Everglades National Park (Pic by Rodney Cammauf, National Park Service; via army.mil)

An upcoming Water Supply Summit hosted by the Everglades Foundation will include a “Legislative Briefing Breakfast” and a “Capital Lobby Day,” according to information released by the group.

The summit will kick off in Tallahassee on Tues., Jan. 17, with a luncheon, and will wrap up the next day with “briefings, meetings, and advocacy to save America’s Everglades.” According to a press release, the event will be attended by top government officials and business leaders and will feature a performance by recording artist Gavin DeGraw.

An email sent out to supporters highlighted the recent problems plaguing the Florida Everglades — including one of the worst droughts the state has ever seen.

From the email:

In 2011, Florida witnessed one of the worst droughts in history. It was the third drought in the past ten years. This lack of rain sparked wildfires across the state and set large-scale destructive algal blooms in motion in the Caloosahatchee river. West Palm Beach and other municipalities came within days of running out of water.

The drought highlighted the issues that Florida should have been focusing on from the beginning: storing rainwater, cleaning it and supplying it to the millions of Floridians who need it.

The Everglades ecosystem is a crucial link between water storage and water supply for almost 7 million Floridians. And at less than half its original size, one out of every three Floridians relies on the Everglades as the source of their fresh drinking water.

For over a hundred years, we have built canals and levees to re-direct the natural southerly flow of freshwater from the headwaters of the Everglades in the Kissimmee river basin towards urban areas and coastal cities, disrupting the ecosystem’s delicate natural balance.

Meanwhile, 1.7 billion gallons of freshwater are dumped into saltwater estuaries every day.

Florida’s boating, tourism, real estate, hunting, recreational and commercial fishing industries all depend on a healthy Everglades ecosystem, supporting tens of thousands of jobs and contributing billions to our economy.

The Summit is being touted as “the first of its kind.”

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