Water: The Ultimate Liquid Asset

Dear Editor:

The first requirement for a perfect day at the beach is not sand — it’s water! Preferably healthy, clean water. Emerald-green sapphire-blue water, not blue green algae. Water with ordinary tides, not noxious red tide.  

Unfortunately, Florida ranks number one in America for most acreage of lakes too polluted to swim in or support aquatic life.  About 80% of Florida’s 1,000 springs are impaired by excessive nitrogen.  Red tide, blue green algae, fish kills, wetlands decline and manatee deaths are increasing at an alarming rate.

Florida’s number one economic driver is tourism.  People from all over the world come to enjoy our beaches, springs and lakes.  Tourism and the state’s economy can be negatively impacted as water quality declines.  

Clean and healthy water is not guaranteed by law.  Since we all drink it; clean, healthy water should be a basic human right, regardless of political affiliation.  

Various counties have tried to make the right to clean water part of their local charters, but on June 30, 2020, the Florida Legislature passed SB712 into law.  This law preempted the authority of local governments to pass home rule laws giving citizens “any specific rights relating to the natural environment not otherwise authorized in general law or specifically granted in the state constitution.”

Fortunately, there’s a grassroots, volunteer effort led by FloridaRightToCleanWater.org  which is sponsoring the “Right to Clean and Healthy Waters” amendment to the Florida State Constitution. The first step is collecting the signatures of 900,000 registered Florida voters to put the proposed amendment on the November 2024 ballot.  Once on the ballot, if 60% of Florida’s voters vote “yes,” the amendment will be added to the state constitution.

Here’s how you can help protect Florida’s waterways:

Stay informed by adding Right to Clean Water to your social media feeds. 

Sign the petition and ask friends and family to sign the petition.  

Become an ambassador for the Right To Clean Water.

Visit the website for more information and inspiration on how you can help turn the tide in this watershed moment.

 Sandra “Sam” Williams 

RTCW Ambassador