SCOTUS: Florida's 'Water War' Allowed To Continue Against Georgia

Jun 27, 2018

In a victory for Florida, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the nation’s third-largest state should be given another chance to prove its case that overconsumption of water in Georgia is damaging the Apalachicola River system.

water flowing  out of tap
next. via flickr

A drier-than-normal winter and spring have Northeast Florida water managers warning of an impending shortage.

But they say the worst can be staved off if people take it upon themselves to cut back their usage.

Serena Summerfield / WJCT News

The St. Johns Water Management District has issued a water shortage warning order for portions North and Central Florida after below-average rainfall this winter.

Abnormally dry weather conditions have prompted the need for additional water conservation in First Coast counties Baker, Putnam, Nassau, Flagler and Clay, which received about half of their normal rainfall.

Coffee-colored water gurgles near the W.P. Franklin Lock and Dam. It flows down the Caloosahatchee River, roughly 30 miles from Fort Myers.

Paul Hamilton / Flickr

Jacksonville Beach Public Works officials say it's safe for residents to drink water from the tap. That’s after the utility sent out advisories saying water tested last year had higher-than-normal chemical concentrations of a contaminant.

As the legislative session continues this month in Tallahassee, lawmakers are looking at a number of bills involving the state’s water.

Environmental groups around Florida are criticizing a sweeping water policy bill recently signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott.

We hear how this legislation affects the agriculture industry as we speak with Phil Leary, principal at Leary Governmental Affairs Consultants, who represents the North Florida Growers Exchange.

Warren Miller

Dave Bruderly wanted to be a Navy officer, like his father. After graduating from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, New York, Dave saw the world from ships. What he learned inspired him to become an environmental consultant who specializes in oceans.

Bruderly grew up in Ohio and Pennsylvania. He greatly admired his father, who had been a submarine commander in World War II. That’s when he came up with a plan that would shape his life.

Ray Hollister / WJCT News

Tuesday, St. Johns River water managers nearly unanimously approved a controversial plan to handle Central Florida’s looming water shortage.

For years, a consortium of water planners took input from agricultural, residential and conservationist stakeholders to craft what they call a balanced plan.

Northeast Florida river advocates are complaining their data is wrong.

Google Maps Street View

A water-saving technology company is suing the city of Jacksonville and the Jacksonville Electric Authority for $75 million. The company, Fluid Dynamics, says its reputation was damaged, and it lost business.

A few years back, Fluid Dynamics installed its conservation system called Precision Flow at eight apartment complexes in Jacksonville. Though the city and JEA were aware of the installation, the company alleges Jacksonville suddenly removed its systems in 2012.

On the March 2015 edition of WJCT's Policy Matters, host Rick Mullaney speaks with nationally renowned water resource and marine life experts James G. Workman, writer and Deputy Director of the Environmental Defense Fund's Catch Share Design, and Dr. Quint White, Director of Jacksonville University's Marine Science Research Institute.

You can subscribe to the Policy Matters podcast in iTunes.

Leonard J. DeFrancisci / Wikimedia Commons

Despite a recent case of flesh-eating bacteria in the St. Johns River, the seventh annual State of the River report shows reason for optimism.

Sherry Spearman / WJCT

A water main break in the eastern downtown area of Jacksonville has resulted in poor pressure and outages in the area around EverBank Field.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

The funding for two projects designed to improve operations at JAXPORT, including dredging the St. Johns River's shipping channel to accommodate larger ships, will likely be approved by Congress.

Patrick Donges / WJCT

A Jacksonville nonprofit set to start operations by the end of this summer has their sights set on the environmental remediation of Hogan's Creek.

City of Jacksonville

Mayor Alvin Brown has named a group of high-profile business leaders—and one strong environmental voice—to the new task force looking at a proposed deep dredge of the St. Johns River channel.

City of Jacksonville

City officials and environmental advocates have partnered for an annual event they hope will drive residents to give back to their community by cleaning up the St. Johns River.

Mwanner / Wikimedia Commons

It used to be Florida had more water than it knew what to do with. No more. Now Floridians are worried they could run out of water.

Michael Dunn, the St. Johns River, and Tiffany Sessions are in the headlines today.

joncoxphoto.com / Flickr

The St. Johns River Water Management District will hold a meeting tonight to discuss a plan that calls for the removal of millions of gallons of St. Johns River water.

Leonard J. DeFrancisci / Wikimedia Commons

Central Florida’s population is expected to grow at such a rapid pace that a plan is currently in the works to make sure the region doesn’t run out of water.

Jborme / Wikimedia Commons

A plan that would let Central Florida withdraw as much as 155 million gallons of water a day from the St. Johns River to meet the region’s growing needs is expected to be adopted this spring.

Climate scientists largely agree that sea level is rising. The extent of the change is a far more complicated matter.

Jeff Huffman

High pressure typically brings warm, dry and calm weather. But not when it is so strong, sitting to our north, and interacting with an area of lower pressure to the south.

The wind flow around both of these weather features will team up to deliver a strong onshore wind and some adverse conditions to Florida’s First Coast over the coming days, starting today and lingering through late Tuesday.


Wilson Bilkovich / Flickr

Drivers in Jacksonville Beach continue to confront pools of standing water on the roads, and those headed to the beach should be aware of the dangers there.

Lt. Taylor Anderson with Jacksonville Beach Ocean Rescue says the beaches are open, but the bands of wind and rain coming ashore are creating very rough conditions.

“We do have an emergency crew standing by at Jacksonville Beach and we are manning the tower at the lifeguard station, watching for anybody who might go in the water,” he said.

There's been a sea disaster near Sicily, as The Associated Press reports:

"A ship carrying African migrants to Europe caught fire and capsized off the Italian island of Lampedusa on Thursday, killing at least 94 people as it spilled hundreds of passengers into the sea, officials said. Over 150 people were rescued but some 200 others were still unaccounted-for."

Something is wrong in Florida's Indian River Lagoon.

Over the past year, record numbers of dolphins, manatees and pelicans have turned up dead in the 150-mile-long estuary that runs along Florida's Atlantic Coast. Bouts of algal blooms have flourished in the waters. All the signs point to an ecosystem that is seriously out of balance. The crisis has mobilized scientists, residents and elected officials in Florida.

An Ailing Lagoon

In an operation that took 19 hours, the luxury cruise ship Costa Concordia is now in an upright position.

The head of Italy's Civil Protection agency, Franco Gabrielli, announced the ship had reached vertical and that the operation to rotate it was complete, according to The Associated Press.

The effort to shift the luxury cruise ship Consta Concordia into an upright position has begun, and several news outlets are streaming their coverage of what's said to be the biggest such operation of its kind ever.

Reuters is one good option. It has embedded its video feed in its live blogging of the operation.

The BBC's webcast, meanwhile, has the advantage of allowing you to mute the sound.

Welcome to WJCT First Read, your daily weekday morning round-up of stories from the First Coast, around Florida, and across the country. We'll also preview some of WJCT's upcoming news programming.

The latest annual report on the health of the St. Johns River shows improvements in some areas, but notes that much more work still needs to be done. 

The 2013 State of the River Report finds that nutrients in the waterway are being reduced overall.

However, aquatic life is still threatened and algae blooms keep popping up, areas of concern.