One message I’ve gotten from the 2014 mid-term elections is that we cannot be effective water advocates unless we acknowledge and work with the ideas that our water problems are political problems and have broad economic implications.
I think we need to be having some conversations that we’re not having, at least not widely.
So often, water conversations end when the idea of "private property" is invoked. It is important to remember, however, that water is not owned—it is not "property." It is permitted. Is the fact that someone owns land an appropriate rationale for allowing water use that may have negative impacts on our natural systems or others' wells? Could Florida's water managers do a better job of making this distinction by invoking the idea of "responsible stewardship"? (Of course, this idea would have to be clearly defined to avoid its being co-opted.)
I encourage you to think about these ideas and, if possible, to create ways to begin a conversation about them with agriculturalists, public utility representatives, industrialists, business people, and elected leaders—because unless we can make those people our allies in the search for solutions to our water problems, we will not find solutions that are acceptable to us or effective for our natural systems.