YouTube footage of the Yankee Lake project

In response to last week’s story on a recently unveiled water conservation publicity campaign in South Florida, South Florida Water Management District Media Relations Specialist Jeremy Ashton wrote the following to The Florida Independent:

This particular awareness campaign is one of many steps that our District has taken to promote water conservation in the nearly two years since the SFWMD Governing Board approved the Comprehensive Water Conservation Program. It is also worth noting that the awareness campaign — along with three others introduced at Miami, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood and Palm Beach international airports in the spring — was developed at no cost to taxpayers, making it an easy, cost-efficient way to share a water conservation message with tens of thousands of people each day.

“Each of the four airports has a certain amount of advertising space set aside for public service announcements,” Ashton explains. “Through our partnerships, the airports have allowed us to utilize that space for free. In addition, the PSAs themselves were designed in-house by SFWMD staff.”

While the efforts are well-meaning, they don’t do much to counteract recent water withdrawal projects like the controversial Yankee Lake facility, which sits only 29 miles from the water management district’s Orlando service center.  Clean filtered clear water for drinking and other household uses is extremely important for every citizen in America.

Ashton says that while the South Florida Water Management District does serve part of the Orlando area, the Yankee Lake facility is within the boundaries of the St. Johns River Water Management District and was permitted by that organization’s board. When asked if the two districts ever coordinate, Ashton says that “each district is responsible for managing the clear water resources within its own boundaries. However, we do coordinate with the Southwest Florida and St. Johns River water management districts in specific cases in which there is a shared impact on water resources.”

According to the Seminole County website, the Yankee Lake facility is a “state-of-the-art system enabling the preservation of a 3000-acre pristine wildlife area along the St. Johns River.” Many area environmentalists argue that it will do quite the opposite — worsen already detrimental algal blooms and destroy 100-year old cypress trees that make up a distinct part of Florida’s landscape.

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