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Business Observer Friday, Apr. 22, 2016 3 years ago

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In Florida, the politics of water are as complicated as the system of canals and dikes that control flooding south of Orlando.

In Florida, the politics of water are as complicated as the system of canals and dikes that control flooding south of Orlando.

Fortunately, you can now hire a guide to wade through that swamp. Dan DeLisi recently returned to private practice from his stint as chief of staff for the South Florida Water Management District.

DeLisi, now president of DeLisi Land Use Planning & Water Policy in Wellington, is familiar to many business people in Southwest Florida. He represented Bonita Springs-based developer Bonita Bay Group during the housing boom years and founded an engineering firm in Fort Myers in 2006.

As the high-profile water district's chief of staff, DeLisi oversaw external affairs, real estate acquisitions and legislative affairs for a government organization with 1,500 employees and an annual budget of $720 million.

Lately, DeLisi has been speaking with community organizations in the Fort Myers area about the impact of excessive rain in January on Lake Okeechobee and water flows down the Caloosahatchee River. He's sought out for his expertise as an engineer and an understanding of government workings.

As a lunch meeting of the Real Estate Investment Society in Fort Myers recently, DeLisi praised State Rep. Matt Caldwell, R-North Fort Myers, and State Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto, R-Fort Myers. He lauded the legislators for their support of the construction of a giant reservoir in Hendry County, east of Fort Myers. The reservoir will help store water during the rainy season so managers can release it during the dry season when it's needed. “It's a very big deal,” DeLisi says.

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