i't. UPttrsburg Zimps
h .l o llppe I I er l m
Water. fears ,-
Look at the cold facts: Central Flori
da sits on a huge bubble of fresh water. I
managed sensibly, there's enough to go
around. Pasco County has the spao
needed to spread out the wells to avoi
damaging the aquifer. It needs relatively:
small amounts of water now, but expect
larger demand in the future. Hillsbor
ough and Tampa will need more water h
the years ahead. St. Petersburg and Pi
nellas have the skills to plan and manage
large water systems and the customer
to finance orderly expansion.
Put all those items together with
sense of shared interest and you get a
idea:' the West Coast Regional Wate
u-pply Authoritw, =-
THE AUTHORITY was created i
1974 by the Legislature to balance sup
ply with need through a board giving oni
vote each to Pasco, Pinellas, and Hills
borough counties and St. Petirsburl
" Three years later the authority still i
not doing what it was created to do.
S Can such an agency succeed in thi
S .Tampa Bay region?
S That hard question was raised a
Wednesday's authority meeting whei
SPinellas County, suspicious of the goo<
faith of Pasco, voided its contract witi
the authority but agreed to keep work
ing for.solutions to its disputes.
Can the authority work?
No. Not if Pasco County fears tha
c. condominium builders in Pinellas are de
termined to pump Pasco dry. Not if th
Pasco County Commission fails to carr
S through on agreements to end the inter
in Cypress Creek Management Board
Not if the Pasco County Commissio
talks cooperation to the authority while
S-continuing lawsuits that Pinellas feel
jeopardize its $25-million investment h
Cypress Creek Wellfield. Not if the Pi
nellas County Commission. and it
lawyers have unreasonable fears tha
other authority members are ganging u]
-on them. Not if Pinellas demand
'* .unlimited water-for the unlimitedfu
:ture. Not'lf the authority board sits qui
etly by while Pinellas feels its financial
/ ,.,I ,:. ...... ;:""- ^t: -"' *^"' : '- ...... "
"The policy of our paper is very simple merely to tell the truth.
Paul Poynter, publisher, 1912-1950
22-A FRIDAY, MARCH 18, 1977
- interests are threatened.
f Yes, the authority can work, if the
o five local governments place the people's
. long-range interests above their immedi-
d ate political squabbles. Yes, if the gov-
y ernment leaders will stop listening to
s those with a selfish interest in continu-
ing the controversy and start trusting
n others at least until that trust is abused.
Above all, yes, if the the voters in ev-
e ery jurisdiction demand that the offi-
Scials quit their squabbling and begin
communicating and cooperating.
a If local governments responsible to
n their own separate constituencies can-
r not agree on water issues of benefit to
all, a higher government must intervene.
In this situation, the Legislature should
prepare to act.
S State Sen. Guy Spicola, D-Tampa,
Chairman of the Senate Natural Re--
sources Committee, already has recog-
nized the Legilature's _responsibility-; -:
If Piiellas and Pasc~ cannot agree on-
s their own, Spicola said in January, "The-
SLegislature would be duty bound to do
t We believe the time has come
for Spicola's committee to start
1 work on legislationithat would put .
h the authority in the business of-
Ssupplying the people's water
-The Legislature alsoshbuld consider
t a larger question. In what appears to be
-- an attempt to block any northward-.
e expansion of the West Coast Authority,
Y some counties plan to create a Withla-
coochee Water Supply Authority. In the
L future, competition between competing.
n authorities promises to be as destructive
e to the public interest as.todiy's warring
s. between c.unties.-
n The tim6 e to prevent those complica
tions is nobefore any series of authori-
s ties begins .-
t Ultimatily, Florida's water resources
P ought to: b_-managed from a statewide
S-point of- view. The 1977 Legislature
:couldperfxrm a significant service to
Florida's future by taking the first-step -
A inthatdirecti .:
l I I