Letter to the Editor: Keeping Ground Water Clean
As a design professional in an architecture firm that engages in site planning activities for developers, I have recently had to fight a case similar to one mentioned in your Aug. 28 story, “NAHB Weighs in on Two Pending Wetlands Cases.”
I agree that in many instances the definition of "waters of the state" has been misused by jurisdictional enforcement agencies. In our recent situation, the application of waters of the state resulted in an urban drainage ditch becoming a protected creek and making desirable urban infill development impossible.
However, I believe we are also seeing an increasing awareness of the importance of surface waters (including areas of seasonal water storage) in recharging our nation's aquifers, a resource well worth protecting, if not by the Clean Water Act, then perhaps by a new piece of legislation to reward developers for protecting something we all need — clean ground water.
Here in Florida, a tremendous amount of our overall quality of life stems from the quality of water that reaches the aquifer and then reemerges in springs or as potable water. Our porous landscape is easily affected by the path that rain follows into the ground. Many award-winning communities in this state (including one by WCI that received NAHB's National Green Building Award) are working with scientists and engineers who understand these systems to create a new and rewarding environment for their customers. I hope that these will serve as models for development.
As we note the limitations of the Clean Water Act's authority, we must also promote a responsible attitude toward how the rain makes its way through the ground to the aquifer and to our springs and faucets.