14B ST. PETERSBURG TIMES THURSDAY, DECEMBER 2, 1976
Are pay-by-the-gallon water bills in future ?
By DAVID M. SNYDER Swiftmud has a financial interest. values when governments attempt water acquisition and studies, he
St. Petersburg Times Staff Writer to condemn land for wellfields. said.
BROOKSVILLE A regional Cypres Creek to thWellfield, half- In other action, Swiftmud ap-
water board Wednesday proposed a owned by Swiftmudthe an would Feaster said he does not intend proved a permit allowing Pinellas
pay-by-the-gallon plan for water cost Pined by Swiftmuiden plan wouldra for Swiftmud to apply the cost per- County to pump up to 5-million
pumped from board-owned well- $600,000 a year for water if these an extra gallon charge to the Cypress Creek gallons of water a day from the East
fields. A St. Petersburg water offi- field s developed to it expected andllfield because St. Petersburgaid halfof Lake Tarpon.llf which i
cial said the plan could be an expen- 30-million-gallon-a-day capacity, the land P inellas County paid halfof of Lake Tarpon.
sive precedent. he said. an acquisition cos. Pinellas, in turn, agreed to
William Duynslager, St. Peters- abandon its plan to develop the
William Duynslager, St. Peters Duynslager said Swiftmud Instead, he said, it would apply easternmost portion of the well-
burg utilities director, said the plan, would be establishing a precedent to future wellfields purchased by field, a plan that drew protests from
proposed by the Southwest Florida by setting a value for water rights Swiftmud for development by pub- Hillsborough County residents who
Water Management District, could on property. Property owners could lic water suppliers. The per-gallon feared that too much pumping
increase the cost of Pinellas resi- easily demand money for those wa- fee collected in the future would be along the Pinellas-Hillsborough
dents' drinking water 10 per cent if ter rights in addition to regular land used as "seed money" for additional County line would dry their lakes.
it is applied universally.
As proposed, the plan would af-
fect only new pumping from the Board takes step toward
Starkey Wellfield, owned by the wa- o ard takes step toward
ter district (commonly known as e = . w ater iqua- L N
Swiftmud) and operated by the ending water squabble
City of New Port Richey.
By DAVID M. SNYDER wellfield. A complicated procedure, ney, said that he has begun work
New Port Richey now uses the st. Petersburg Times Staff Writer it ties water use to the amount of with attorneys for Pinellas, St. Pe-
otiend t si t te o BROOKSVILLE A regional land owned or controlled by the tersburgand the authority on aspe-
bought the wellfield, New Port water board Wednesday agreed to user. cial rule that primarily would apply
Richey is getting a "free ride" while work with Pinellas County, St. Pe- St. Petersburg and Pinellas, to public water suppliers.
other governments have to buy land tersburg and a three-county water forced to go outside the county for Derrill S. McAteer, Swiftmud
for wellfields. supply authority to develop a spe- much of their water, contend that board chairman, endorsed the idea
cial pumping rule for public water if the rule were strictly applied, of a special rule for public suppliers
Donald Feaster, Swiftmud's ex- suppliers. they would be required to buy or as long as strict environmental con-
ecutive director, suggested that The special rulewould replace a lease thousands of acres to get trols are established to prevent re-
New Port Richey should pay 6 cents rule that Pinellas and St. Peters- enough water. currency of "past abuses."
per 1,00C gallons of water pumped burg officials contend is too restric- The West Coast Regional Water St. Petersburg and Pinellas
for any expansion of the city's tire. Agreement could end long- Supply Authority, created to end have been accused of taking so
pumping in the Starkey Wellfield. standing squabbles that have cost water wars between Pinellas, Pasco much water from wells in Pasco and
The per-gallon charge would be re- Pinellas residents thousands of and Hillsborough counties, also has Hillsborough that lakes have been
turned to Swiftmud to finance wa- dollars in legal fees. opposed the rule, saying it is "too re- sucked dry.
ter-finding and wellfield environ- The existing rule is used by the strictive" for public suppliers. McAteer said he owns a once-
mental studies. Southwest Florida Water Manage- A legislative watchdog commit- bountiful ranch near St. Peters-
Duynslager said the pay-by- ment District (commonly known as tee has found the rule illegal and un- burg's Pasco wellfield that now
the-gallon plan could also be ap- Swiftmud) in determining how acceptable. "won't even grow cactus" because
plied to other wellfields in which much water can be pumped from a L. M. Blaine, a Swiftmud attor- of the city's pumping.
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