* From Page 1
board members contend the ban
has not been enforced. As part of
the plan adopted Monday, the ban
would be extended outside the Im-
pacted area, If computer models
show the' proposed pumping for a
permit would cause the saltwater to
warn they may
tighten the spigot
By NANETTE HOLLAND
Tribune Staff Writer
BROOKSVILLE In an unprecedented move, re-
gional water managers Monday warned that water
use may have to be curtailed in eight counties to
stem the salty tide that is souring underground sup-
In creating the Southern Groundwater Basin Wa-
ter Use Caution Area, officials tripled the amount of
land for which new restrictions on pumping can be
The Southwest Florida Water Management Dis-
trict will begin developing those restrictions with sug-.
gestions from an advisory committee to be set up
The new caution area encompasses 7,000 square
miles from Hillsborough and Polk counties in the
north to Charlotte in the south, and includes the High-
lands Ridge and Eastern Tampa Bay caution areas
where beefed up conservation measures were enact-
ed two years ago.
The declaration acknowledges water reserves are
in trouble throughout the southern half of the district,
where underground water supplies have been
stressed by a combination of too much pumping, too
little rain, and soils ill-suited to capture and store
what rain does fall.
District officials also have learned that under-
ground water supplies are so intertwined that pump-
ing in one county can affect water levels in another
hence the designation of the entire southern basin
as a.caution area. *
But the action is still not far-reaching enough for
J t "
creep further inland.
"It didn't make sense to deny a
permit for 1,000 gallons -to some-
body just inside the line (of the most
impacted area] and grant one for 1
million gallons Just outside the
line," said Dave Moore, district dep-
Suty director for resource manage-
Most board members believe
Tribune graphic by ESSEX JAMES
some of the district's governing board members, who
want to implement tough water-use restrictions now.
"I have the sensation that I'm walking in a moun-
tain of Jell-O because this initiative is not geared
enough to action," said board member Margaret Sis-
trunk of Odessa.
Already, saltwater is moving inland as fast as one
foot a day In the most severely stressed area a
500-square-mile chunk of southern Hillsborough and
coastal Manatee counties, a water district study says.
Board members learned last month they already
have issued permits for twice as much water as can
safely be taken from the area.
The district has banned new water-use permits in
the most impacted area for two years, although some
See REGULATORS, Page 5
they have no choice but to reduce
the amount of water available to ev-
eryone. They took a first step to-
ward clamping down on water:use
last month when they directed their
staff to issue only four-year permits
within the caution areas.
Further .restrictions will be, de-
veloped by the governing board and
a committee of farmers, public
wellfield operators and industries
who would be the primary targets
of any cutbacks.
"What has been happening down
there has gotten us into trouble.
Holding the line won't do the job;
we've got to do more than hold: the
line," said board member Jim Cox
Board members also are looking
for alternate water sources, such as
rivers and salt-purging reversed os-
mosis treatment systems, to take the
pressure off underground reser-
Despite some board members'
eagerness to tackle the problem
now, district executive director Pe-
ter Hubbell emphasized the 6eed
for patience. He said hasty deci-
sions would result in court challeng-
es that would delay any progress
Indeed, the district already fac-
es a challenge involving the first of
the four-year water permits (t is-
sued. Officials with the Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints,
which owns extensive farmland in
southern Hillsborough County,
maintain they should have been
granted 10-year irrigation permits.
They have filed for a state adairnis-
trative hearing on the matter.
Joining in the challenge is: the
West Coast Regional Water Supply
Authority, the water broker foc Pi-
nellas, Pasco and Hillsborough
counties, which fears its south-cen-
tral wellfeld in southern Hillsbor-
ough also will be limited to a four-
Regulators may tighten water rules