Down Upon the Suwannee River: Part 3

A report with controversial recommendations is stirring up the cool waters of the Suwannee River. Water transfer from north Florida to south Florida is the hot issue.

For years Debbie Pharr has been renting canoes and kayaks on the Suwannee River. She worries that if water was drawn from the river her livelihood could be affected.

"If they went down to a point where there was only a little stream of water of water coming down. I couldn't put my canoes out there, the fish would be gone the eco-tourism thing would go south in a hurry," says Debbie.

The question of water being drawn from the Suwannee has come up due a report from the council of 100. This council is comprised of Florida business leaders and they're advocating a list of five recommendations. The fifth recommendation deals with the hot potato of water transfer.

"We just came out of four years of severe drought. The only thing that kept the river going was the springs that feed it. If they pull water away from it will not only dry up springs and the river, but it's probably going to dry up ponds and other places.

For that to happen the council's recommendations would have to become state policy.

"Well it takes the state policy makers to do that and some forget that the state policy makers are the legislature. While they have a right to a seat at the table, so does the public."

The council of 100 may just occupy a seat at the table, but they do have clout.

"I think they may have clout in the governors office, I think the governor has said their plan sounds wonderful without having all the details, and I don't know if that is his fault, but I plan on giving him the rest of the details. "

Next year the minimum levels and flow of the Suwannee will be established through a study. With that report, the state will have a road map for the future use of the Suwannee's spring-fed waters.

On November 20, a public hearing on the Suwannee River will be held in Chiefland in the high school auditorium.