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St. Johns Water District Director Says Conservation Is Key

St. Johns River Water Management District

It's a startling prediction — within about 20 years, the First Coast might have to start removing salt from seawater just to provide enough freshwater for residents. 

The other option could be to pump more water out of Florida’s aquifer.

These are issues being studied right now by the St. Johns River Water Management District, an area that makes up 18 counties in North and Central Florida.

Hans Tanzler III is executive director of the St. Johns River Water Management District.

He says desalinization will be expensive for the First Coast. Pumping water out of Florida’s aquifer also comes with a cost, albeit a lesser one.

Groundwater costs about $2 per 1,000 gallons,  while fresh water made from seawater costs about $10 per 1,000 gallons.

“We need to be very focused on conservation,” says Tanzler.

Melissa Ross joined WJCT in 2009 with 20 years of experience in broadcasting, including stints in Cincinnati, Chicago, Orlando and Jacksonville. During her career as a television and radio news anchor and reporter, Melissa has won four regional Emmys for news and feature reporting.