Floridians worry about water quality – willing to pay to fix it

NEWS RELEASE

By an overwhelming majority, Floridians say they are worried about water quality problems in the state, and that government at all levels needs to do more to address these issues.

A statewide poll of registered Florida voters shows that more than 81% of respondents agree or strongly agree that state and local governments need to do more to protect water quality in lakes, rivers, springs and estuaries. The poll was conducted by Florida Atlantic University and surveyed 1,150 people statewide. The survey was commissioned by the Clean Water Coalition of Indian River County and the Brevard Indian River Lagoon Coalition.

According to the survey, most people are prepared to pay higher fees to help pay for projects to cleanup Florida waterways. 62.4% say they agree or strongly agree to pay an extra $2 a month

An overwhelming 89.3% of respondents say it is important or very important to have plenty of safe and clean drinking water, and 84.9% say the responsibility for that falls on state, county and local governments.

In order to address water quality issues across the state, the Clean Water Coalition of Indian River County and the Brevard Indian River Lagoon Coalition have gone on record in favor of incrementally restoring Water Management District fees. This plan would partially restore the rate cuts that were made by Governor Scott. The funds cut could otherwise have been used to prevent algae blooms, fish kills and water pollution problems across the state.

Both coalitions propose a rate increase of .10 mills, or $16.20 per year, per median priced Florida home with homestead. It is estimated the Coalitions’ proposal would raise approximately $160 million a year to combat Florida’s water problems. It is further recommended that these funds be used exclusively as 50% matching monies to assist cities and counties to address their water quality problems like upgrading municipal sewage treatment plants, connecting septic systems to sewer and preventing polluted stormwater from entering the Lagoon.

The statewide poll was conducted online and by telephone and has a margin of error of 2.9%. The survey was done by the Business and Economics Polling Initiative at Florida Atlantic University.

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