SThe show opened at a confer- His opinion changed with
a ence room in a Tampa Holiday Inn Swiftmud's decision that Pasco had
Sand drew enough interest to spill been overpumped. "Guess what.
i elin es the list of speakers into a second I'm here to speak nice things about
p ipe iin es meeting today. 'them," he said. "I like them today.
"Florida's water problems have -The reason I like them today is
fo r wv after been most acute in the Tampa Bay -they're listening to my special in-
The Southwest Florida Water The groups that dislike Swift-
"4_The groups ta dislike Swift
management District, or Swift- ud today include
Su rg 4ud, responded with an emergen- e Tampa Bay's public water sup-
.cy order to lower water use and a ers, have been ordered to re-
,t long-term plan to reduce ground- tle hae bee rer e e
;I Tampa Bay utility waterr pumping from the affected Roy Davis, president of the
Officials advocate the idea Seawiftmud's plan combines wa- Hilorugh Cnty Farm Bu-
-reau, suggested reducing Swift-
Sat one of a series of ter conservation and new wells ud's staff by 30 lo
hearings on state water th technologies such as desalina- olishing its governing board, ter
olicies.on and reuse of highly treated inating its budget to acquire
policies. after from sewer systems. Its nds for preservation and using
plan does not propose water pipe- the money to develop new water
By DAVID OLINGER ines,- a politically volatile remedy sources.
Tim.s Staff writer" eared by rural counties, opposed
TAy environmental groups and ruled
4 TAMPA The directors of Iout by Gov. Lawton Chiles.
^Tampa Bay's largest municipal Urban utility officials fear
utilities want Florida to consider Swiftmud's plan will leave their
pumping water to its thirsty cities cities short of water and unable to
via long-distance pipelines. accommodate population growth.
", David Tippin, Tampa's water 4 "There will be a building ban.
director, told a legislative commis- The water is not there for
sion Thursday that importing wa- growth," St. Petersburg utilities
,ter is one answer to the chronic director Bill Johnson predicted at
shortages and pumping restric- 'the hearing.
'tions plaguing Florida's second "Moving water around inland
largest metropolitan area. is something that can't be dis-
"Moving water is very simple. counted" as an answer, he said.
It's been done in California for 80 i While city utility directors
years," he said. "It's been done in ;called for major policy changes, a
Italy for 2,500 years." diverse group of witnesses en-
In Florida, water is not piped :dorsed Florida's water manage-
from one region to another. The ment system and spoke up for a
state is divided into five water regulatory agency that sometimes
management districts, and each is seems bereft of friends.
expected to supply water to people Kay Allen, representing the
from sources within its district League of Women Voters, com-
lines,. mended the water management
Tippin challenged that limita- districts' efforts to protect and
tion, saying, "water management !preserve "our most basic life-giv-
Idistrict lines can probably be neu- iing resource water."
tralized for the good of the popula- i Oldsmar Mayor Jerry Proven-
"tion." -. zano called Swiftmud an agency
He offered those criticisms on 'that "has always been responsive
the opening day of what is certain .to our needs," from parkland to
to be a long and emotional debate drainage plans to developing a re-
about Florida's water policies. ;claimed water system.
The Water Management Dis- Pasco County administrator
rict Review Commission, created ;John Gallagher told the commis-
fy a legislative act, will seek public ;sion that for a decade, his county
comment on those policies at a ;battled in vain while the urban
series of hearings around the utilities and their "buddies" from
state. -Swiftmud drained its groundwater
sand sent it to neighboring cities.
;Lack of foresight, e .* i
"not rainfall, cause
of water shortage .
. This is in reference to Pinellas
'County Commissioner Chuck
v 'Rainey's recent call for a state- -
wide water policy. His is the
first suggestion I've heard about water
management that makes sense. As a
builder/developer who came to Florida
20 years ago, having built in the water-
scarce communities of Los Angeles, Tuc-
son, Phoenix and Denver, I find it ludi-,
crous to characterize our water shortage
as a "supply" problem. The problem is
distribution, not supply.
Florida has plenty of water. With the
second-highest rainfall in the country and
one of the largest freshwater aquifers of
any state in the country, the only prob-
lem is getting our water to our relatively
Slow population of 14 million people,
which in the past was concentrated on RICHARD MULHOLLAND/
both coasts. We have been spoiled with Los Angeles Times illustration
the fact that we have not had to distrib-
ute water very far to satisfy our popula- businesses to provide the lifestyle Ameri-
tion growth. cans need and want. It's unconscionable
In comparison, metropolitan New that urban population areas suffer when
York City, which has about as large a our government agencies can't figure out
population concentrated in one area as the simplest matter of distributing water
Florida has in the entire state, has built within the state for minor distances -
up a series of reservoirs and aqueducts to say, 100 to 200 miles.
provide water from hundreds of miles Having water management districts
away. and areas within the state fighting turf
If you want to talk supply shortage, go battles ignores the fact that water, like
to Tucson, Phoenix or Denver, where wa- air, does not know these boundaries. It is
ter wells are sunk thousands of feet to only natural that a statewide policy to
reach the aquifers. Or go to cities in distribute water wherever needed be de-
Southern California, where water has to veloped.
be transported hundreds of miles via the Commissioner Rainey's call focuses
-Colorado River from the Rocky Moun- on our historical failure to distribute. The
'tains. agency controlling the water manage-
It is simple economics to know that ment obfuscates the issues by claiming
the two primary resources that made our an artificial shortage to be a real short-
country prosper were the low cost of en- age. This "Chicken Little the sky is
ergy and an abundant supply of water. falling" policy results in a self-created
One of the fastest ways to stifle our econ- shortage. Let's get our act together and
omy is to ration these resources. The wa- adopt Rainey's suggestion as the first step
: ter restrictions artificially imposed in our in correcting our own falsely created
area are unnecessary and extremely shortage.
counterproductive for economic growth, ALFRED HOFFMAN JR.
as well as an imposition on people and Plant City