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Supplier fights water shortage plan

The region's largest water supplier filed a petition Monday to block a possible vote today that could require it to make serious water conservation efforts.

"We believe that the proposed water shortage order is unacceptable," said Harold Aiken, general manager of West Coast Regional Water Supply Authority.

Aiken said the scheduled vote today by the Southwest Florida Water Management District, or Swiftmud, "is an inappropriate function for the water management district." Swiftmud oversees water resources in 16 counties in West Central Florida.

Swiftmud board members will consider the petition, as well as a proposed water shortage order, at ameeting today in Brooksville, Aiken said.

In a meeting in Tampa 10 days ago, Swiftmud considered imposing conservation measures but delayed action until today so Swiftmud and West Coast staffers could discuss their differences. Swiftmud officials could not be reached for comment late Monday.

According to a news release issued by the agency Monday night, the proposed plan would: encourage conservation and consequently preserve habitat; provide for public awareness of water issues and links between pumping too much water and environmental damage; require planning for the development of new water resources; require planning for the strategic use of existing water supplies; and hold Cosme-Odessa water well field to its historical pumping capacity of 8.4-million gallons per day.