Florida’s New Comprehensive Water Policy: “Think Globally, Act Locally”

A recent NASA study published in the journal Science analyzed data gathered by NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) twin satellites when measuring the amount of water stored around the Earth. The study shows that while the ice sheets and glaciers continue to melt, the Earth’s thirsty continents have soaked up and stored more water in soils, lakes, and underground aquifers. The study shows that this additional storage has slowed the rate of sea level rise to about 20 percent less than had been predicted. While it has been long known that the global hydrologic (water) cycle (evaporation, precipitation and ultimate flow to the sea) could change due to attenuation and storage in soils, lakes and aquifers, until now there was no way to measure this effect. The lead author of the study suggests that over the past decade, “changes in the global water cycle more than offset the losses that occurred from groundwater pumping, causing the land to act like a sponge – at least temporarily.” The information from the study will be used to inform and improve international studies and models addressing sea level rise. The NASA news release discussing the study may be accessed here.

The Florida Legislature recently passed a significant water bill that, among other things, encourages attenuation and storage of a portion of the 55-60 inches of rain that falls in Florida each year. Both holding back rainwater from going to tide and giving an alternative to pumping of groundwater may provide some small level of assistance in retarding sea level rise and its anticipated impacts in Florida and beyond. Truly, Florida is “thinking globally, acting locally.”

About the Authors:
Dennis G. Corrick is a shareholder in the Fort Pierce office of Dean Mead. He practices in the areas of commercial real estate, zoning and land use, and general business law. He has experience in every element of real estate purchase, ownership, governance and sale. In addition, he assists clients in land use and zoning matters, permitting and licensing, and in agreements governing the use of property such as covenants and restrictions, commercial and agricultural leases, easements and licenses. He has extensive experience working with issues unique to agricultural businesses and properties. He is a member of Dean Mead’s Agribusiness and Real Estate Development Industry teams. He may be reached at (772) 464-7700 or dcorrick@www.deanmead.com.

Michael D. Minton is a shareholder and chair of Dean Mead’s Agribusiness Industry Team. He represents family businesses with an emphasis on generationally owned agricultural businesses. Mr. Minton assists with their organizational structure, federal income, estate and gift tax planning, and business succession planning. He is a member of the Solutions Committee of the Central Florida Water Initiative. He may be reached at (772) 464-7700 or by email at mminton@www.deanmead.com.