J ST. PETERSBURG TIMES 1 I--)AY, APRIL 5, 1976 ....-. -...-
SI, M EANW HILE, McAteer said, northwest Hillsbor-
ough County is "a mess" because of the amount of water
..<-.- 'that has been taken from that area. Other counties are tak-
c1* .i, ing restrictive measures to protect themselves.
: .... ,^. .* There can be plenty of water for growth along coastal
5 Florida, McAteer said but itawill require careful planning to
spread out the pumping and to avoid damaging the envi-
S.. Growth can be realized not only in Pinellas but also
along the coast, he said. "The problem is bigger than Pinel-
las. ." he said. "West Pasco has and is headed for more
c -. 'For the first problems." Levy, Citrus and Hernando counties have to be
S : time, I believe able to develop also, he said, "under their own guidelines."
that a year THE NEW WEST Coast Regional Water Supply Au-
from now the thority, a joint effort by Tampa Bay area governments to
i find new sources of water, can together with Swiftmud
Problem will be start to make this happen, McAteer said.
.// :j solved." i The political realities of the battles over water supply
.....' .... ../ --- 5 Derrill S. may make the regional cooperation that McAteer talks
McAteer about hard to achieve. Pinellas officials are concerned
; cAteer about what they say are too expensive, rural-oriented pol-
'7 ]1icies of Swiftmud that favor large rural landholders. Many
non-urban counties are equally wary of water-hungry Pi-
." ..... nellas.
'. '. ;. i ": Pinellas got in the water-short situation it did because
..i ., '' it "didn't look far enough ahead," relied too much on high-
": I. - density wellfields and refused to look at other sources of
S\. Z water, McAteer said.
f ,... ad With Cypress Creek developed with the assistance of
,"' ,m..j,-- ^^-i:- ^Swiftmud and the new regional water-supply agency,
-, *': "things are going in a much better direction," he said.
y > i Swiftmud, he added, "is looking for solutions."
S,^f.. C ,:, j"We're not looking for someone to blame," McAteer
Off cial sees
.\ sc "THERE NEVER has been a rural-oriented decision
on the board," he said. But for the urban areas, he said, the
e sia, t s t r c t people who have large open lands in rural areas "are their
.. .. i life blood.
19M 8 m1 n "Their land absorbs the water that Pinellas has to
S I itS O n have,"hesaid.
s. The West Coast Regional Water Supply Authority
"ought to be going to those who hold large tracts" for water,
W a r G uI s e : he said, and connect those water supplies to the 84-inch
e r s e pipeline running to the Cypress Creek Wellfield.
At the same time, "I say to the people, 'Sell it at a price
By PATRICK McMAHON that's reasonable that Pinellas can afford,' he said.
St. Petersburg Times Staff Writer Pinellas does not have to acknowledge water rights, he said,
BROOKSVILLE While Pinellas County residents it can say it is only paying for access to the water. The key,
began another sprinkling ban last week, a regional water of- he emphasized, is to "spread out the pumping," so that no
ficial said that he foresees an end to the year-after-year one is damaged by it.
strict limits on water use. ;- THE PROSPECT of a court battle with Pinellas does
Once the new Cypress Creek Wellfield in Pasco County not worry the confident McAteer. "That's fine with me," he
"is in operation and with prompt action by the new West said. The Swiftmud board is charged with protecting the
Coast Regional Water Supply Authority, a solution may be resource, not representing the people, he said. Representa-
at hand, the official said. ? tion on a one-man, one-vote basis would be a "disaster," he
^ said, because it "gives the have-nots control of the re-
"FOR THE FIRST time, I believe that a year from source."
now the problem will be solved," said Derrill S. McAteer, "If they want to use us as a political whipping boy,
board chairman of the Southwest Florida Water Manage- that's okay, McAteer said. "We've got pretty tough skin."
M e e eiona h as kyto he solution, However, the more attacks on Swiftmud, the more the
harmony that he says Swiftmud is trying to foster rural counties the source of water worry, he said. "Pi-
mny hat h ay t in t f nellas County is bringing this on themselves, he said. "If
"The inland areas must recognize the problems of coast- they continue the attack, the small counties are beginning
al areas and provide them with water," he said. But at the ^ th onry. They are already gearing up for a fight."
same time, coastal areas must recognize that they "don't
have the right to damage the inland in taking it," he said.
ON THURSDAY, customers of the Pinellas County
water system were ordered not to water their lawns during
daylight. Most other water systems, including St. Peters-
burg's, called for voluntary sprinkling bans. (The bans do
not include shallow wells, which are encouraged for sprin-
kling.) Lack of rainfall and adequate water supplies necessi-'
tated the water-conservation measures.
Pinellas County has little water beneath it, and has
been forced to seek water supplies beyond its boundaries to
meet its needs during the dry season (usually early March
to early June.) The county's growth and increased appetite
for water have created a number of battles with neigh-
boring counties that have water. Most of these battles have
come before Swiftmud.
Swiftmud is the regional agency that decides who
should take how much water from the ground for what pur-
poses. Swiftmud regulation of Pinellas County in its search
for water has angered many county officials.
Of the 15-county Swiftmud area, Pinellas has about
one-third of the population, but only one of nine votes on
"the Swiftmud board. Last week, the Pinellas County Com-
mission authorized a suit against the agency seeking better