These last few weeks of pumping water for our freeze protection are taking their toll. Not just with a lack of sleep but with a drawdown of the water table in our area from all the agricultural pumping. There are some wells running dry and sinkholes forming as well as some accidents attributed from icy roads from sprinklers.
It looks like the majority of the growers I have talked with in our area are making it through with minimal damage. We will need to see how the plants look in a few weeks to see if they made it through.
Here is another letter from Hugh Gramling about the issues surrounding the water pumping and what growers of the TBWG should do.
I hope you survived the freeze(s) and are finally planning on a good night’s sleep. You deserve it.
We now are entering the aftermath of the extended cold period. SWFWMD has had over 70 complaints yesterday of dry wells caused by agricultural pumping. Water use permit holders are responsible for any damages which occur to their neighbors and their wells. If you are notified of a neighbor’s complaint, please do the following:
1) Immediately respond to SWFWMD that you will look into the complaint.
2) Within 36 hours contact the person who filed the complaint and let them know you are looking into it. Don’t agree you caused the problem unless you are ready to assume the financial responsibility.
3) To the best of your ability, make sure you were pumping during the periods involved and there is no one closer than you to the neighbor.
4) SWFWMD will help you identify wells in your area.
5) Call me if you need to check any items and don’t get the responses you need.
If you caused the damage (or might have), be a good neighbor and take care of it promptly.
Another issue which came up during the last few nights of the freeze is unintended consequences of pumping. There were at least two accidents caused by ice building up on the road outside an agricultural operation. The farmer will be liable for such actions.
I know you are busy during freezes but please make sure you don’t have irrigation drift onto road, you don’t have sprinklers which hit road surfaces and the runoff of your property is not filling ditches and getting on the roads.
Let's hope that it warms up soon!