For a lot of people, the mention of the Florida Everglades brings to mind animals and marshes, but did you know that the Everglades actually supplies fresh water to 9 million people?
Quite possibly, even you?
It’s true. Forty-two percent of Floridians get their water from the Everglades, but very few of them are actually aware of that.
Begoñe Cazalis, Director of Communications for the Everglades Foundation, and her team are looking to change that. Cazalis joined Good Morning Keys on KeysTalk 96.9/102.5 FM this morning to talk about how they’re going to get the word out.
Cazalis said, “Most people are unaware of that fact. We decided to run a survey to make sure how many people understood how connected we are to the Everglades in that it provides our fresh water in Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe County and we were saddened but maybe not so surprised to find out that 95% of residents in south Florida do not realize that the Everglades supplies our fresh water, which is our most important resource here in south Florida.”
The Everglades Foundation is launching an initiative Your Water Comes From the Everglades.
Cazalis said, “If they learn one thing, they learn that their water comes from the Everglades. So we are launching this educational initiative through digital ads, billboards, partnerships, talking to the media and doing everything we can.”
The foundation believes it’s important that residents know that when the Everglades is under threat, their water supply could be at stake. So it’s serious issue.
Cazalis explained, “The fresh water that comes through the Everglades affects the estuaries, affects the Florida bay and affects the fishing, but people in Miami-Dade and Broward…they’re kind of a little more disconnected to that fact, so it’s important that they understand that whenever government makes decisions around the Everglades, around development, it’s not only the animals that live in the park because a lot of times people think that that’s all there is, but it’s this entire ecosystem and that it’s affecting the actual water supply and the water supply for the millions of tourists that come and visit us every year.”
Climate change can have quite an effect on the water supply.
Cazalis said, “When we talk about climate change and resiliency, we’re leaving out the important facts of our water supply. We’re seeing in other states how people are having issues with the fresh water supply. They’re fighting among each other to make sure that they have enough fresh water and here in south Florida, we have to make sure that we protect that water supply and we as a low-lying flat area, we are very vulnerable to the effects of climate change and sea level rise.”
When the sea level rises, there’s going to be more salinity intrusion into the fresh water supply and even the fresh water wells, so your water could be a whole lot more salty.
Through Everglades restoration and restoring the fresh water flow, it helps slow down that effect and will protect the fresh water supply longer.
Cazalis said, “Make sure you talk to everyone about it. Talk to your neighbors. Talk to your family. Talk to your friends, to your elected officials so that everybody knows how important and vital this resource is for all of us here in south Florida.”
For more information, log onto www.evergladesfoundation.org and follow them on Facebook or Instagram and check out their YouTube channel.