Decision-Makers Gather for State of the Water Resources Workshop

Workshop discussion panelGoverning Board Chair Neil Combee (second from right) joined former Governing Board chairs Joe Davis, Jim Allen, Mike Zagorac, Judy Whitehead, Tom Dabney, Heidi McCree and Jerry Rice on a discussion panel at the State of the Water Resources conference.

The state of the District’s water resources was the focus of a one-day workshop that brought together decision-makers from across the region and the state.

The November workshop provided attendees an update on current water resources issues and the opportunity to discuss these issues in an open and practical forum. Attendees included the District’s current and former Governing and Basin Board members, advisory committee members and county commission liaisons, as well as the general managers of the three water supply authorities, the directors of the three national estuary programs, the directors of Department of Environmental Protection district offices and representatives from the Peace River Valley Citrus Growers Association and Florida Citrus Mutual.

“We wanted to provide a forum for this diverse group to talk about our water resources and the status of important long-term projects, and to exchange ideas and hear about new technologies that will help us achieve our goals,” said Neil Combee, District Governing Board chair.

The workshop included four panel discussions that focused on water supply, conservation, natural systems restoration and management, legislative issues, future challenges and emerging trends. Each panel consisted of eight to ten panelists. During the panel discussions, members provided updates on various issues and then answered questions from other panel members and the audience.

The keynote speaker, former Governor Bob Martinez, also served on the District’s Governing Board.

“You are here because you care about our water resources,” said Martinez. “To be an effective leader, you must care about the activity that engages your time, no matter what it is. A good leader has knowledge of the subject, encourages others to provide information and communicates ideas in a manner that encourages good dialogue. This is true for a leader that is elected, appointed or selected. Information, ideas and a good interaction provide the basis for a sound decision by a collegial group.”

In the afternoon, a panel composed of former Governing Board chairs discussed how water resources concerns change over time and how we can learn from the decisions made by past Boards.

“Our former Board members represent a massive reservoir of knowledge,” said Combee. “This workshop allowed us to tap into that resource as we look for new ways to meet our water resources challenges.”