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Friday, March 28, 2008

Marion gets price tags for water alternatives

Published March 26, 2008
Marion County officials will be in Sanford this week to learn the latest on how different plans to ensure the region's water supply might affect local residents.

One of them is the Coquina Coast plant already under discussion for possible construction in Flagler County. The other possible desalination plant, also on the Atlantic coast, would serve utilities the water management district once included in talks to pump the Ocklawaha River, St. Johns spokesman Hank Largin said.

Neither of them is cheap. The Coquina plant has a price tag of $1.28 billion, including a pipeline. Marion's share is estimated at $542 million, should the county go for that plan. The desalination plant for the Ocklawaha utilities has a total price tag of nearly $1.8 billion, with a $309 million share for Marion.

The plan to pump the Ocklawaha has a total $811 million price tag and Marion's contribution is projected at $158 million. The Marion County Commission has told the water management district it objects to any plan to pump the Ocklawaha before the district establishes minimum flows and levels for the river. Commissioners believe that pumping water from the Ocklawaha is not a long-term solution and could do environmental harm to the river.

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