Water-Related News

FGCU panelist: 'Water is the new oil'

Water may soon be as valuable to Florida as beaches and sunshine.

That's not to say we have excess water, or any to sell to other states. Acquiring, treating, distributing and managing water is an increasing challenge as the state hits 20 million residents and appears to be in another development boom.

"Water is the new oil," said G. George Yilmaz, a panelist with Collier County Utilities. "We need to change our approach to water (and think of it) as a commodity."

Yilmaz was one of several panelists who talked about growth and how it impacts water — from water on the landscape and rivers and bays to water used for irrigation and drinking and washing — at a conference at Florida Gulf Coast University on Friday.

The group spoke to nearly 200 biologists, business owners, professors, students and others.

Concerns ranged from El Nino (which is causing the recent rains), to how to plan for water needs and management in the face of sea level rise, climate change, population increases and, oftentimes, poor water quality.