12A NEWS-PRESS. MONDAY, OCTOBER 13, 1986 ..*
(8U)o0Sa00o0 2442 ApwMan Ave. Fort Mryr. FPL I301-387
There's room for both
The U.S. Geological Survey reveals a growing threat of a head-on
collision between Florida's important agriculture industry and a
pressing need to protect the state's drinking water supply.
Florida cannot afford to have that clash end in victory for either
side. A way must be found to balance the two needs without harm to
A USGS report on the nation's threatened water resources says
Florida gets enough rain to resupply its 7,700 lakes or reservoirs and
The catch is, according to the report, development and agricul-
ture threaten the water's quality. The agency is planning to survey
water quality in its next study.
The clash is of particular interest to Southwest Florida because
applications are on file to plant many thousands of acres in citrus
trees to replace frozen-out groves in Central Florida. Groves not only
use water, they use pesticides and fertilizers that could pollute water
The need for good drinking water is obvious there is no way
the state's economy could survive if its water supply were wasted or o
polluted to the point that there isn't enough to goaround for a growing r
The importance of agriculture is evident. It contributes $17 r
billion to $20 billion to Florida's economy. This also adds to the
nation's exports. In 1985 a year that US. exports were dismally low
- Florida exported $465 million in agricultural products.
But farming also produces some unwanted byproducts that can I
harm water supplies. Among those are chemical pesticides and
fertilizers that end up polluting our water resources. Another is the
phosporus from cattle ranches that is believed to be the chief polluter
.of Lake Okeechobee, a major source of water forsouthern Florida.
The agency's data shows that 39 percent of the state's daily
surface water usage goes for irrigation, I percent for livestock and
industrial uses, accounting for 59 percent of the total. The rest 41
percent goes to provide us with clean drinking water.
With the technology for which America is famous and a genuine
attitude of cooperation between agricultural interests and water
resource managers, Florida should be able to accommodate both.