Environmental Network Update
West Coast Regional Water Supply Authority has filed with the
Division of Administrative Hearings a Petition for Administrative
Determination of the Invalidity of [Southwest Florida Water
Management District] Rule 40D-2.301(3) (b),(c) and (d) (commonly
known as the 5-3-1 Rule). (WCRWSA v. SWFWMD, February 15, 1988.)
West Coast also filed with Southwest Florida Water Management
District a Petition to Initiate Rulemaking, to replace the
District's 5-3-1 rule with another rule proposed by West Coast.
West Coast was created pursuant to Section 373.1962, Fla. Stat.,
in 1974 by inter-local agreement between the governments of
Hillsborough, Pinellas, and Pasco Counties, and the cities of
Tampa and St. Petersburg. It is authorized to supply water
within the participants' boundaries.
The 5-3-1 rule prohibits withdrawals that would lower the
potentiometric surface by more than 5 feet, the water table by
more than 3 feet, or lake levels by more than 1 foot unless good
cause is shown for granting an exception to these provisions.
The rule has been in effect since 1975.
Eight consumptive use permits have been issued to West Coast
under the criteria of the 5-3-1 rule. In most instances these
permits were issued under a rule exception, even though the
proposed withdrawal would exceed part of the 5-3-1 rule.
Although these permits were issued under such conditions; now, in
its Petition, West Coast states that pending CUP renewals could
be denied on the basis of the 5-3-1 rule and, for various
reasons, and agrees that the 5-3-1 rule is arbitrary and
capricious and should be invalidated.
The matter has been referred to Hearing Officer Don Conn, who has
scheduled a hearing on the matter for March 23 and 24, 1988 at
SWFWMD Board room in Brooksville.
In a parallel action, West Coast also filed a petition with
SWFWMD to initiate rulemaking for the purpose of amending the
District's rules by deleting the 5-3-1 portion.