THE TAMPA TRIBUNE, Thursday, August 4, 1983 3-B
State to review applications
for 3 water pumping permits
By GIL, KLEIN The West Coast Re
Tribune Staff Writer The West Coast Regional
A reluctant Southwest Florida Water Manage- Water Supply Authority will
ment District governing board voted Wednesday try out a new state law and
to send to a state hearing officer three water
pumping permit applications that will affect present its permit requests to
much of northwest Hillsborough County. ffi r
The board was responding to a new state law a State hearing officer
that allows water pumping permit applicants to
have their cases heard first by a state hearing
officer rather than by the governing board. ing must be curtailed. Residents who live near
The West Coast Regional Water Supply Au- the well fields worry that if the authority pumps
thority, which is responsible for assuring a water too much water from the aquifer, they will have
supply for Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco coun- trouble pumping water for their own homesand
ties, decided to try out the new law when it ap- nearby lakes will go dry.
plied for pumping permits for three well fields in Proponents of the new law say it is Jesigned
northwest Hillsborough. to take some of the emotion out of water permit-
Two of those well fields Cosme-Odessa and ting. As coastal urban areas require more water,
Section 21 pump water to St. Petersburg. A they must pump more from interior rural areas.
third the new Northwest Regional well field That is leading to increased, conflict between
will supply water to new developments in north- rural residents and urban water suppliers.
west Hillsborough County. Under the new procedure, the permit applica-
The authority's request to send the case to a tions will go to a state-appointed hearing officer.
hearing officer surprised some water manage- who will listen to the cases in a formal proceed-
ment officials because the district staff had spent ing, and compile his findings and recommenda-
months working out a compromise between resi- tions for the governing board.
dents who live near the well fields and the au- The board then can make its own decision
thority. based on the hearing officer's findings.
Margaret Sistrunk, a Keystone resident who A majority of the board opposed the legisla-
has been watching the well field permits care- tion, and their stands conformed to whether they
fully complained, "We have gone from being were from rural or urban areas.
completely at loggerheads to compromise. Now "West Coast (water supply authority) did a
we find we will have to start all over again." disservice to the people of Florida when it got
Ed De la Parte, the authority's attorney, did this legislation passed," said board member Jim
little to calm those fears. He said the authority Kimbrough of Brooksvllle. "I hope in 1984 the
would contest the regulatory levels set by the dis- Legislature will turn it around and put these deci-
trict on those well fields as well as the duration of sions back where they belong before the water
the permit, management district."
Water is pumped from an underground aqui- But board member Michael Zagorac of Clear-
fer, and regulatory levels govern how far the water supported the law.
water level can drop in the aquifer before pump- "The Legislature passed a good law," he said.