Atlantic Beach Passes Resolution Questioning Water Diversion Plan
Dixon, Drew, The Florida Times Union
Byline: DREW DIXON
ATLANTIC BEACH - The City Commission gave unanimous approval to a resolution Monday that questions a water diversion proposal from the St. Johns River in Central Florida.
After more than a month of criticism from some of its own residents and other area governments who have already approved similar resolutions, the Atlantic Beach commission approved a more tepid version.
The resolution is "expressing concern about the proposed withdrawal of water from the St. Johns River system," states the resolution.
That's toned down from more strident resolutions approved last year by Neptune Beach, Jacksonville Beach and Jacksonville.
The Neptune Beach measure, the first approved among the coastal communities or any municipality in North Florida, was blunt. The resolution approved in November stated the city "strongly encourages the St. Johns River Water Management District to reconsider its plan, which will endanger the water resources of the St. Johns River."
The Neptune Beach measure tripped a domino effect among local municipalities that rallied and took issue with the plan being considered by the St. Johns River Water Management District.
The proposal under review by the Water Management District plans to divert water from the river near its source, in the DeLand area, to a depleted aquifer in Central Florida. St. Johns tributaries such as the Ocklawaha River could be diverted for the same purpose.
The Water Management District has estimated the plan could redirect about 155 million gallons from the river each day. That's water that would have made its way to the Atlantic Ocean at Mayport.
While the commission gave the approval of the Atlantic Beach resolution Monday, some residents remained critical of the board for waiting so long.
But Mayor John Meserve defended the city's actions and acknowledged he and the commission had received heavy criticism. …