Criti Water- ----
'C ritic is m (Continued from page 1C) Such strong provisions would put
y Along with other statewide conser- reins on water-management districts,
Station groups, the Audubon Society particularly the two South Florida
probably will challenge the water pole districts, where prime goals have
S I. I icy by seeking an administrative hear::: been to dig ditches and build struc-
ing to voice complaints, Lee said in an tures to control flooding, Lee said.
te p.c interview from his Maitland office. "In reality, the water-management
One of the policy's purposes, re- districts are perceive to be cal-
Squired by the 1972 Water Resources ly more powerful than DER,' Lee
J / I \Act, is to coordinate the Department said.
J0 0fL Environmental Regulation with the "If they have a set of policies that
t"^ A )"fif^ invendependent water-management
By BETSY ROBERTSON require them to answer to DER, they
Dmnorat sftf wrftr -districts. are not as free to engage in political
Without abundant clean water, North Florida's Theoretically, Environmental Reg- shenanigans," he added.
farmers and fishermen would see their livelihoods ulation delegates much of its authori- s
-.shrivel to nothing. ty to the districts. "We've had Littlejohn and Cole say the con- I
[ i Farther south, cattle ranchers, citrus growers, fac- problems in the past trying to resolve cerns of conservationists were not ig-
tory workers and resort-hotel operators also must what that means," said Terry Cole, nored during policymaking.
have reliable clean-water supplies. Drinking water, chief lawyer for Environmental Reg- "One of their jobs is to look at the
of course, is essential statewide. ulation. agency and push us," Cole said. "But
To satisfy all those demands without harming If a Feb. 12 draft of the proposed the people being regulated also are
: plant and animal life Florida politicians have been rule is adopted, water-management very concerned not to add unneces-
I struggling for nine years to enact a state water poli- districts will have to review their own sary costs to water consumption."
icy. 1 rules for consistency with general pol- In addition to listening to conserva-
SThe latest proposal, offered last week by the De- icies named in the new rule. Among tionists, Littlejohn said he had con-
% apartment of Environmental Regulation, met sharp those general policies are statements suited with such groups as the Florida
criticism.- like these: Engineering Society, the Florida
i Gutless," conservationists said of the policy, from V An adequate and economical wa- League of Cities, the Florida Farm
"which they felt excluded. ter supply shall be sought for all rea- Bureau and the Florida Chamber of
"Rather confusing," said some Environmental sonable and beneficial uses. Commerce.
Regulation staff members, who complained that they / Wetlands and floodplains shall "Except for a few technically ori-
were not consulted. .. be protected by purchase or regula- ented suggestions, we did not have
"Too specific," said representatives of some indus- tion. much problem with the policy," said
try groups wary of increased regulation. v Sources of water pollution shall Dennis Barton, executive director of
The nine-page, double-spaced document was put be controlled as much as economical- the Florida Engineering Society.
together by Jake Varn, former Environmental Regu- ly and environmentally possible. The new policy proposal still is sub-
lation secretary, and Chuck Littlejohn, lobbyist for the v Local water supplies shall be ject to review and changes before a
department. used as much as possible before water public hearing set for March 27, Lit-
"Nobody's entirely happy," conceded Littlejohn, is transported across management- tlejohn said.
who said the policy was drawn up in consultation with district boundaries. Rodney DeHan is one Environmen-
interest groups and the state's five water-manage- Already, the crowded Tampa Bay tal Regulation staff member who
ment districts. "But I think the policy we've come up area has looked to the spring-fed wa- hopes to see some changes.
with will be more useful than last year's proposed ters of North Florida's Suwannee Riv- "(The policy) was rather confus-
legislation." er as a possible source of drinking k ing," said DeHan, who is in'charg(er'
He was referring to a longer, more detailed water water. the agency's groundwater'section:; :
S policy that passed the Florida House in the 1980 legis- When the U.S. Army Corps of Engi- "Groundwater wasn't specifically
nativee session, but bogged down in the Senate. At that .neers proposed in the mid-1970s to mentioned."
point, Varn and House leaders decided that the policy send some of the Suwannee's water DeHan, along with other agency
S should be adopted as an agency rule rather than as a via pipeline to Tampa, the idea met staffers, said at a workshop last week
law. such opposition in North Florida that that his advice had not been asked in
^ Since last fall, Littlejohn has been traveling the it was shelved. putting together the policy. Since
state to meet with water-management officials and Under the proposed state water pol- then, he said, Littlejohn had promised
interest groups to put together the policy in time for icy, both water management districts to meet with him to discuss groundwa-
this year's Legislature, which opens in April. involved would have to agree before ter protection.
S "We would like to have something in place prior to such a project could be undertaken. "We probably didn't have as much
the legislative session," Littlejohn said Friday. "The That provision is spelled out in a spe- in-house review as we should have,"
legislators can see whether that's enough, or whether cific policy section called "Water Cole said. "We primarily were using
they want to address it by statute." Transport." the expertise from the water-manage-
Before then, the long-awaited policy could get de- Other such headings are "Water ment districts."
railed by conservation groups displeased with what Use," "Water Quality" and "Surface- At least one district official was en-
they see as a lack of specific directives to protect Water Management." thusiastic about the policy.
water quality as well as quantity. But those provisions are not specif- "It's a good first cut," said Bill Mc-
"Our quarrel is with the fact that what is proposed ic enough to protect Florida's re- Cartney, director of the Northwest
is essentially gutless," said Charles Lee, lobbyist for sources adequately and avoid political Florida Water Management District,
the Florida Audubon Society. boondoggles, Lee said. which begins in the middle of Jeffer-
1 (Please see WATER pag 3) "From the very start, DER has son County and includes all Florida
SeaseseeWA R, page worked behind closed doors with in- counties west to the Alabama border.
dustry and the water-management "The criticism seems to be evenly
districts," Lee charged, balanced between industry and envi-
He said the policymakers had ig- ronmental groups that must mean
nored such specific policies as the fol- it's a good compromise," McCartney
lowing, recommended by the Audubon said.
Society: The policy is a well-rounded ap-
V Water-resource projects built to proach that won't preclude the growth
benefit small segments of society of industry and tourism, Cole said.
should be paid for by those who use "If this isn't the end-all, it's more
them. than we've done in the past," Cole
No permits should be issued for said.
water uses that support new develop- Revised copies of the draft policy
ment in floodplains. will be available to the public Friday,
The need for more specific protec- Littlejohn said. To get a copy, call the
tion of groundwater and wetlands also Department of Environmental Regu-
was mentioned by Environmental lation at 488-9334 from 9 a.m. to 4:30
Regulation staff members, p.m. weekdays.