AN ASSESSMENT OF WATER RESOURCE MANAGEMENT ISSUES AND OPTIONS
This is the summary of the first volume of a five-volume series
dealing with policies and procedures for addressing Florida's water and
related land resources problems. It addresses the water resource
management issues and options that are included in the State
Comprehensive Plan. The following volumes deal comprehensively with
major water management issues, water-use trends, and state water
resources planning processes and implementing strategies.
Numerous policy options for dealing with the twenty-one water-
related subjects presented in the Florida 1985 State Comprehensive Plan
are presented. They are grouped into eight categories for clarification
and ease of understanding: water use and allocation; surface-water
management; groundwater protection and management; protection and
management of natural systems: data networks and monitoring; water-
quality management; water management institutions; and education.
Water Use and Allocation
1. Require that water-use permitting be the principal instrument for
determining water allocation among the various water-using sectors
and that it be the mechanism for ensuring compliance with policy
planning processes that are technically founded and legally sound.
Require all potable water suppliers to include as part
of their water-use permit applications a ten-year
water-supply plan having a water conservation element.
Re-evaluate water-use permitting programs relative to
their ability to improve water-use efficiency in all
2. Establish and enforce water-use efficiency standards for all
water-using sectors, implementation to be facilitated through
water-use permitting processes and water shortage plans.
3. Refine and re-evaluate policies/plans for water conservation,
with emphasis on restricting non-essential uses.
Conservation ordinances and building code enforcement,
consistent with the 1981 Water Conservation Act, should
Sbe implemented by local governments, without exception.
Establish thresholds for requirement of graywater
installations for new urban developments.
Develop a certification program for water-conserving
4. Define a comprehensive water reclamation policy, such policy to
embrace: research; standards, market analyses; and examination of
the potential for use of reclaimed water.
Eliminate administrative hurdles and financial deterrents
that constrain the development of reuse projects.
The WMDs, in consultation with DER, should establish
priorities and determine responsibilities for water-
Financial and other incentives should be provided for
all water suppliers willing to adopt water-reuse measures.
5. Refine and re-evaluate existing policies on interbasin transfers.
Require that demand management measures be considered before
initiation of interbasin transfer projects.
Evaluate options for mitigating impacts of transfers,
and providing incentives for exploring and implementing
S.- other water supply alternatives.
6. Consider using saline water as a source for potable water where
this would be a feasible option.
Develop WMD programs that evaluate the potential for saline
water use and encourage such use where it is found
economically and environmentally feasible.
Review policies related to the water-use permitting process
to determine whether revisions are needed to more directly
include aspects of saline-water use.
7. Conduct regional assessments of water use and water supply needs,
such assessments to include projections of water use and water-
8. Develop and implement processes for WMD involvement in facilities
site selection where potable water supplies might be affected, such
facilities to include: landfills; industrial developments; and
point source discharge works.
9. Require WMD approval of water supply elements of LGPCs and DRIs.
Surface Water Management
i. Implement.and enforce floodplain construction and management
standards, and accelerate the mapping of floodplain and other
2. Develop and implement special surface water management criteria
to protect the public health, sensitive ecosystems, and coastal
and marine resources.
Implement more stringent surface water management criteria,
including site-location constraints, hazardous waste
containment, and monitoring.
3. Accelerate research efforts to provide adequate scientific
knowledge of the freshwater needs of bays and estuaries and
.other natural systems and establish minimum and maximum ranges
for water-dependent ecosystems.
4. Maximize the use of existing facilities before authorizing the
construction of new ones.
5. Analyze opportunities for new and innovative approaches to
financing water projects and programs.
6. Provide an effective statewide policy for dealing with stormwater
runoff quantity and quality.
Expand research and special studies to address the design
of effective stormwater and non-point source BMPs.
Consider retrofitting existing stormwater pollution abatement
'facilities where economically and environmentally feasible.
S Establish stormwater BMP performance standards, and design,
construction and operation and maintenance practices. These
should be periodically reviewed and updated.
Develop regional stormwater plans.
7. Develop appropriate criteria for the establishment of meaningful
stream quality standards.
8. Provide technical assistance to secondary drainage authorities
(298 Drainage Districts, for example) in a manner designed to
improve their effectiveness and to encourage state-of-the-art
9. For the phosphate mining industry, assign primary authority
for disturbed areas by mining to DNR, but assign responsibility
s to the WMDs for regulating surface water management systems and
structures for mining operations.
Groundwater Protection and Management
1. Develop a.statewide groundwater management strategy recognizing
that regional differences exist and that both quantity and
quality dimensions must be dealt with.
WMDs should develop appropriate groundwater management
plans focused toward alternative usage and supply
-- Local government comprehensive plans should take into
account the availability of groundwater resources as
indicated in the WMD inventories. Furthermore, these
plans should reflect the limitations on surface water
and groundwater supplies.
-- WMDs should be prepared to provide technical assistance,
where needed, to identify and protect prime recharge
areas and to aid local governments and others undertaking
the development of water supplies.
2. Initiate and/or accelerate the identification of groundwater
sources, storage volumes, development potentials, and
limitations on use.
3. Establish policies statewide for wellfield protection and for
defining recharge areas.
Provide incentives to local governments for planning and
operating comprehensive wellfield protection programs.
.Accelerate the plugging of abandoned artesian wells by
providing adequate state funds.
4. Accelerate research programs to improve the understanding of the
impacts and paths of pollutant discharges to groundwater.
5. Expand WMD involvement related to protection and site selection
of public wellfields.
Protection and Management of Natural Systems
1. Refine/clarify definitions of instream uses and establish policies
and criteria for implementing instream flow allocations.
Fund a targeted research program to provide adequate
scientific information for basing instream flow
reservations and for setting flows and levels for lakes
S-- The minimum flows and levels rationale of 373.042 should
be reviewed and revised to reflect scientifically-defensible
2. Develop a statewide comprehensive policy regarding the restoration
and/or maintenance of natural systems, such policies to include
assessment of both positive and negative aspects of changing from
one state of development to another.
Provide adequate funding under the Save Our Rivers Program
for WMD land management and development.
Promote cooperation between the WMDs and appropriate state
agencies in the acquisition of lands to facilitate the
preservation of wildlife habitat in urbanizing areas.
Consider the development of innovative ways to preserve
wetlands as part of the WMD surface water-management program.
3. Require a coordinated approach to endangered species management
including the identification and mapping of habitats of threatened
or endangered species for use at all levels of planning and
The habitats of endangered or threatened species should be
Considered by the WMDs as a criterion for selecting lands
for purchase under the Save Our Rivers Program.
4. For the phosphate mining industry, establish a comprehensive mining
regulatory framework and provide for the study of the long-term
effects of mining and/or reclamation operations on surrounding
ground and surface waters.
The state should conduct research on mining reclamation
technologies and explore alternative land reclamation
Implement a disincentives program to address the problem
of nonconforming waste discharges by mining companies
during mining and reclamation operations.
5. Develop management plans for bays, estuaries and coastal areas
and specify standards for land-use control in these areas.
Fund a targeted research program to better identify the
freshwater needs of bay and estuary areas.
6. Potentially outstanding recreational sites in Save Our Rivers
Program lands should be identified so that they might be
given special consideration.
7. Forest management plans should be developed for all forested
lands above a minimum-size threshold in cooperation with the
Data Networks and Monitoring
I. Develop and implement comprehensive programs for data collection,
processing, and dissemination, adequate for the contemporary needs
of water resources planners and managers.
Expand water quality research and study programs related to
agricultural, landfill, industrial and hazardous waste sites.
Identify sources of inadequately-treated wastewater discharges
and publish these for public information.
-- Establish a formal statewide clearing house to review the
findings of federal agencies, universities, and others that
have a bearing on drinking water supply or protection issues.
2. Develop and implement comprehensive monitoring networks for judging
compliance with regulatory programs and/or determining the extent
and/or nature of environmental degradation.
Monitoring/reporting systems on permitted water supplies
should be expanded to more accurately gauge committed
vs. pumped vs. permitted usage and thus identify prospective
.resource limitation problems.
Develop cooperative monitoring programs with DACS and ASCS
to assess the impact of agricultural activity on groundwater
Water OQality Management
1. Develop water quality management strategies that focus on
prevention rather than remedial action.
Establish regional hazardous and solid waste management
2. Expand educational programs to publicize the impacts of improper
hazardous and solid waste management on the environment and public
3. Merge water quantity and water quality management policies and
require that these aspects of the resource be treated concurrently
in all water resource planning and management processes.
Clarify WMD responsibility in the water quality area,
particularly regarding relationships with DER and HRS.
4. Tighten coordination between land-water agencies on issues such as
facilities siting, particularly where such facilities are potential
polluters of the environment.
5. Encourage statewide policies for reclaimed water reuse and
recycling, and provide funds for demonstrating the efficacy of
Develop strategies for more productive reuse of stormwater
6. Provide funds for research targeted at reuse-recycling processes
and at evaluating the health effects of toxic and hazardous
materials in the environment.
Explore mechanisms for funding-needed research, with
consideration given to the use of fees collected as
penalties for this purpose.
7. Determine strategies for managing pervasive pollutants such as
nitrogen and phosphorous.
8. Evaluate the problems created by standards that have been set
based on questionable scientific knowledge, and recommend actions
that might be taken to deal with these difficulties.
Water Management Institutions
1. Improve the quality of disaster preparedness planning and flood
and hurricane warning systems.
2. Require consistency among comprehensive planning processes at
state, regional, and local government levels, and require
that all such plans be in compliance with the State Comprehensive
Plan/State Water Use Plan.
Encourage the RPCs to adopt WMD criteria and performance
standards for water use, surface water management, and
water quality/stormwater protection in the water elements
of their regional policy plans.
Develop a more coordinated approach to local government
permitting and iKD regulatory programs.
Explore the need to change Public Service Commission
policies to more effectively promote water conservation.
Require regionally coordinated, five-year siting plans with
annual updates for wastewater, solid wastes, storrmater,
and for the disposal of solid and hazardous wastes.
-- Promote better coordination among WMDs, local governments,
and state agencies relative to emergencies associated with
spills of hazardous materials.
3. Develop policies on a regional basis for the protection and/or
preservation of natural systems.
4. Identify and acquire lands which are candidates for special-use
limitations before development and/or other pressures foreclose
5. Require that LGCPs conform in their water elements to the
strategic plans of the WMDs.
Require WMD review of water resources portions of LGCPs.
6. Require that regulation be carried out by that level of government
closest to the issue and having the professional and technical
expertise and resources to accomplish the task.
Increase enforcement and penalization actions associated
with violations of regulatory programs.
Consider the use of performance bonding as a regulatory
Explore options for more comprehensive regulation of
Agricultural and other chemicals applied to the land.
7. Appropriate legislative steps need to be taken to ensure that
adequate funding is available for all water management districts.
1. Provide opportunities for students to obtain practical experience
within private industry and government institutions having
expertise in water management.
2. Expand and strengthen statewide programs for educating school
children, college and university students, and the general
public on issues related to water and related land-resources
3. Develop a state intergovernmental and interagency exchange
program with the State University System.
4. Provide an expanded funding base for university-level research,
targeting specific research goals and objectives.
It is recommended that:
the alternatives presented under each subject matter area
of the report be reviewed by WMD and DER staff for
consideration for possible adoption and implementation:
special DER/WMD task committees be established and charged
with developing alternative strategies for implementing the
water-management policies considered supportive of the State
Comprehensive Plan; an expert pro/con analysis should
accompany each proposed strategy;
the state water resources planning process should focus
on establishing broad policies for dealing with water
issues of statewide concern.
the Water Management Districts should be responsible for
developing and -.mplementing strategic plans, consistent
with the State Comprehensive Plan/State Water-Use Plan.
for guiding all water resources planning and Mranagement
actions in their regions, and for serving as compliance
standards for the water elements of pertinent comprehensive
"L local government and/or regional plans.