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Tampa Bay citrus growers pump thousands of gallons of extra water from aquifer without reprimand listen

10/23/13 Robert Lorei
Radioactivity: Live Call-In (Wednesday)
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Tags: Citrus growers Florida, swiftmud, Citrus greening, Asian citrus psyllid

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Today on Radioactivity Rob Lorei interviews Tampa Bay Times journalist, Craig Pittman about his recent article. The article explores why 2 dozen citrus growers have repeatedly pumped thousands of gallons of more water out of the aquifer than their state permits allow. The Southwest Florida Water Management District has taken no steps to punish any of the owners of the 28 groves. Growers say their crops need access water to fight citrus greening which is caused by a bacteria and spread by a...

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Hunters gain extra hunting days at two SWFWMD properties but not Cypress Creek listen

12/20/11 Janelle Irwin
WMNF Drive-Time News Tuesday
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Two pieces of public property will be opened up for hunters next year. Tuesday morning in Haines City the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) board approved staff recommendation to add hunting opportunities at the Lower Hillsborough Flood Detention Area and Green Swamp West in Pasco County.

But they voted against staff recom...

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SWFWMD considers allowing hunting on some properties, but there's opposition listen

12/06/11 Janelle Irwin
WMNF Drive-Time News Tuesday
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The Southwest Florida Water Management District, or SWFWMD, is considering opening more of its public land for hunting. Recreational users like horseback riders and hikers are squaring off against the hunters to stop the plan from proceeding.

Opponents of increased hunting on three SWFWMD properties are staking much of their debate on the financial burden it could put on the agency. Those properties are [Cypress Creek Prese...

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Water restrictions will continue in greater Tampa Bay region listen

07/26/11 Joshua Lee Holton
WMNF Drive-Time News Tuesday
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Despite rain this month, there’s still serious doubt about the Tampa Bay region’s ability to manage the recent drought. Today, the Southwest Florida Water Management District, or SWFWMD decided to continue water restrictions in order to maintain the regional water supply.

Robyn Felix is a spokesperson with SWFWMD. She says the water restrictions will continue across all 16 counties because the lack of water during the previous year continues to impact water resources.

For the last seve...

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Swiftmud debate freeze pumping cap listen

04/27/10 Kate Bradshaw
WMNF Drive-Time News Tuesday
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In January, more than a week of record low temperatures caused farmers to pump groundwater to keep frost from killing their crops. Sinkholes ensued. Today, the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) tossed around the idea of capping the amount of water area farmers can draw from the aquifer that lies below much of Florida. Richard Owen, the district’s Deputy Executive Director, told SWFWMD's Board that this winter made for a perfect storm.

“We had an unprecedented climatic ev...

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SWFWMD Board Considers Impact of January Freeze listen

03/30/10 Tom Baur
WMNF Drive-Time News Tuesday
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During this January’s hard freeze, farmers sprayed well water onto their plants to protect them from the cold. There’s still controversy over who will pay for damaged wells and roads.

More than 50 people today attended the Southwest Florida Water Management District Board meeting at Hillsborough Community College Plant City campus. Plant City homeowner Steven Gambrells is concerned that the high volume of water pumped from the Flori...

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Reclaimed water could be cleaner than many think listen

02/16/10 Joshua Lee Holton
WMNF Drive-Time News Tuesday
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Dirty water may mean disgust, illness and waste for many, but with treatment, it could be made suitable for reuse. Last night the University of South Florida joined city officials with scientists and water management authorities to discuss the future of using reclaimed water in Tampa.

Reclaimed water can be used for many purposes other than just giving people water to drink. It can be used for irrigation, creating wetlands, and can be injected underground to ward off salt water intrusion....

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Apollo Beach Desalination Plant Finally Up and Running listen

02/15/10 Concetta DeLuco
WMNF Drive-Time News Monday
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The Apollo Beach Desalination plant has finally passed some important hurdles. This morning the Tampa Bay Water board received updates on several of its other alternative water supply projects including the C.W. Bill Young reservoir.

The desalination plant was designed to generate 25 million gallons of water per day. Today, the plant is able to meet final requirements and hopes to receive $21 million plus $10 million in interest from the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD...

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SWFWMD funds well repairs listen

01/26/10 Mark Anderson
WMNF Drive-Time News Tuesday
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The Tampa Bay area experienced its longest cold snap on record earlier this month. To protect their crops from the freeze, strawberry growers pumped billions of gallons of water from Florida’s aquifer onto their fruit. The massive water use created a record 60-foot drop in aquifer levels, drying up hundreds of residential wells and creating sinkholes. Today, the Southwest Florida Water Management Board approved spending up to $250,000 of public money to repair the private wells.

The 11-da...

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Are the sinkholes that are closing highways due to agricultural water use? listen

01/13/10 Seán Kinane
WMNF Drive-Time News Wednesday
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In Polk and eastern Hillsborough counties, many wells are drying up and several sinkholes have developed. Some of these sinkholes have closed major highways.

Sinkholes can form when groundwater levels drop dramatically, leading to the collapse of underground limestone caverns. According to Southwest Florida Water Management District spokesperson Robyn Felix, rates of groundwater pumping have been high during the last two weeks of freezing and near-freezin...

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