In Florida, lawmakers on Wednesday passed a bill that would eliminate most restrictions on water conservation and flood protection, and cut off millions in aid for Florida’s state government.
The bill, SB 585, is part of a series of bills that the Republican-controlled legislature has passed in recent years, including a measure that cut back on state water conservation in the wake of the deadly blizzard that struck Florida earlier this year.
It’s the latest in a series in which Republicans have sought to curtail water conservation programs that have proven popular with Floridians.
In 2015, the Republican governor, Rick Scott, signed a law that requires counties to conserve 50 percent of their water and cut water use by 40 percent by 2023.
The state is also reducing its contribution to the federal government’s Green Building Grant program.
The next year, lawmakers slashed state funding for water conservation by more than 90 percent, and by 2020, the state would have to cut all of its water conservation efforts to 25 percent.
Florida, however, is no stranger to cuts to its water resources.
Last year, Gov.
Rick Scott ordered a 30 percent cut to the state’s water resources and a 20 percent reduction in the state Water Resources Management Agency’s budget, a move that would have cost the state $4 billion.
The cuts came despite the fact that water conservation was already under severe strain in Florida.
Since 2014, when the state legislature first enacted water conservation measures, the number of Floridans using fewer than 20 percent of the state water supply has dropped to just 10.4 percent from 12.4 per cent in 2015.
That’s a drop from 20 percent in 2010.
The state’s drought was the most severe in decades, but there’s little evidence that water scarcity has made water-thirsty Floridian citizens more susceptible to disease.
According to the Florida Department of Health, water use declined by 3.3 percent between 2016 and 2019.
There were no statistically significant differences between the populations in 2015 and 2019, though there were a few counties where the population fell by at least 3 percent.
As of early 2018, about 22 percent of Florida’s water was being used for agricultural and industrial uses, according to the American Water Works Association.