Notes from former Florida DEP Secretary Michael Sole

Water is the lifeblood of Florida. It is what has drawn people here for more than 10,000 years. It powers Florida’s economic engine as well as defining the Sunshine State experience and quality of life for all its inhabitants - human, animal and plant.

Image of Florida DEP Secretary Michael Sole
Florida DEP Secretary Michael Sole

Florida is home to more than 51,000 miles of rivers and streams, 7,700 lakes, 865 miles of sandy beaches and one of the most productive aquifers in the world. Those aquifers provide 90 percent of the state’s drinking water and giving rise to the largest concentration of major freshwater springs on the planet.

Despite its beauty, Florida is also a place of water extremes. We experienced consecutive years of hurricanes and tropical storms that give us more water than we can handle, followed by years of drought that stress our drinking water supplies and literally dries up lakes.

Florida leads the nation in the commitment of resources to protect drinking water and restore water quality in our rivers and lakes.

These natural weather patterns remind us that humans are not in charge. Mother Nature continually teaches us lessons about how we must adapt and change our behaviors in order to protect and conserve Florida’s water resources.

Protecting the state’s water supply as well as our rivers, lakes and streams is a monumental task that challenges not only government but the people as well. Understanding our watersheds and how water flows through our lives is the first step to understanding how to protect our rivers, lakes, estuaries and springs.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection designed this website to help Floridians learn more about watersheds and what we, along with local governments, water management districts and citizens, are doing to help protect our drinking water and restore our rivers.

Florida leads the nation in the commitment of financial resources to protect drinking water and restore water quality in our rivers and lakes. Each day, thousands of professionals and stakeholders work to ensure clean water flows from our taps and that we are protecting and restoring water quality in our rivers and lakes.

We hope that you are inspired to learn more about watershed protection and become active in protecting our great water resources. You can start now by simply referring this site to your friends and family members.

Thank you for taking the time to visit ProtectingOurWater.org.

Michael Sole
Secretary
Florida Department of Environmental Protection

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