ST. PETERSBURG TIMES a FRIDAY, JULY 31. 1981
Counties must use or lose water
St.Pner hur ThnmtWllT Wrir .
OCALA Either use the region's well field sites in Hernando County Withlacoochee Regional Planning Tlhe Withlacoochee authority has theis tivestand-
water or lose it. that together could pump an addi- Council, serve Citrus, Hernando, ing needed todefend the region in court against challeng-
That was the warning issued tional 7-million gallons of water a Sumter, Marion and Levy county. er for the water, she said.
( Thursday by Jeannette Haag, attor- day, he said. "For the first timq in law, you are Even if the water must be sold to other counties, the
ney for the Withiacoochee Regional The ability to secure the land fr seeing priority type concept coming law allows that during times of sce water avalabiity,
Water Supply Authority. those project lies in the right of into play" in reference to that par- I the supply authority would have:the right to give
She was speaking to 103 publicof- eminent domain, which allows one ticular type of underground water, preferential treatment to its member counties
ficials and interested residents at- government entity to condemn land Mrs. Haag said. 4 The supply authority, planning council and US.
tending an all-day conference on wa, in another county, Mrs. IHaa ex. The courts recognize four types of Army Corps oEngineers are conducting sudie to estab-
ter resources sponsored by the sup- planned. water, she explained. They are. lsh the region's future needs and the bet areas for water
ply authority and the Withlacoochee The region's answer to that situa- surface streams, surface water toom withdrawal, she said. The aim is to implement a system to
Regional Planning Council. tion can be found in a 1979 Florida rainfall, subterranean water flowing preserve the water for present and future needs. Part of
SMrs. Haag, who is also an Inver- Supreme Court decision that, in in well with defined underground that objective would include the supply authority pr-
ness councilwoman, warned that if effect, says the can be no absolute channels and subsurface water with venting the proliferation of well fields by other entities
the five counties within the region ownership right to water that prco- no permanent channels. within.the region. 'i
,want to protect and control their wa- latest into the aquifer and flows in a It that last type that now is of Sullivan sid the growth presur on the region comes
ter resources, they must put aside in- diffused, unchanneled manner, Mrs. major concern as a water supply not only from its normal attraction but i intensified by
dividual concerns and work a re- Haag said. The aquifer is the area be- source. spinoff from major urban areas on three sides.
gion to capture and use the water., neath ground that contains water. Eastern state previously worked The region of HernandoS ut, Citfu, Iy and
And if they don't, there are other Because ofitajnit.atoy charade under.the legal concept that land Marion counties can expect a population of 570,000 by
water-hungry counties waiting i the ter, until that water is subjected to owners also owned the water under-'- 1991, he said.
wings to claim the water, pla ing absolite control, sch as etablihed neath their ground and had the right The region is appetiing to those urban developers
council executive director Jack Sulli- well fields to pr t it escape, t for reasonable use of the water for and industries because 75 percent o its land till is unde-
van cautioned. water s'a resource open to all, he beneficial purposes. vloped, thee are lower development cost involved,
A 40-year master plan of the West said. The 1979 decision is important to there a good transportation utes, ample water re-
SCoiat Regional Water Supply Au- The water belongs to the owner of the region and the Withlacoochee au- sources a vast mineral deposits.
thority, which is composed of inter- the land overlying it only if that own- thority, because it wiped away il-
eats from Hillboaough, Pinellas an er controls and uses it, she said. lusions of some elected officials that:
Pasc counties, shows the authority's "Water rights refer to the right to their counties had jurisdiction over
intention to develop a pumping well use the water not to the water the water that flawed beneath them.
field at Weoki Vachee Springs in. itself, se explained. ; and could dictate how it could be '
Hernando County between 1990 and "If you do not capture and use it, used, Mrs. Haag said.' .
1995. It is projected that the well field it is not yours. "There is no way ofsavipg the wa-
will pump 11-million gallons of water Once the region does capture that ter for your own people unless you
a day, Sullivan said. water, possibly through a system of are actively engaged in using it for
From the year 2000 to 2020, that regional well fields, the Withlacoo- yourself and your own growth," she
same agency plans to drill two other cheeRiep enalWaterSupplyAuthori- warned.
ty will Mae the right to stop other
from taking it.
The water authority and the.;
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