Water-Related News

Editorial: Stop changing water authority’s mission

The following commentary by Lauren Ritchie appeared in the Orlando Sentinel on Jan. 26th, 2017

About once every decade, someone tries to kill the Lake County Water Authority.

This time, the danger is coming from state Rep. Larry Metz, who swears he is a "supporter" of the authority, which he said does a "good job."

However, Metz, R-Yalaha, is proposing a local bill in the Legislature that could set up the water watchdog for trouble later.

Step carefully!

The water authority was created in 1953 to build a series of locks and dams along Haynes Creek and the Palatlakaha River for flood control. The legislation authorizing it gave the trustees the right to take state-owned property if necessary and to use eminent domain to take privately-owned property to get the job done.

Its core mission is to conserve and protect the streams, canals and lakes — Lake has 1,400 named water bodies alone — and to preserve the fish and wildlife that use the waterways. The legislation also authorized the water authority to promote recreation and tourism by making improvements to the lakes, streams and canals. Those aren't contradictory missions. Rather, it's smart to put them together to come up with a wise plan for the use of what can be environmentally delicate land.