Title: Water Management Institute, Brochure
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/WL00002220/00001
 Material Information
Title: Water Management Institute, Brochure
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Publisher: WAVE
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida
Abstract: Water Management Institute, Brochure
General Note: Box 10, Folder 10 ( SF Water Resources Historical Collection - 1988 ), Item 1
Funding: Digitized by the Legal Technology Institute in the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: WL00002220
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Levin College of Law, 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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Introduction to Florida Water Managers


Florida's administrative
system of water management is
the result of over 100 years of
water legislation. Since the
enactment in 1893 of its first
water resource law, Florida has
experimented with various
water management
mechanisms. You, as a new
water manager in this state,
have the opportunity to
participate in a system
designed to focus on water
management practices and
solutions for the true purpose of
water management vs. political

Florida water management
focuses on regional solutions,
necessary because of state-
wide variations in rainfall
amounts, rainfall patterns,
temperature, topography, and
drainage basins. Private sector

participation has been an
integral facet since, at least
1881, when the Board of
Trustees of the State Internal
Improvement Trust Fund sold
four million acres in central and
south Florida to a group led by
Hamilton Disston for the price
of twenty-five cents an acre. A
condition of the sale was that
Hamilton drain land to attract
agricultural development.
Today's private sector
involvement ranges from
creating and managing local
water districts to serving on the
boards of state created districts
as gubernatorial appointees.
Private sector participation,
along with limited supervision
by the governor and state
agencies, has led to a unique
degree of independence for
today's water management

Private property rights
have been protected, in varying
degrees, throughout the

development of the present
administrative system of water
management. There has been
a continual, slow but steady
move toward greater
understanding of the uses and
values of water resources,
resulting in the current balance
of water management (water
supply, flood protection, water
quality, and environmental
protection), the protection of
ecosystems, and the need to
be consistent with the
protections provided by the
federal and state constitutions
for private property rights. This
move continues today.

District policies and
regulations should reflect a
careful balance in water
management. For new
governing board members, as a
Governor's appointee vs. an
elected official helps give you
the ability to achieve and
maintain that balance instead
of being concerned with
Continued on page 2

managing a political career.
The success of Florida's
system of managing
water can be traced directly to
certain key elements. These
elements are:

Board members should be
lay persons, not experts in the
field of water management.
There is no requirement in the
Florida Statutes that board
members have any particular
expertise. The boards have
authority to hire executive
directors to whom they can
delegate portions of their
responsibilities and they are
empowered to employ
professional staff members and
to retain expert consultants. All
of these factors enable board
members to establish
regulations and policies that are
"public interest" driven which
should be the motivating factor
within all of their decisions.
The Water Management
Institute is in full support of this



District Water Management
Plans. All water management
districts must develop individual
water management plans that
will then be incorporated into a
State Water Management Plan
by the Department of
Environmental Protection.

Surface Water Improvement
and Management (SWIM).
This program focuses
specifically on preservation or
restoration of priority surface

Ground Water Basin
Resource Availability
Inventories. Section 373.0395.
F.S. directs the districts to study
and report on groundwater
resources. The inventories will
aid local and regional water
management and planning

Emergency Water Shortage
Planning and Procedures.
The districts have the authority
to manage water resources
during periods of water
shortage. Each district has
adopted a water shortage plan
prepared under Section
373.175, F.S.

Minimum Flows and Levels.
Section 373.042, F.S., directs
the districts to determine
minimum stream flows and
water levels necessary to
sustain natural systems and
protect water resources

Water Resources and Data
Collection. Basic research
supports other district programs
and provides water resources
information for many users.
Examples include floodplain
delineation studies,
groundwater investigations, and
water quality monitoring.

Abandoned Artesian Well
Plugging. This program
improves groundwater quality
by sealing off artesian wells
which can allow poor quality
water to enter drinking water
aquifers or surface waters.

Development of Regional
Impact (DRI) Review. The
districts cooperate with the
regional planning councils and
local governments in reviewing
the effects of DRI's of water
resources. In addition, each
district can participate in the
review of county
comprehensive plan changes.

Water Conservation. The
districts are involved in a wide
variety of water conservation
activities, including public
education, assistance to local
governments and private
utilities, and encouragement for
water conservation projects.


Water Use or Consumptive
Use Permitting. Evaluates the
effects of groundwater and
surface water withdrawals for
public supply, agriculture, and
industry to determine whether a
new use is reasonable and
beneficial; whether the new use
will interfere with any presently
existing legal users; and
whether the new use is
consistent with the public

Surface Water Management
(SWM) or Management and
Storage of Surface Waters
(MSSW) Permitting. This
permitting program regulates
larger surface water
management systems. As part
of this program, the state's

stormwater management
permitting process has been
delegated to the districts
(except NWFVVMD). Wetlands
and natural systems protection
is a significant component of
the districts' surface-water
management regulatory
program. This program has
been combined with the state

Department of Environmental
Protection (DEP) wetland
resource permitting program
and is now the Environmental
Resource Permit (ERP)

Regulation of Wells. This
program protects groundwater
resources by setting standards
for the location and methods of
construction for water wells.

Water Well Contractor
Licensing. Licensing is now
with the Department of
Environmental Protection.


Save Our Rivers & Florida
Preservation 2000. The
Legislature established the
Water Management Lands
Trust Fund in 1981 with
revenue derived from the
documentary stamp tax. Using
money from this fund the
districts acquire lands from
willing sellers for water
management, water supply, and
the conservation and protection
of water resources. The new
Preservation 2000 program is a
supplement to the Save Our
Rivers program. It provides for
the acquisition of land to protect
resources such as groundwater,
threatened or endangered
species habitat, or natural
planned and animal
communities. The districts


operate under long-term Land
Acquisition and Management
Plans that are updated
annually. These programs can
be viewed as very major when
considering the millions of
dollars spent by the WMD's
each year.


Flood Damage Prevention.
Early programs at the districts,
usually funded as a U.S. Army
Corps of Engineers project,
were to construct, operate, and
maintain physical drainage
facilities. Recent efforts have
emphasized nonstructural
methods which focus on
reducing development in flood
hazard areas and establishing
construction standards to
prevent flood damage. The
districts still maintain the
responsibility to plan, construct,
operate and maintain regional
public works projects for flood
control (such as the Central
and South Florida Flood
Control Project). This

maintenance responsibility
continues to be a major annual
expense for the three large
water management districts.

Water Supply planning &
development. The districts
have the ability to develop
water supplies for use by local

governments. However, to date,
they have provided technical
information and financial
assistance to local
governments to support their
work in water supply planning
and development. Up to this
point, they have not
participated, however funding
and technical assistance should
be considered for local
government water supply


In undertaking your duties
as a water manager in the
state, you have assumed the
responsibility for protecting the
water resources upon which a
major portion of Florida's

population depends. For most
of you, you have also become
subject to a variety of statutory
requirements which apply to
public officers holding office on
appointive bodies such as a
water management district
board. The following is an
abridged overview of some of

these requirements, however it
is recommended that you read
the statutes related to the
duties and responsibilities of
the water management district

Government in the Sunshine.
Section 286.011, Florida
Statutes covers public meetings
and records and is popularly
known as the "Government in
the Sunshine Law". The
sunshine law is intended to
promote open government and
allow the public to see both
how and why public officials
take action. For example,
governing board members are
not to discuss affairs of the
district with another board
member anywhere but at a
district board meeting.


However, a governing board
member may talk to staff in

Public Records Law. Chapter
119 Florida Statutes embodies
the Public Records Law. It
obligates water management
districts, along with all other
public agencies within the State
of Florida to permit inspection
of any public records in the
custody of the agency. This
includes records of any form
(documents, maps, tapes, etc.)
including "personal" notes if
they are intended to
"perpetuate, communicate, or
formalize knowledge" relating to
your district.

Ethics and Standards of
Conduct for Public Officials.
Part III of Chapter 112, Florida
Statutes contains a Code of
Ethics for Public Officers and
Employees. The Code was
enacted because the legislature
considered it essential to the
proper conduct of government
that public officials be
independent and impartial and
that public office not be used
for private gain. It implements
the declared state policy that no
public officer shall have any
direct or indirect interest,
financial or otherwise, engage
in any business or professional
activity, or incur any obligations
of any nature in substantial
conflict with the proper
discharge of his or her duties in
the public interest.


Water Management in
Florida has taken many twists
and turns in its development
over the last almost 150 years.
These twists and turns have
been the result of natural

disasters, as well as, a constant
accumulation of knowledge
within this field.

From approximately 1850
until the 1920's, the focus was
on "draining the swamp".
Literally, millions of acres of
land lay underwater, that, if

drained, would be suitable for
farming and development. The
state attempted several, large
scale drainage programs,
offering different incentives to
private individuals who would
take the financial responsibility
(and risk) for "draining the
swamp". Most notable among
these people were Hamilton
Disston, Henry Flagler, and
Henry Plant.

In 1929, the Okeechobee
Flood Control District was
formed in response to the 1926
and 1928 major floods of Lake
Okeechobee caused by
hurricanes which were
responsible for the deaths of
approximately 3,000 people.
This marked the beginning of a
new direction, which was flood
control, which included building
the Hoover dike, as well as,
creating a cross state

Because of major
droughts in the 1940's, it
became apparent that '"ater
supply" was another key issue
which required focus. In 1972
the Congress passed the
"Clean Water Act" which
officially brought water quality
into the picture and by this time
the State of Florida realized the
importance of forming districts
within the whole state using
hydrological boundaries
(Okeechobee Waterway) and
not political boundaries. That
same year the Legislature
enacted Chapter 373, Florida


Statutes, the Water Resources
Act which created the water
management districts
encompassing the entire state.
In 1975 Florida voters approved
a referendum amending the
Florida constitution and
authorizing the levy of ad
valorem taxes for water
management purposes. This
was the foundation of the
system we have today.
In 1977 the Legislature
passed the
Environmental Wate
Act creating the
present day water
districts, the
Department of
Regulation, and
moved the general
oversight of water
districts from the
Department of
Natural Resources
to the new
Department of
Regulation. The
duties of the districts now
included flood control, water
supply, water quality, and
environmental protection.
In 1981 the Legislature
granted authority and provided
funding for the acquisition and
management of water
management lands (commonly
known as "Save Our Rivers").
This was followed within the

next several years with
legislation protecting wetlands,
and the SWIM Act which was to
preserve and restore surface
water quality on priority waters

1993 brought the
"streamlining bill" which merged
the Department of
Environmental Regulation
(DER) and the Natural
Resources (DNR) into the

r Management Institute,

Department of Environmental
Protection (DEP), which
created the ERP program
which brought us to our present
state system. This same
legislation combined the
wetland regulatory programs of
DER and the WMD's. We
continue to make adjustments
to the roles of the water
management districts, as

different needs prevail. As you
can see, the district
responsibilities have become
more complicated through the


The members of the Water
Management Institute (WMI)
are individuals and
Inc. concerned about
water management
issues in Florida.
Many of these
members interact
with senior water
managers, not only
on a statewide
basis, but on a
national basis as

The "Mission
Statement" of WMI
is as follows: The
Water Management
Institute supports
stewardship of
Florida's water
resources and recognizes the
need for decentralized decision
making. WMI promotes this
stewardship through improved
information, knowledge, and
professional and citizen
leadership throughout the state.


Awareness is
Vital to

C---- -- --

For More Information

Water Management Institute

Robert W Higgins, President
4623 Forest Hill Blvd., Suite 113
West Palm Beach ,FL 33415
Phone (561) 439-7807
E-Mail: bhiggins@ix.netcom.com


Mike Vanatta, Exec. Director
P.O. Box 6446
Vero Beach, Florida 32961
Phone (561) 589-4800
E-Mail: mikevero@sunet.net

Mission Statement

+ Promote And Strengthen A Viable System Of Regional Based Water Management That Will
Provide Balanced, Reasonable, And Realistic Decisions;

4* Collect, Study And Disseminate Information On Responsible Water Management;

Provide Information On Water Management Trends And Developments;

.- Offer Educational And Career Development Opportunities To Enhance Professionalism;

- Promote, Sponsor And Support Water Management Research And Education.

I /

4623 Forest Hill Blvd., Suite 113 West Palm Beach ,FL 33415
Phone (561) 439-7807

This Document Was Prepared Through
Services Donated By:

Masteller, Moler & Reed, Inc.
Ecotech Consultants, Inc.

Water Management Institute, Inc.

Awareness is
Vital to

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