Water district votes to defend
rule setting well-pumping limits
By DAVE HANCOCK -1" with property near wells. But the The rule challenge stems from
Tribune Staff Writer t Water Supply Authority argued in the Supply Authority's desire to re-
reio the petition that by limiting pump- new permits at two well fields, Cy-
BROOKSVILL A regional ing, the rule could threaten the wa- press Creek and Cross Bar Ranch.
agency with broad authority over ter supply of more than 1 million Authority officials in the past have
water vowed Wednesday to vigor- people in the Tampa Bay area. acknowledged that the authority is
ously defend well-pumping limits The 5-3-1 rule, which the district in violation of the five-foot portion
that are under attack by the agency adopted in 1974, says a consump- of the rule in some areas near the
that supplies water for most Tampa tive-use permit which governs two well fields.
Bay-area residents. water use should be "more close- In evaluating the two renewal
Members of the governing board ly examined" if the proposed pump- permit applications, staff at the Wa-
of the Southwest Florida after ing would reduce the water level in ter District recommended granting
Management District decided unani- wells by five feet, lower the water the authority an exception to the
mously to defend the limits during a table by three feet or draw down rule, the authority's petition said.
state administrative hearing set for lakes and streams by one foot, said But a third party, Pasco County
March 23 and 24 in Brooksville. The Gary Kuhl, executive director of the rancher Freeman Polk, contended
Water District authorized its staff to Water Management District. the authority should be denied the
hire outside help to defend the rule Repeal of the rule "would per- exception and permits. Polk's ranch
setting the limits. mit (the Water Supply Authority), sits between the two well fields.
The West Coast Regional Water or anybody else, to set a high-vol- Polk has requested an administra-
Supply Authority in September de- ume production well on a small ar- tive hearing on the matter, said Car-
cided to challenge the Water Dis- ea without any consideration for lyn Harper, Water District attorney.
trict's so-called 5-3-1 rule and filed a their neighbors," said district gov- The Supply Authority has no as-
petition for a hearing with the Divi- earning board member Walter Har- surance that the district's governing
sion of Administrative Hearings last kala of Plant City. board will grant exceptions to the
week. Water Supply Authority officials well field rule, and that could jeop-
A Water Management District contend the rule is antiquated and ardize the water supply of Tampa
official said Wednesday that repeal could jeopardize pumping at district Bay area residents, according to the
of the rule would allow excessive well fields, which supply water to petition signed by Supply Authority
pumping to the detriment of people an estimated I million residents. attorney Edward P. de ia Parte Jr.