
"There is an eic in managig iao in the-pia re seor
that-simnplydoes not existinthe publicseciorP he sys. i
PerofWodradska's aEgianirtidr dtos pntfatiieaiaoBlth&' .^1
orCn Cap licontrtalrcqshie*tatmuaMwi d
tetrefore amnmnaage water works more efficient. hfad-' -
ditiin, de argument goa, drnd ptine sector isrmea wil '
ing and better able to inma iremsedach am4oew tat- '
nologiesTbataill improve water deiirerv and hokLdown
costs overtme.. .
SBut Amarit aiorher private ompinksseek a mare fre- .:.
dameantshhangb in the wayMr4oWaaimeloa es-awae 'To .
(day, testateowis author snr, ...:
pen mrs to faem; indwaifibk, uiibrp~i o d .-
suim erain ..amenountm Sta tS k .O- l t~Ed .
punZ O aiiQieqgaianuWof w iser &at il ot*wt
1,~5 l"om!heen.'t selIthoaerfite~iau hiaouonoteaoe
Asrix wa Elorid bsngo a step fiuther, smedng two .
dchuergiwstam law that wou.enU ewateri to be traded
li&epdc bSAltis. Thefirstwbuft4a et. company acquirer .
longtarn paesnids currencyy, =tat niaagerM decide how,
long pesaits caM last; fromu fear yaa p to 20, though
20yd rpdrWasim e reme)and the-second would.alloPthb-e
transfer of peanirs among users.
Floodgate of debate
Ta get a foothold in he.Sunshine State, Azurix is.offer-
ingtofinance and manage a portion of Forida $4 biloo
Evergladesrestoraion project in exchange for rightsto
sell the waer it would store as part of the project Whether
Azurix officials and their lobbyists can persuade lawmak-
etmta l tha p~acee& wi sil project cmaians o be
seeo. Butwheer thrwetwo ei this-m mpry interest
has opet ed fLoodgaer of debate in Florida over the pri-
584 .. September 2000
~~~..... ... ......... )
-,'*.. *~ ,*.,. & :
fib t mo "t""rc..." "
'~~~~~~' ,"'i.".," ""
i'Y -~ '': ~' ,i" : ...:h,.. -
1 tpEe,.si~a. Sea.
^*'B~tl asBw aifbe~-&ae
fi indthtry.rnm om;e serv
rparem rArou is one on
contributors to the presii
af Geore W. Bush. (
.#akes-in the northern Tmp. By w-
Many consider the Tampa plant 4
pl privatized system in that the pubc.
i totd.aowership of the water and
Soversight ofits management.
da's water woes
some worry that won't always be the
as more prate players get into Flri-
water busine and as waer balomwes
Scarce. Flwida 'fast-growing popu-
kdeis a g more and more water,
eVioper depletes wedands and
b:tacev- .agement districts all
fioMweae dsziearic if north Flrida
jpsf erAius water shortfalls by the
Qite simply, th expensive ground-
.,ewidnFw; i dst Florida has r ed
ot ffr'o loSgi caa so longer moet tae
ga~teds.; ~tjp state has plenty of wa-
.Ast in thqe.qp lanes apd at the
cg tiaes. t a gest a ebasy
s of ais mot years, an average of 55
* ., ,
inches compared with California's 12,
most falls in the summer when the popu-
lation of residents and tourists is smallest.
So in the winter, Florida's water supply ex-
periences the heaviest stress when it's be-
ing replenished the slowest.
With serious conservation unlikely as
Long as the price of water remains low,
SFlorida must find new sources. Some re-
gions will turn to desalination plants.
Some, such as St. Johns River W'ater Man-
agement District, will tap surface waters.
Also possible are technologies such as
"aquifr and storage recovery," which cap-
tures water in wet times to save up and
Sole out when it's dry.
That's where the private sector comes
in. Water industry officials argue private
businesses willing to put up the capital to
create new water supplies should be given
the chance. Whether the private sector
can'manage and deliver water less expen-
sively and more efficiently are matters of
huge debate, not just in Florida but around
the globe. The bigger issue, however, may
be that companies are no longer content
to build and operate water works. Some
now see water itself as a commodity to be
acquired and traded for profit.
Azurix officials insist they don't want
water itself to be privatized. "I think the
worst thing Florida could do is privatize
the water supply," WVodraska says. What
private business wants, he says, is an op-
portunity to show how much more effi-
ciently and cheaply it could deal with
Floridas water woes than the government
can. Letting consumptive-use permits find
their value in a free market, he says, would
actually produce incentives for conserva-
tion. 'If you don't value something," he
says, "you waste it."
No second chance
Two Florida lawmakers, Sen. John Lau-
rent, R-Barrow, and Rep. J.D. Alexander,
R-Winter Haven, floated bills last session
that would have allowed some trading of
consumptive-use permits. The issue is ex-
pected to be taken up seriously in the 2001
session. Their proposed pilot project
would have allowed some permit holders
in southwest Florida to lease the water
they aren't using to a third parry: That
farmer who used only 15 million gallons
of his 20-million gallon permit could sell
the other five million.
That worries Sonny Vergara, the exec-
utive director of the Southwest Florida
Water Management District, who points
out that the severe water shortages in his
district exist even though less than half the
permitted water supply is being used.
Nonetheless, Vergara and other water
officials support market-based approach-
es as one option among many to help solve
Florida's water problems. In one form or
another such approaches are inevitable as
other parts of the nation and the world
turn to privatization and as water becomes
At the Florida Department of Environ-
mental Protection in Tallahassee, water re-
source management official Janetd
Llewellyn says Secretary David Strus and,
others are."intrigued with the idea of mar--
Let-based approaches." The department
has four priorities on the issue, she says:
Water must remain a public resource; the
environment must be protected; conser-
vation and efficiency must be promoted;
and whatever the state does must be "fair
and transparent" to its citizens. Also, she
says, "we need to take some time and con-
sider what the ramifications will be."
Vergara couldn't agree more:
"Florida is at a critical mass, and we can-
not afford to create a bigger problem than
the one we're trying to fix," Vergara says. CI
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