How to have your Cake and Eat it too is an idiom however, in this case it might apply.
Lake County wants to build on 16,000 acres in the southeast corner of the county, a place that already cannot sustain what is there now with water, thanks in part to so many big business pumping out water now.
It is time to rethink, Distilled water from the ocean, St. Johns River, and/or only using the 2nd Florida Aquifer?
Change laws to allow no water for irrigating landscape, whether reclaimed or potable, unless they tap into the wasted water from Bottle Water, Soda and Beer companies?
All of the above still need to distill water however, Florida is in die-hard need of good clean water?
What to make jobs?
Let’s build water distill plants?
Stricter water conservation for Wellness Way
Last week, Lake County commissioners sent a comprehensive plan to the state that will transform 16,000 acres in the southeast corner of the county into a hub for high-wage, health care jobs and other industries.
But while business and political leaders are licking their chops over the potential for this massive community to set a high bar for good, self-sustaining development, some environmentalists are expressing concerns about the plan.
The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity will review the project and send it back to the County Commission for final approval, likely in the spring.
Wellness Way calls for 16,400 homes. But what sets the concept apart from other massive developments is the focus on job creation. Supporters of Wellness Way want to ensure that the community has the equivalent of 1.6 jobs per household so the project is an economic boon to, not a drain on, the area.
Those pushing the plan say it also will be sensitive to the environment.
But environmentalists aren’t sold.
For example, the plan for Wellness Way prohibits using potable water from the shrinking upper Floridian Aquifer for irrigation. And the plan features strict landscaping requirements, such as a mandate that only Florida native and Florida-friendly plants may be used.
But the environmental community points to the fact that Wellness Way still will need about 21 million gallons of water a day to support its residents and businesses. They say the prohibitions on the use of water for irrigation are laudable but don’t go far enough in an area of Central Florida that is facing a very real water crisis.
Charles Lee, a prominent environmentalist, noted that a similar plan in Alachua County allows no water for irrigating landscape, whether reclaimed or potable, and says Wellness Way should follow suit.
Lee and other environmentalists say Wellness Way needs far more aggressive water conservation policies. What officials now propose, they say, is “10 years behind the times.”
The two most important and transformational efforts now going on in Lake County are the creation of Wellness Way and the race to slake the thirst of a region that is quickly running out of water.
Alan Oyler, a consultant to the South Lake Regional Water Initiative —which is working to find an alternative water source — said the group is exploring using the lower Florida Aquifer as a water source and, simultaneously, is working on stricter water conservation guidelines for the region.
Why not start with Wellness Way?
Any plan that does not strictly limit the use of water for non-essential purposes should be reconsidered in light of this developing crisis. It is possible — and reasonable — to require drought-tolerant landscaping throughout the community. Many communities facing water emergencies do so.
We certainly do not recommend scrapping Wellness Way. There is too much merit, too much potential in this project. However, we urge Lake County commissioners and other stakeholders to meet at the table with water experts and craft policies that better protect this dwindling, finite resource.
Wellness Way is positioned to be an example of good, sensible growth. It should have a water policy to match.
THE DAILY COMMERCIAL