Title: Pinellas Should End Foolish Talk About Raiding Citrus Water Supply
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/WL00002498/00001
 Material Information
Title: Pinellas Should End Foolish Talk About Raiding Citrus Water Supply
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Publisher: Tampa Tribune
 Subjects
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida
 Notes
Abstract: Pinellas Should End Foolish Talk About Raiding Citrus Water Supply 3/2/1995
General Note: Box 10, Folder 20 ( SF WCRWSA - 1982 and 1996 ), Item 4
Funding: Digitized by the Legal Technology Institute in the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: WL00002498
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.

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Pinellas should end foolish talk


about raiding Citrus water supply


Pinellas County, which already imports wa-
ter from Pasco and Hillsborough counties, now
is looking farther north. Officials of the most
densely populated county in the state propose a
pipeline to transport water from Citrus and
He'rando counties.
-Tribune staff writer Kathleen Beeman re-
ports the most popular scenario is to pipe wa-
ter from Lake Rousseau near Dunnellon in Cit-
rus. Pickens Talley, Pinellas County's public
utility director, told Beeman, "When you mas-
sage the whole thing and it finally falls out,
thefe will be a pipeline. It's the only logical
solution."
This kind of talk scares the dickens out of
Citrus and Hernando residents and it should. A
pipeline would put their environment and fu-
ture water supply at risk. It would allow Pinel-
las,' which even now is waging legal battles
against water-use restrictions, to escape the
consequences of allowing unchecked growth.in
a dry coastal area.
'HANNAH "NANCY" ROBINSON, a Her-
nando County commissioner who chairs the
Withlacoochee Water Supply Authority, put it
well: "If we go solve their problems for them,
why would they solve the problem for them-
selves, internally?"
Exactly right.
Though Pinellas has been progressive in
some water-use areas, it has waged an ongoing
legal war against the Southwest Florida Water
Management District, which has rightly sought
to bolster water supplies by reducing use. Usu-
ally at Pinellas' urging, the West Coast Region-
al Water Supply Authority which oversees
drinking-water supplies for Hillsborough, Pinel-
las, and Pasco counties and the cities of Tampa
and St. Petersburg also has been excessively
litigious.
Now Pinellas claims prudent water reduc-
tions sought by the district would result in a
building moratorium, a familiar scare tactic. In
fact, the county could utilize a number of sim-
ple conservation measures, including reduced
lawn watering,, to limit use without shutting
down development. The county could also
amend its comprehensive growth plan, based
on outdated water-use figures. Per-capita water
consumption has declined dramatically since
its plan was devised, which gives Pinellas more
water for growth.


All this talk of moratoriums and pipelines
undermines the good work of the Tampa Bay
Water Coordinating Council, made up of repre-
sentatives from the water district and the coun-
ties of Pinellas, Hillsborough and Pasco, as
well as the cities of Tampa and St Petersburg.
This group has sought to devise a coherent
plan for West Central Florida's future water
supply. The goal: to. develop diverse local
sources including desalination, wastewater
reuse and surface water to ensure a reliable
-supply and reduce environmental harm. With
such a system, the region would no longer need
to ruin land around wellfields. Recycled or de-
salinated water could be used and wellfleld
pumping reduced.
Coordinating council members will soon
present their recommendations to local govern-
ments. Pinellas' theatrics serve to divert atten-
tion and generate suspicion among counties.
Given Pinellas' uncooperative, eager-to-sue
history on water issues, Citrus and Hernando
officials have good reason to be leery about the
pipeline. Pinellas officials maintain it would be
managed so as not to damage the environment.
But if a severe drought struck, does anyone
think that Pinellas would deprive its users for
the sake of Citrus or Hernando residents, much
less those counties' lakes, rivers, wetlands and
future appeal?
Even as lakes became mud puddles around
wellfields in Hillsborough and Pasco, West
Coast and Pinellas officials blamed natural
droughts, not excessive pumping.
FURTHER, DIRECTING a pipeline to a
coastal area that itself suffers water shortages
would be foolish. Saltwater already contami-
nates the aquifer in some areas under Citrus.
Sinkholes, another sign of overuse, are also
common.
With Florida's chronic water shortages, no
option should be ruled out. But a pipeline
should be a last resort, used only after West
Central Florida has done everything possible to
reduce consumption, bolster local supplies and
protect rather than pave over and pollute -
local water sources.
Equally important, the solution to the re-
gion's water needs must be devised with the
full participation of all affected parties in an
atmosphere of mutual trust not railroaded
through by the county with the most people
and influence.


-o-rANPA "OM-


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