Testimony of Dean Frank E. Maloney, Holland Law Center, University of
Florida, Counsel to the Florida Water Resources Study Commission which
drafted the 1957 Water Resources Law under the authority of which the
S.W.W.M.D. (Regulatory) was created.
Dean Maloney: I feel that the proposed rules and regulations of
S.W.W.M.D. (Regulatory) represent a meaningful step towards the Dis-
trict's objec1f "maximum beneficial utilization, development and
conservation of the water resources of the Regulatory District" and
prevention of the "depletion, deterioration, waste, and unreasonable
use of said resources."
It has been clearly established in the hearings of August 30,
1968 and elsewhere that serious water problems exist within the S.W.W.M.D.
Resolution 268 which set up the S.W.W.M.D. (Regulatory) delineates
a number of such problems. Item 1 of the Resolution, subsections (b),
(c), (e), and (f), sets forth a number of these problems, including a
continuous increase in ground water consumption, a long-term decline in
ground water levels, and evidence of salt-water intrusion in some areas.
The solution to these problems is complex. A careful and compre-
hensive program of water management will be required to maintain and
improve the condition of ground water resources in the area. For this
reason I urge the adoption of the proposed rules and regulations of
S.W.W.M.D. (Regulatory) as the initial stage of such a water manage-
Once the proposed rules and regulations now under consideration
are adopted, the Governing Board should address itself promptly to the
more difficult aspect of the problem--regulation of consumptive use.
This was the purpose contemplated for such districts by the Florida
Water Resources Study Commission which drafted the provision of Chapter
373 authorizing the establishment of water regulatory districts.
Control over well drillers, well-construction standards and an
inventory of wells are desirable, but the real purpose of a water
regulatory district is to regulate consumptive use when necessary to
protect the resources of thkedistrict. Dr. Vernon ofFlorida Board
of Conservation, Division of Geology, testified at the public hearing
on August 30, 1968 that increased withdrawals of ground water have led
to a decline of lake levels and declining water tables at the ground
surface, particularly in those areas where large water supplies are
being developed. [Hearing, Aug. 30, 196?at 77.] Mr. Brashears,
Consulting Hydrologist for the City of St. Petersburg, in his testi-
mony at the same hearing agreed that wider spacing of wells and re-
duced pumping levels would be helpful in alleviating the ground water
depletion in some areas. [Hearing, Aug. 30, 196Tat 162-163.]
Demands by industrial, agricultural and municipal users will
continue to increase. S.W.W.M.D. (Regulatory) should develop regula-
tions now to insure that these future demands will be met. The elim-
ination of waste and unreasonable use should play a prominent part
in these efforts. Dr. Gyarcigf-Bengochea stated at the same hearing
that ample supplies of water are available and that the problem is one
of water management and optimum development rather than the availability
of water. He also agreed that new well fields must be properly spaced
with respect to existing well fields. [Hearing, Aug. 30, 1968 at 274J
As Mr. Frank Andrews, a geologist speaking in behalf of Hillsborough
County at the public hearing in August 1968 stated: "The problem I
don't think is a problem of well construction. I believe it is one
of large withdrawals of water from small areas of land, and these small
areas of land simply have to be isolated and surrounded and gotten
away from where the population is, or where the pumping has to be
reduced." Regulations with respect to consumptive use are needed to
make possible the accomplishment of these objectives.
One model for placing reasonable restrictions on over-withdrawals
can be found in New Jersey [see 58 N.J. Stat. Ann. 4A-1] In that
state the Division of Water Policy and Supply of the State Depart-
ment of Conservation has authority to delineate critical areas
where diversion of subsurface waters threatens or impairs the natural
replenishment. In these critical areas permits from the Division
must be obtained for withdrawals in excess of a minimum amount al-
lowed for domestic use.
An additional reason for prompt development of additional rules
and regulations permitting management of water resources by S.W.W.M.D.
(Regulatory) is the threat of impending regulation of water resources
by the Hillsborough County Water Conservation District. Regulation
at the county-level was suggested at the Florida-wide hearings before
the Florida Water Resources Study Commission in 1956. That Commission
felt, however, that regulation at the county-level would be undesirable
from a hydrologic viewpoint, and the 1957 Water Resources Law specifically
required that regulatory districts "conform as nearly as practicable
to a hydrologically controllable area based on ground water and re-
charge area with appropriate consideration for surface water." Fla.
Stat. 373.142 (c) (3) (1967).
The S.W.W.M.D. is now faced with the possibility of county-level
regulation of the sort the 1957 Water Resources Law sought to avoid.
The proposed regulations of the Hillsborough County Water Conservation
District dated Aug. 1, 1968 contemplate broad regulation of consumptive
If S.W.M.D. (Regulatory) delays meaningful regulation of consumptive
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use in areas where serious water problems exist, the Hillsborough
District undoubtedly will assume this function in the area within its
In summary, I would recommend that S.W.W.M.D. (Regulatory) adopt
the proposed Rules & Regulations it is considering today, but that it
also initiate further rules and regulations in the near future to con-
trol location, spacing, and withdrawals from wells in those areas
where ground water resources are endangered. The existence of water
problems sufficiently severe to require regulation has been clearly
established. Indeed, they form the legal basis for the creation of
the Regulatory District. In my opinion that District now has the
obligation to make use of the power given to it under 373.171 of
Florida Statutes to establish additional rules and regulations with
respect to consumptive use of water in critical areas for the protection
of the water supplies and water users in those areas to the end that
maximum beneficial utilization, development and conservation of the
water resources of the District may be assured in the best interests
of all of the people in the District.