Does population surge mean Florida will be parched?

Will Florida have enough water for surging population?
Will Florida have enough water for surging population?

With Florida’s population poised to climb by 15 million people in coming decades, demand for water – already one of the state’s scarcest resources — is poised to spike 54 percent if development goes unchecked, a new report shows.

The agriculture region east of Lake Okeechobee already is one of the state’s biggest users of water. But as the site of big residential developments already approved in Palm Beach County, the demand will intensify by 2070, analysts said.

A similar threat to the availability of fresh water also exists across Central Florida and in Southwest Florida, where thousands of new homes are planned in areas once considered off-limits to development.

“I agree that the situation does look dire,” said Ryan Smart, president of 1,000 Friends of Florida, which joined with the Florida Department of Agriculture and University of Florida’s GeoPlan Center in preparing the report.

“But I take hope in the fact that there are relatively simple things that we can do as Floridians, to dig us out of the hole,” he added.

Florida in 2070: Development will dominate, report warns

South Florida's growth is projected to span south of Lake Okeechobee.

South Florida’s growth is forecast to span area south of Lake Okeechobee.

Florida in 2070 will be a state brimming with almost 34 million residents — 70 percent more than currently — but with many of the same growth problems, a statewide management organization concludes in a report released today.

Balancing development against nature preserves and farmland will be a recurring theme of the next half-century, 1000 Friends of Florida says in its Florida 2070 report.

But the organization maintains that through smart growth management, there is a way to lower the trajectory Florida is on, which puts on course to having one-third of the state developed, up from less than 19 percent during the report’s 2010 baseline year.

If  many residents are already feeling the pressures of crowded roads, neighborhoods and schools, there is certainly more to come, the report shows.

But 1000 Friends argues that by relying on a more compact pattern of development and increasing the state’s protected land holdings, the percentage of Florida under development can be held to 28 percent in 2070.

South Florida, so long home to rapid growth, is projected as slowing in coming years, relative to the rest of the state.

Within South Florida, the most dramatic potential changes in 2070 can be seen in the areas south of Lake Okeechobee, including in Palm Beach, Hendry and Glades counties, as well as in Lee and Collier counties, the report finds.

Still, land devoted to cities and suburbia in the region should cap at 30 percent of the region — below the state’s 34 percent average, analysts said.

The area of most overwhelming growth in the next half-century? Central Florida.

By 2070, almost half the region from Tampa to Daytona Beach will be devoted to roads, homes, and the other trappings of development, 1,000 Friends forecasts.

Trump to attend Hispanic roundtable Tuesday in Miami

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump will take part Tuesday in a “Hispanic leadership roundtable” in Miami, his campaign said over the weekend.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump Saturday, June 11, 2016, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)
Trump (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

The businessman and part-time Palm Beacher and his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, will start the day

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence at the Boca Raton Resort and Club.
PenceTuesday in Charlotte, N.C., at the, before flying to Miami. Details of the Miami event haven’t yet been announced.

Tuesday in Charlotte, N.C., at the 117th National Convention of Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, before flying to Miami.

Details of the Miami event haven’t yet been announced. But the Miami Herald is reporting it will be the lunch gathering at the famed Versailles restaurant that had been set for July 8 before Trump canceled at the last minute because of the previous evening’s assassination of five police officers in Dallas.

He also canceled an appearance set for later that day at a hotel near Miami International Airport where there was speculation he’d announce his running mate. Trump unveiled his partnership with Pence on July 16 in New York.

On Saturday, Trump’s presumed opponent, former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, also targeted Miami for her first

Florida voters give Hillary Clinton an edge in temperament but don't think she's "honest and trustworthy." (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)
Clinton (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

rally with her vice president pick, U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, traveling to the heavily-Hispanic

Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Kaine (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Florida International University, west of Miami.

Clinton is set to become the official nominee this week at the Democratic National Convention

in Philadelphia. She’ll do so without South Florida U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who Sunday was out as Democratic National Committee chair following revelations of e-mails suggesting the DNC had unfairly helped Clinton in her primary fight with Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, speaks at the Univision, Washington Post Democratic presidential debate at Miami-Dade College, Wednesday, March 9, 2016, in Miami, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Sanders (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

LIVE CONVENTION COVERAGE

Follow Post politics reporter George Bennett and digital editor Kristina Webb as they report live from this week’s Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Follow them at PostonPolitics.com and on Twitter @gbennett and @kristina-webb.

Five years after Scott reduced state growth laws, mega-developments are booming

Palm Beach County’s unincorporated western area is the site of almost 14,000 new homes planned in coming years, spread across four new communities, including Westlake, whose developers want to make it the county’s 39th city.

But similar, multi-thousand-acre projects are also in the works this spring across remote stretches of scrub and wetland – virtually in every corner of Florida.

Such mega-projects as Babcock Ranch,Plum Creek, Lake Pickett and Deseret Ranch, are poised to add thousands of houses, millions of feet of commercial space and swell the state’s population through the next decade by converting vast amounts of rural land.

Palm Beach County Commissioner Paulette Burdick, who fought much of the western growth in her county, traces Florida’s boom to Scott’s actions in 2011.

“It just kicked the door open,” Burdick said. “But the impact of all this development is ultimately going to be picked up by the taxpayers. They’re the ones who will have to pay for the needed roads, the schools and improving the bad water we’ll be left with.”

Full story here:   http://bit.ly/1VlNqZT