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By NANETT' HOLLAND
Tribune Staff Writer
CLEARWATER A sugeston to frees pump-
lg In order to low saltwater contaminate of un.
derground aquifers would prevent the epanmon of
public wllields nl south Blllsborough. Manatee and
northern Saraota counties, regional water suppliers
Wellfelds n the so-called Eastern Tampa Bay
wateruse caution area would not be allowed to ex-
ceed the amount of water withdrawn in the highest of
the last five years under an outline submitted by the
Southwest Florida Water Management District
At Hllsborou s ou th-central wellfeld, that
would man no more than 19.9 million gallon of
water could be pumped daily slightly less than the
wellfleld Is pumping now, and 21 percent less than it
is authored to pump, said Allson Adam of the West
Coast Regional Water Supply Authority.
Adams said the authority would be forced to look
at other sources besides groundwater such as d-
salting of brackish or seawater to keep up with
growth In the area.
The water authority operates a network of well-
fields tt provide drinking water to H g
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Pinellas and Pasco counties, as well a Tampa and St
Petemmur The southcentral ility supplies water
to more than 100,000 people In southern Hllabor-
It is only one of several weilflelds that will be
affected by sweeping changes the water district
deems necessary to halt the spread of saltwater into
natural underground reservoirs. District officials ay
*e WATER, Paep
Water-pumping limits scrutinized
* From Page 1
the saltwater is advancing as fast as one foot per day
because too much freshwater is being siphoned out by
farmers, industries and homeowners.
Other wellfields in the saltwater's path include Sar-
asota's Verna and Manatee County's reserve facilities.
The solutions now being floated by the water dis-
trict are only an outline for the 40-member advisory
group asked by the district to work on the problem.
The group is scheduled to finish its assignment by the
end of the year.
The district blueprint also calls for public utilities in
the caution area to improve conservation so that no
more than 110 gallons of water are used by each cus-
tomer per day. Currently, per capital consumption of
water from the south-central wellfleld is 139 gallons
Per-person limits of 130 gallons of water a day
would be established in other areas of Southwest Flori-
da from Polk to Charlotte, now designated the Southern
water-use caution area.
Farmers also would have to save water by installing
more efficient irrigation systems, and they too would
be forbidden to pump more water than they historical-
ly used over the last five years. But they could earn
"credits" in rainy years that could give them extra
irrigation water during droughts. .
Both farmers and West Coast officials remain skep-
tical of the accuracy of the computer simulations the
water district used to calculate the movement of salt-
water. After months of haggling over the computer
models, the district agreed to turn over the information
to West Coast, although the agency must pay a $12,500
user fee to the consultant who developed the models.;
But the distrust continues to gnaw at some Wesi
Coast members, who say they aren't making headway
in efforts to work with the water district to solve the-
problem. A planned fence-mending social between
West Coast and water district board members, original-
ly set for March, now has been postponed till June. .
"We're heading on a collision course and we can't-
even get an engagement for a love-in," said West Coast-
board member Charles Rainey of Pinellas County.
But board member Jan Platt, a Hillsborough County
commissioner, questioned whether the authority should
continue complaining about the district's proposals or
buckle down and look for other sources of water.
"The [district's] conclusions may not be what we
want to hear, but they may well be the case," she said.
"We just may have to live with them."