II 1, ,
November 13, 1972 '
TO: Donald R. Feaster, Executive Director
FROM: Jake D. Varn o
RE: Reflections on Pinellas County Hearing
Although we appear to be moving forward with Pinellas County there are several
unanswered questions that must be resolved. I've set forth below those questions
that are the most pressing.
/ 1. There is no question that the Southwest Florida Water Management
-7 District must have the authority to regulate all water users. This is the only way
the water resources and the water users can be protected. Pinellas County may
resist all regulatory powers at this time but surely they must realize that we are
the only ones who can prevent another well field from developing adjacent to
Eldridge-Wilde. Another well -field adjacent to Eldridge-Wilde would be eco-
nomically and hydrologically disastrous for Pinellas County.
V 2. One strong point about the Pinellas County Water System is that it
covers the entire county. The county doesn't have a number of small systems.
If other counties were to adopt the same policy it would eliminate a lot of
problems. It is much easier to deal with one unit. There are reports of more
than 100 private water systems in west Pasco County. Can you imagine the
problems we'll encounter if we regulate well fields in west Pasco County. Of
course, it is easier to deal with one owner, but the small units have the advan-
tage of spreading the pumping effects. The ideal would be for one owner to
operate the many small units. This would be very desirable in the coastal
3. At this time the Pinellas County Water System is adding more and
more customers at an increasing rate. While demands for water are increasing
the Eldridge-Wilde well field continues to be stressed. The well field is in
trouble, but more and more water is being pumped. According to Pinellas
County's consultants (Black, Crow & Eidsness) the peak demands will exceed
the well field's capacity in 1973 and the earliest possible date for additional
sources is 1975. Under our regulatory effort Eldridge-Wilde will not be able
to produce the quantity of water it now produces as an unregulated well field.
The cutback in pumping will probably be of the same magnitude as in Section
21 there the maximum pumping was 30- mgd and under the regulatory order
the maximum will be between 15 and 18 mgd. At this time Pinellas County is
interested in seeking another 20 mgd, but coupling this addition with the cut-
back of our regulation, the net result is very little increase in water for the
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November 13, 1972
system. Consequently, if the County continues to add more and more customers it
will face a real problem in the future. One possible short range solution would be
an immediate interconnection between St. Petersburg and Pinellas County. With
the new Pasco well field in operation, St. Petersburg will have some surplus water.
While it would be desirable to spread St. Petersburg's pumping for as long as
possible to allow water levels to recover in northwest Hillsborough County, it is
also desirable to reduce the stress in Eldridge-Wilde.
Pinellas County continues to grow, yet it doesn't have water for its people.
It is my opinion that Pinellas County's present plan for expansion is not sufficient
for its future water needs.
Additionally, Pinellas County only looks to other counties for its water.
For the most part these counties are undeveloped, but what will happen when these
counties want to develop and need water and the water is being transported to
Pinellas County? Don't these rural counties of today have the right to expect the
use of their natural resources to support their future growth? If they have this
right, then we must be very careful as we permit others to come into the county
for water supply. Perhaps we need to start pushing more viorously for wateLyWse,
artificial recharge, and programs of this nature, especially in Pinellas County.
4. Reflecting on the District's action with the City of St. Petersburg. At
that time St. Petersburg was the largest water user but it seems apparent that the
Pinellas County system is as large now and growing much faster. With the new
Pasco well field in operation St. Petersburg should be in good shape. Recognizing
that St. Petersburg has already purchased 900 acres in Cypress Creek only rein-
forces the position that St. Petersburg is far ahead of Pinellas County.
5. One of the problems that Pinellas County faces is its obligation to
supply water to its wholesale customers, who are municipalities in Pinellas County.
Pinellas County has entered contracts to supply water to these wholesalers and feel
reluctant to reduce the supply to these wholesalers. It appears that an extensive
program must be conducted in Pinellas County to inform all Pinellas County citizens
of what is going on with respect to their water supply. Pinellas County should be
encouraged to reneaotiate its contracts with its wholesalers in light of existing con-
ditions_ (City of St. Petersburg has taken similar steps with respect to sewage
treatment contracts with municipalities). These small cities contribute to the
problem as much as the retail customers.
These problems are very deep and can't be answered definitely. Much thought must
be given to each of these as I feel we must be able to answer these problems in the
very near future. I would like it very much if we could discuss these items it
would give me some insight as to where we are going.
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