Water Managers are responsible for balancing the various demands placed on our water resources in order to achieve a sustainable and productive environment for humans and the natural system on which we depend.
The economy of south Florida depends not only on tourism: agriculture contributes significantly to its productivity. The water resource needs of this sector are a significant consideration in water management planning. Water supply for residential demands is another important component of the regional water budget, while flood control for land used for agriculture and housing poses a different type of demand on water management. With human populations increasing dramatically since the mid 20th century in south Florida, water management has disrupted the natural timing and distribution of water in the Everglades, with concomitant deterioration in water quality.
These changes have led to significant deterioration of this internationally recognized wetland. Demands for restoration of this unique landscape have come from the national and local levels, with citizens demanding that the natural system have a much greater consideration than in the past. Thus, a variety of publicly funded projects, including the ca. $9 billion Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP), have been initiated to restore this valued natural system. In this process, management alternatives are being tested to optimize the balance between the natural and human demands on water resources - with the primary objective involving the restoration the Everglades.