Live Oak —
It has been just over one week since the Suwannee River Water Management District implemented a Phase III Water Shortage Order and area residents are adjusting to the new mandatory restrictions with mixed emotions.
“I’m for the mandatory restrictions as long as we can save our water and not ship it to east Florida,” Live Oak resident Paul Dial said. “If they take our water, in a few years we will be in the same shape that they’re in now.”
According to Dial, he is not affected personally by the restrictions imposed on June 13. However, he feels that farmers need special provisions to access more water during critical times in their crops.
Keisha Battles of Lake City also understands the need for water restrictions, but recognizes water shortages involve everyone. According to Battles, water restrictions are a concern for everyone.
Bill White doesn’t agree with the Phase III Water Shortage Order.
“I think we should be under no restrictions,” he explained. “There is too much use of unrestricted water. Why not put restrictions across the board for all people using water in the aquifer?”
While Solomon Williams of Columbia County recognizes there is a water shortage problem and mandatory water restrictions, he said that he is not personally affected by the water restrictions.
“The water shortage problem is not affecting me,” Solomon said, “but I use water wisely anyway.”
As residents learn more about when they are allowed to water and what restrictions are now placed on the Floridan Aquifer, many remain concerned about the reason that water restrictions were implemented to begin with.
Bruce Bird of Suwannee County said the water restrictions do not directly affect him because of where he lives. However, he is troubled because a relative who drills wells constantly speaks of wells going dry.
“I have really good water and worry about something happening and I will have to dig a new well and won’t have the water I have now,” Bird commented.
Sarah Jordan maintains the water shortage and restrictions affect everyone. However, she doesn’t understand why people in town have to pay for water.
The Phase III Water Shortage Order, which went into effect on June 13, affects most residents within the boundaries of the SRWMD. According to a SRWMD press release, the water shortage order includes all of Columbia, Dixie, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Lafayette, Madison, Suwannee, Taylor and Union counties, and portions of Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Jefferson, Levy and Putnam counties. The water shortage order applies to both public water users and residents with personal wells.
According to SRWMD Director of Mission Support Melanie Roberts, a violation of the water shortage order is a second degree misdemeanor. Such violations may occur by watering lawns or washing a vehicle on restricted days or irrigating during unapproved hours, according to the Phase III Water Shortage Order.
Already, the SRWMD has received six complaints about water abuse, one of which concerned water use outside of the District, according to SRWMD Communications/Creative Services Specialist Vanessa Fultz. Four of the issues were dealt with by letter and one was resolved over the telephone, Fultz said.
For a detailed list of all restrictions on water use, visit the water shortage page on the District’s website at www.mysuwanneeriver.com.