Title: "Governor's Conference on Water Management in South Florida; Final Draft for Plenary Session." 1972. 17p.
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00052495/00001
 Material Information
Title: "Governor's Conference on Water Management in South Florida; Final Draft for Plenary Session." 1972. 17p.
Physical Description: Book
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida
Funding: Digitized by the Legal Technology Institute in the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.
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Bibliographic ID: UF00052495
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: Levin College of Law, University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

Full Text

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There is a water crisis in South Florida today. This crisis has

long-range and short-range aspects. Every major water area in South

Florida basin--Everglades National Park, the conservation areas, Lakq

Okeechobee and the Kissimmee Valley--are steadily deteriorating in

quality from a variety of polluting sources that are detailed below.

The quantity of water, though potentially adequate for, today's demand,

cannot now be managed effectively over wet-dry cycles to assure a

minimum adequate water supply in extended drought periods.




To initiate an action program to solve problems in the area of water

quantity, a careful assessment must be made of water demands linked to

projected growth. For an adequate long range water supply, the State

must have an enforceable comprehensive land and water use plan. This

plan must be developed immediately. It must be designed to limit

population increases--with their attendant demands on the water

supply--to a level that will insure a quality environment. Such a

management plan would include as its first objective a complete inven-

tory and assessment of long-range water resources. The controlling

factor in this water resource assessment should be the water supply

that can be anticipated in times of shortest supply. The result of

this planning effort would be a water budget system. based on available

resources. This system would serve as a limitation on allowable

population increases.



Water quality is a far graver problem in the long run than is water

quantity. The quality of the water in the South Florida water basin

is deteriorating. This deterioration stems from the introduction into

the basin of pesticides, herbicides, animal and industrial wastes,

heavy metals, salt water, sewage, and heated waters. Channelization

has contributed substantially to the process of deterioration. Water

quality in the basin may be restore and maintained by:

1. Zoning or acquiring the flood plains at the upper end of the basin;

2. Reflooding the Kissimmee marshes;

3. Initiating a comprehensive treatment program to treat pollutants at

the source before they enter the water system. This will necessitate

initiation of treatment procedures in agricultural areas and up-

grading existing procedures in urban areas;


4. Phasing out back pumping into Lake Okeechobee, or requiring effective

treatment at the source before back pumping.


There should be no further draining of wetlands for any purpose. A

minority position held that limited drainage of wetlands to serve a

clear public interest, under strict controls, may be justified. As an

initial step in controlling the grainage of wetlands, it is recommended

that Chapter 298 of the Florida Statutes be repealed. Wetlands are the

most biologically productive of all lands. The need to preserve them

stems from their value for recreation, water storage, aquatic productiv-

ity, cleansing of nutrients, and for aquifer recharge.

A program should be initiated to reflood the marshes of the Kissimmee

Valley and agricultural lands not presently in production below Lake

Okeechobee. The i ial efforts should be pilot projects that can



provide a clearer assessment of the benefits and techniques of reflooding.

It is crucial to reverse the proce-s of the steady loss of muck. Re-

flooding is the primary method for accomplishing this objective. This

program should include the acquisition and consolidation of lands by

the State in selected areas north of Conservation Area Three and/or

"near Conservation Area Two as a major pilot program. Its purpose shall

be to determine the effect of controlling water levels, filtering

pollutants, and recycling wastes to build up muck soils.

Muck conservation programs should be coordinated and pursued immediately

by the Flood Control District and Trustees of the Internal Improvement

Trust Fund. Even if mucklands are not used for agriculture, their pre-

servation and restoration are necessary to maintaining the ecological

balance of the South Florida basin.

Reestablishment of sawgrass may be the best solution to replenishment


of the mucklands. However, other approaches should be considered on

an experimental basis, including the use of organic material such as

sewage sludge.


The State and appropriate regional agencies must develop a comprehensive

land and water use plan with enforcement machinery to limit population.

This is especially crucial in the South Florida region. The population

level must be one that can be supported by the available natural re-

sources, especially water, in order to sustain a quality environment.

A State comprehensive land and water use plan would include an assess-

ment of the water quality and water quantity. Moreover, it would set

density controls on further development by regions and sub-regions.

This recommendation presumes that there is a limit to the number of

people which the South Florida basin can support and at the same time

maintain a quality environment.



Localized ground water problems are common in south Florida, but they

are especially severe in South Dade County, Naples and Fort Myers.

Ground water contamination and depletion problems include salt water

intrusion, uncontrolled drilling of wells, drainage well pollution,

septic tanks, and sanitary land fills.

Solutions to ground water problems include:

A. A state drilling code requiring licensing of well drillers;

B. Purchase or zoning of lands to protect recharge areas;

C. Pluging of abandoned artesian wells;

D. Installation of secondary controls in major canals to hold higher

heads of water east of the conservation areas;

E. Construction of additional salt water intrusion control facilities,

according to a salinity control line established along the entire

South Florida Coast.


Water quality, quantity, and development controls described elsewhere

in this report also will improve ground water conditions in the basin.


The South Florida water resources can be understood only by a consider-

ation of the entire area commencing with the Kissimmee Valley chain of

Lakes in the north, extending southward through Lake Okeechobee and

the Everglades including the Big Cypress. Any significant change in

water quality or quantity in one part of thq total area must be con-

sidered in light of its effects on the rest of the system.

The Kissimmee Valley

Pollutants entering the Kissimmee Valley have cumulative adverse effect

on water quality in Lake Okeechobee. The Kissimmee Lakes and marshes

should be restored to their historic conditions and levels to the

greatest extent possible in order to improve the quality of the water

entering Lake Okeechobee.


Action should be taken to restore fish resources and wildlife habitats.

Contamination by pastured livestock must be reduced. Techniques should

be investigated to increase restoration to the natural condition of se-

lective areas by use of advanced waste disposal and composting materials.

Lake Okeechobee

recognizing that lake Okeechobee is the hub of water quantity and quality

$n South Florida, the most important and over-riding consideration

should be not only to maintain the present quality of the lake but also

to enhance it. Specific consideration should be given to assure that

all water inputs into Lake Okeechobee are of high quality.

Two primary inputs which could enhance the quality are (1) reflooding

of the Kissimmee Valley and (2) assuring that only high quality water

is back pumped into the lake. In addition, we should consider the

following ways to assure water of high quality in the lake:


a. an appropriate monitoring and enforcement program;

b. allowing a maximum high water level mark of seventeen and one-

half feet;

c. allowing no cattle inside the diked area of the lake;

d. all chemical control of aquatic weeds should give way to mehani-

cal harvesting, and;

e. nutrient removal by periodic commercial harvesting of the lake's

extensive fish population with the exception of large mouth bass.

Everglades Outside the Park

Everything possible should be done to retain and enhance those areas in

their natural condition, and there is a need for continuous monitoring

and control of these water resources since they provide the supplies to

total South Florida area, including urban areas. A specific objective

should be to maintain and restore the sawgrass.


It is important that land use controls be established immediately in

the Big Cypress to control development and to preserve this area for

the public benefit. Other potentially valuable areas that need pro-

tection are the Shark River Slough and the general area near Canal III.

Everglades National Park

We should attempt to maintain the water quality and quantity of the

Park adequate for the purpose for which it was created. All exotic

plants and animal should be controlled and eliminated in the Park and

throughout the Everglades area.


An inter-agency committee should be established to consider short term

water management problems. The purpose of this committee shall be to

develop an ecologically sound body of guidelines and policy to be

followed in the resolution of short term problems of the region.


Further, there should be an educational program to alert the public to

the possibilities and consequences of water shortage.

Fire Prevention and Control

Through programmed burning maintain an approximation of the original

fire regime of the area. There should be controlled burning to protect

the natural plant and animal systems and to prevent undesirable build

up of plant materials. Mar should be excluded from critical areas in

times of drought. Fire Law q would be strictly enforced.

Intrusion, of Salt Water

To prevent the intrusion of salt water within the coastal areas, the

fresh water head should be maintained as high as feasible. When a

water shortage is anticipated, restriction of water use will be neces-

sary in order to maintain this head of fresh water during the drought.

Temporary dams should be built on canals when necessary, with an emer-

gency system of permitting established to allow construction of such dams.


During droughts, navigation service should be restricted in order to

reduce loss of fresh water.

Canals should not be constructed which would allow salt water intrusion

inland of the salt water line. Appropriate local laws should be

established and enforced.

Establishment of Water Priorities

Since there is competition for water by agriculture, urban areas,

esturaies and the National Park it is recommended that the total water

supply be considered a common resource. Survival of the entire South

Florida eco-system, without sacrificing any segment, should be the prime

consideration. Maintaining the head of fresh water should be given

first priority. The inter-agency committee should propose priorities in

its over-all plan.

Regulation of Water Use in Cities

A model water use priority ordinance should be developed for use by


all affected areas, establishing a series of consumptive controls,

based on the degree of water shortage.

Desirability of Cloud Seeding

Cloud seeding is not considered a short term solution. There was a

division of opinions on the desirability of cloud seeding, primarily

due to a lack of knowledge. There is an opinion that cloud seeding may

be more effective in producing a water supply during the wet season to

mitigate low water supplies during the dry season. However, further

research is needed.

Schedules of Water Levels in Lake Okeechobee and the Conservation


The inter-agency committee should develop and maintain close coordination

between the Army Corps of Engineers, the Flood Control District, the

Game Commission and the Department of the Interior to establish water


levels in Lake Okeechobee and the Conservation Areas as well as

establishing delivery to the Conservation Areas and to Everglades

National Park.


Water management must be coordinated at the State and regional levels.

At the State level there must be an agency or board that has all power

necessary to development and implementation a comprehensive land and

water use plan for the State. The agency or board, whichever it may

be, should report to the Governor.

A regional agency for South Florida shall be established. It shall

develop and implement a regional comprehensive land and water use

plan in accordance with the State plan. The regional board shall be

composed of nine (9) members appointed by the Governor. The board

shall represent the diverse interests in the region. Three year


staggered terms shall be used.

The geographical boundary of the South Florida regional land and water

management agency shall be the Kissimmee River Basin, the Okeechobee

Basin, the Everglades, and the Big Cypress Watershed.

The regional land and water management agency shall be responsible

for managing water quality and quantity for the long term benefit of

the environment of the region and the State. Specifically, the agency

shall be responsible for such activities as drainage, water use, well

drilling, land use, esturaies, watershed management, flood control,

and soil conservation.

The regional agency shall have all powers necessary to develop and

implement the regional land and water use plan including, but not limited

to, taxing powers, eminent domain, and police powers such as inter-

vention to protect the environment, permits for drainage districts

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and canals, subpoena and investigative powers, and research properly

coordinated with other agencies.

The regional agency shall be required by the state to relate to and

coordinate with duly constituted state and regional organizations

operating in other functional areas.

Finally, the conference recognizes that present funding for environ-

mental protection must be enlarged to accomplish the common goal of

protecting the economic and environmental values of this State.

The citizens who have participated in this Governor's

Conference on Water Management in South Florida in

plenary session assembled acknowledge and applaud the

foresight and courage demonstrated by Governor Reuben

O' D Askew in convening this meeting and offer their

continuing support in accomplishing the objectives

set forth in this statement.

:. ,. ^

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