Water managers to hold water conservation summit in December

With no immediate end in sight for the current severe regional water shortage, the South Florida Water Management District Governing Board in October unanimously adopted a resolution calling for a Water Conservation Summit to bring together local, state and national experts along with a broad range of stakeholders to develop and implement an enduring, comprehensive water conservation program for South Florida. The Summit will take place Dec. 4 at District headquarters...

• Broad range of stakeholders to assist with developing and implementing lasting, comprehensive water conservation program for South Florida

WEST PALM BEACH, FL, Nov. 8, 2007 -- With no immediate end in sight for the current severe regional water shortage, the South Florida Water Management District Governing Board in October unanimously adopted a resolution calling for a Water Conservation Summit to bring together local, state and national experts along with a broad range of stakeholders to develop and implement an enduring, comprehensive water conservation program for South Florida. The Summit will take place Dec. 4 at District headquarters in West Palm Beach.

"As this year's drought reminds us, the days of cheap and unlimited water are over. Residents and businesses must develop a culture of conservation to protect our limited water resources," said District Governing Board Chairman Eric Buermann. "Our goal is to create a long-term water conservation program that is active all year round -- not just during droughts -- and results in a measurable and lasting difference."

The Summit, the second in a series of public water forums hosted by the South Florida Water Management District, will draw insight from the experience of other organizations that have developed and implemented successful water conservation programs in other regions of the country. It will bring together a broad range of water user sectors to assist the District in providing initial input toward the drafting, formulation and implementation of a comprehensive District-wide water conservation program. The program components will include regulatory, education and voluntary and incentive-based initiatives.

The Water Conservation Summit will be hosted by the District's Water Resources Advisory Commission on Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2007, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the agency's headquarters in West Palm Beach. A final report with recommendations will be presented during the Governing Board meeting in April 2008, Water Conservation Month.

Morning panel presentations from invited speakers will present case studies on successful water conservation programs from other areas of Florida, the Southeast U.S. and the nation. Information will include lessons learned by other entities, obstacles encountered, accomplishments and costs.

Scheduled presenters include:
• Janet G. Llewellyn, Director, Division of Water Resource Management, Florida Department of Environmental Protection
• Jeff Pearson, Director of Utilities, Charlotte County Utilities
• Rob Teegarden, Chair, Florida Section, American Water Works Association and Vice-President of the Water Business Unit, Orlando Utilities Commission
• Ane Deister, General Manager, El Dorado Irrigation District
• Mary Ann Dickinson, Executive Director, Alliance for Water Efficiency
• Dave Bracciano, Demand Management Coordinator, Tampa Bay Water
• David Self, President, Florida Nursery Growers and Landscapers Association
• Jack Wilbur, Public Information and Social Marketing Specialist, Utah Department of Agriculture and Food

The afternoon session will be the first in a series of approximately five monthly meetings designed to gain input from representatives of the various stakeholder groups on the District's comprehensive water conservation program.

"The purpose of the monthly stakeholder meetings will be to obtain valuable information from and build consensus toward a water conservation program that is built on collaboration and cooperation between all those with an interest in Florida's water future," Buermann said.

The stakeholder groups will include representatives from local governments, agriculture, nursery/landscape, utilities, developers, property owners and homeowner associations, environmental organizations, parks and recreation, sports and leisure, tourism, small business, manufacturing, and hospitality and service industry. Technical advisors will include representatives from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Tribes.

The Water Conservation Summit will be web cast to maximize participation and information sharing, allowing the public throughout the 16-county water management district to tune in. Participants and agenda details will be posted at www.sfwmd.gov

The South Florida Water Management District is a regional, governmental agency that oversees the water resources in the southern half of the state -- 16 counties from Orlando to the Keys.

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