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August 28, 1978
SSEP 1 978
TO: B. R. Laseter, Director, Department of Operations
FROM: K. H. McKinney, Supervisor, Special Projects Section ui
RE: Quality of Water Improvement Progr m (QWIP)
At the July meeting of the District Governing Board, the staff was requested
to examine the QWIP program for effectiveness, and to review QWIP with the
Alafia River, Peace River and Manasota Basin Boards. These three Basin
Boards have authorized QWIP Programs for their respective basins in the
The accompanying report "Status and Background of the Quality Water
Improvement Program" was prepared by the staff and published in March 1976.
This report gives the background of QWIP with emphasis on the work in
Charlotte County in the Peace River Basin. The report gives significant
details of the development of the embryo QWIP program.
During August, a status report was given to each of the Basin Boards which
have authorized QWIP programs in the past. It was endeavored to establish
a benefit-cost ratio for these programs which would indicate their cost
effectiveness, whether it be favorable or otherwise. In order to establish
a benefit-cost ratio it is necessary to establish a value for water. The
cost of treated water for municipal and industrial purposes is established
and available for various areas. However, the value of raw, untreated water
for agricultural purposes is not so easily obtained. The Institute of
Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) was contacted and this matter was
discussed with several members of their staff. They indicated that the
question of the value of water for agricultural uses was a valid one but
could not establish such a value. Their reticence in this matter can be
understood since such a value would depend upon a number of rather complex
In order to establish the value of water for agricultural purposes, reports
which were available on water problems in the west were consulted. The
subject is addressed in the proceedings of a "Cloud Seeding Seminar"
sponsored by the Utah Department of Natural Resources, Division of Water
Resources, which I attended in July 1975. In one report, "Kings River
Project, Sierra Nevada Mountains, Results of 22 Years of Cloud Seeding",
the value/cost of irrigation water for agriculture in the Central Valley
of California is discussed. In the report it is stated:
If you look at the water value figures for hydro development, you get
about $8 to $15 per acre-foot (325,850 gal. or 1/3 million gallons).
August 28, 1978 Page Two
At the canal site on the west side of the Central Valley, the figures
range from $24 to $40 an acre-foot. If you take a low figure like
$5 an acre-foot .
This statement was used in establishing the value of water. Of course,
there can be no direct comparison between the cost of water for irrigation
in the Central Valley of California and the mid-west coast of Florida.
However, if the value/cost figure used is relatively conservative (low),
the estimated value may be valid.
The figure selected to represent the value of water in this effort to show
that QWIP is cost effective is $0.01/1000 gal. or $10/million gallons. This
figure is not proposed as factual but is an estimate which may well be within
the realm of possibility. Municipal water in the Tampa Bay area costs the
user on the order of $0.40/1000 gal. or $400/million gallons. The city of
New Port Richey pays the District $0.06/1000 gal. or $60/million gallons
for raw water over and above a predetermined amount, from Starkey Well
Field. This may be a punitive rate to encourage conservation, and if so
is probably somewhat higher than the actual value of the water.
ALAFIA RIVER BASIN QWIP
The QWIP Program in the Alafia River Basin has consisted of an inventory
and predominantly well repair effort in a 50 square mile area which roughly
parallels Highway 41 from the Alafia River on the north to the Manatee
County line on the south and from Tampa Bay on the west to a maximum of
2 or so miles east of Highway 41 in the Ruskin area. The east line of
this area is defined by the location at which wells cease to flow.
Within the area of investigation, 723 wells have been inventoried and
field checked. Of this number, 262 have had defects in the headworks which
allowed the wells to flow continually and to waste water. One hundred
& ninety (190) of these wells have been repaired and two wells have been
plugged. It is estimated that all full-flow, these wells are wasting
68 MGD (million gallons per day) of water. It is estimated that the average
flow is between 20-30% of the maximum flow. If the water is valued at
$10/MG and the average flow is only 20% of the maximum, the value of the
water wasted is $49,640/yr. The cost of the QWIP program in the Alafia
River Basin to date is less than $100,000. This indicates that the QWIP
program in the Alafia River Basin is cost effective. This is without
any consideration being given to the value the program has in restoring
aquifer pressures which will reduce if not halt the intrusion of saltwater
due to reduced fresh water aquifer pressures.
PEACE RIVER BASIN QWIP
In the Peace River Basin the QWIP program has been concentrated in the
Alligator Creek and Shell Creek drainage areas of Charlotte County. The
number of wells field checked and inventoried totals 623. Of this number,
August 28, 1978 Page Three
97 are candidates for plugging. A total of 59 wells have been plugged to
date. A proposal for plugging an additional 9 wells has been approved by
the Peace River Basin Board and is pending approval by the District
Governing Board at their September meeting. The average daily flow of
these 68 wells is estimated to be 22 MGD. If this wasted water were
usable and had a value of $0.01/1000 gal. or $10/MG, it would have a value
of $80,300/yr. However, in the Charlotte County area, there is a
combination of wasting good quality water from the upper aquifers and
polluting the good quality water in the upper aquifers with poorer quality
higher pressure water from the lower aquifers. In most of the wells
plugged to date, there has been this dual benefit from the QWIP program.
The dual benefits are conservatively estimated to have had a dollar value
at least equal to the $80,300/yr. estimated value of the wasted water.
By the end of FY 1977-78, it is estimated that $250,000 will have been
spent on QWIP in The Charlotte County area of the Peace Basin. Twenty-
five thousand dollars of this total will have been contributed by
Charlotte County under a cost sharing agreement, whereby, during FY 1977-
78, the County would pay 1/2 of the Contract Cost of plugging wells up to
a maximum County contribution of $25,000. The QWIP program in Charlotte
County appears to have been cost effective.
MANASOTA BASIN QWIP
The QWIP program was not started in the Manasota Basin until FY 1976-77.
Prior to that time Manatee and Sarasota Counties were part of the now
defunct Gulf and Ridge Water Management District. Each of the two counties
has its own well permitting system under the respective County Health
Departments, and each county was inventorying wells with personnel costs
paid for from federal funds acquired under Comprehensive Employment
Training Act (CETA). In addition, Sarasota County had technical staff
who administered their water resource rules and regulations. The
District was requested by Sarasota County to provide to the county
$20,000 in funds which the District acquired when the Gulf and Ridge Water
Management District was dissolved. This money was to be used to fund a
pilot well plugging program in Sarasota County. To date, 9 wells have
been plugged under this pilot program at a cost of $12,618.44. The
indicated costs are payments to the Contractor and do not include any
administrative costs. The wells plugged were not flowing or had low
flows and were able to be plugged by back filling. Most of the wells
plugged were logged with the District's geophysical logger.
District staff, in the summer of 1977, plugged 2 wells off Coquina Beach
on Anna Maria Key. These wells were off shore in the Gulf of Mexico.
They are two of about 40 wells which are off-shore in the gulf. These
wells were at one time located on the off shore or barrier islands of
Manatee and Sarasota Counties but are now located in the gulf because of
erosion, both rapid during hurricanes and normal because of off shore
currents. The District has approximate locations on the remaining wells
August 28, 1978 Page Four
and will launch an effort to precisely locate these wells during FY 1978-
79. Upon precise location, remedial measures can be undertaken if
During this fiscal year, the District staff began a well inventory program
in the area covered by the Palmetto Quadrangle of the 7 1/2' USGS map
series. This is in northwest Manatee County south of the Hillsborough
County line. To date 142 flowing wells have been field checked and
inventoried in this area. Eleven of these wells are candidates for
repair and 12 were candidates for plugging. Five of the candidate wells
for plugging were located near Ellenton within the 1-75 right-of-way.
In a cooperative effort between the Florida Department of Transportation,
their contractor, and the District, these wells were plugged. The
District staff logged these wells using the District geophysical well
logger and designed the plugs. The staff also rendered technical as-
sistance in plugging these wells.
If the average flow of the 23 wells in the Palmetto Quad which have been
found to be wasting water to date is 225 gpm, then the daily flow would
be 7,452,000 gallons. If this water is worth $0.01/1000 gallons or
$10/MG then the yearly flow of this water would have a value of $27,200/yr.
This computation is only for the northwest Manatee County area and does
not consider the wells in Sarasota County and the 2 wells off Anna Maria
Key which have been plugged. The estimated cost of QWIP in the Manasota
Basin at the end of this fiscal year will be $70,000, including the
$20,000 given to Sarasota County. It is estimated that the work on the
remaining 18 wells could be accomplished for less than $30,000. This
would mean that when this is done, the cost of QWIP in the Basin to the
end of this fiscal year would be equaled by the partial benefits, in
5 years. This is, of course, without assigning any positive value to the
other plugging which has been done under the QWIP program in the basin.
Also, no value has been assigned to the positive aspect which the program
has in restoring aquifer pressures which should reduce the rate of
There has been some question raised about the number of wells within the
Manasota Basin. There have been a number of estimates made of how many
wells there are, but without an actual physical inventory there is no
accurate way of determining this number. There are a number of ways of
estimating the possible number of wells in an area. One way is to
extrapolate from a known density of wells. As an example of this, the
Sarasota County Health Department has done a relatively thorough inventory
of 28 sections and located 1400 wells. This is a density of 50 wells/sec.
There are 576 sections + in Sarasota County and by multiplying 576 sections
by 50 wells/sec. it wouTd appear that there could be as many as 28,000
wells in the County. This, of course, is highly unlikely. Another method
would be to base the estimate on the population in areas not served by
municipal water distribution systems. This too could result in error.
August 28, 1978 Page Five
There is no substitute for a physical inventory.
In conclusion, all of the concerned Basin Boards reiterated their support
of the QWIP program.
Attachment: QWIP Report
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