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Table of Contents
Southwest Florida Water Management District Issues Papers
Issues Papers (current as of November 1997)
Alternative Sources ................................................................................................................... 1
Cooperative Funding ................................................................................................................. 3
Excess Water Kills Trees in Flatford Swamp ................................................. ................. 5
Exotic Species Management .......................................................................... 7
Flooding Florida Style ........................................ ....................................................... 9
Funding Water Resource Protection ................................................ ........................... 11
The Job of the Southwest Florida Water Management District ............................................ 15
Land and Water Planning Linkage ................................................................................. 17
Minimum Flows and Levels Knowing When to Say When........................................ 19
M litigation ............................................................................................................................... 21
Northern Tampa Bay Water Use Caution Area......................... ........ .............. .. 23
Perm hitting ...................................... ..................................................... .................. ..... .... ... 25
Public Outreach Means Communication and Education ................................................... 27
Sinkholes ........................................................................................................ .................. 29
Southwest Florida Water Management District Basin Boards............................................. 31
The State of Our Water Resources .................................................................................. 33
Water Management District Board Members: Appointive vs. Elective .............................. 35
Water Supply Development and Cost ............................................. ................. 37
Where Our Water Comes From ....................................................................................... 39
Working With Local Government ............................................................................. .....4 41
Alternative Sources Wte es
A Southwest Florida Water Management District Issues Paper
All the water that will ever be is. Or, to put it another way: No more water is being
made. That is why it is crucial to use our water resources wisely and to manage them well.
In the west central Florida area known as the Southwest Florida Water Management
District (Swiftmud), our limited water resource is stressed. In some of our coastal
communities, saltwater has begun to seep into the aquifer, contaminating wells and
making them useless. In inland areas, lakes have declined and many wetlands are not wet
enough any more. The good news is that mostly it is not too late.
Water users in the area regulated by Swiftmud use more than one billion gallons of
water daily. And the demand for water is expected to increase. By the year 2020, water
resources that are experiencing difficulty meeting our needs now will be expected to
provide more than 150 million additional gallons of water a day. Swiftmud is working with
Local governments and communities to make sure we can meet that need.
Where Our Water Comes From Now
reshwater comes to us in the form of rain. It fills surface water bodies, such as lakes
and streams, and the underground water source the Floridan aquifer. In west central
Florida we get about 50 inches of rain a year. Only a small amount of that rain makes it
to our surface waters or into the aquifer Most of it is lost toevaporation and runoff. That
means that in a dry year or event (no rainfall), our already limited resource is stretched
even tighter. Developing alternative sources of water will help relieve the stress on these
Currently, about 80 percent of the water used in the District's 16-county area is
groundwater, primarily supplied by the Floridan aquifer. But it can't keep on giving what
it doesn't have; That's where alternative sources come in. Alternative sources -
conservation, reclaimed water, desalination, stormwater reuse, and aquifer storage and
recovery can ensure the continued availability of safe, affordable water and protect our
natural resources and our Florida lifestyle.
Conservation is the easiest and most inexpensive "new" water source available. For
instance, outdoor irrigation is one of the single largest uses of residential water. Anywhere
from 30-6Opercent of a family's water goes outside onto the lawn. Skipping one watering
day can save enough water to meet the needs of 10 people for one day.
Reclaimed water is defined by the State of Florida as, "Water that has received at least
secondary treatment and is reused after flowing out of any wastewater treatment facility."
Reuse refers to the deliberate application of reclaimed water for a beneficial purpose.
Reclaimed water is currently used for agricultural irrigation, groundwater recharge,
industrial processes including power plant cooling, and the irrigation of lawns, landscapes,
cemeteries and golf courses. Reuse saves freshwater for drinking and other daily needs, and
relieves the stress on the environment by reducing the demand for water from
underground and surface waters.
Alternative Sources I of 2
Aquifer Storage and Recovery
Aquifer storage and recovery (ASR) allows for the withdrawal of water from a river
or other surface water source during our rainy season, when water is more plentiful, and
the storage of this water under ground for later use. The water is treated and pumped into
a confined zone of the underground aquifer, and when it is needed, it can be recovered,
treated and pumped int6opublic water systems.
ASR helps humans balance our demand for water, which is highest during winter
months, with our water supply, which is replenished during out summer rainy months.
Desalination is a process that would allow us to remove salt from seawater or from
brackish (slightly salty) water to produce fresh, drinking-quality water. The process would
allow us to benefit from the vast quantities of water available in the Gulf of Mexico.
Until recently, obacles to seawater desalination have been the costs of producing the
water anddisposal of the concentrated salt that is produced when it is removed from the
water. A recent study determined that by blending desalted water, with other available
sources, the average monthly increase per residential customer would be only about $3-
$4. The District is working with the West Coast Regional Water Supply Authority to
further define the costs of seawater desalination. The Department of Environmental
Protection affirmed that the by-products from the desalination process can be disposed
of safely, based on information provided by a small pilot study.
Funding the Alternatives
To help develop the necessary alternative water sources, the Southwest Florida Water
Management District combines financial incentives with public education efforts.
Swiftmud's Cooperative Funding Program helps local governments develop
construction and reuse master plans, and design and construct reclaimed water systems
and transmission lines with a dollar-for-dollar cost match. As of 1996, 98 reuse projects
to provide approximately 94 million gallons of reclaimed water daily had been awarded
cooperative funding. The District also developed an innovative program called the New
Water Sources Initiative (NWSI). The NWSI provides financial incentives to local
governments and private enterprises to encourage the exploration of regional alternatives
to groundwater dependence. The nine currently funded NWSI reuse projects may provide
up to 100 million gallons of reclaimed water daily.
The alternative sources being explored through NWSI have been tried and proven
elsewhere. The question for west central Florida is, can they work here and how much
waterwill they provide? We'll have those answers soon enough. In the meantime, by
working together to solve our water supply problem, we can ensure that the Florida we
love is protected while our needs for water are met now and in the future.
Water is crucial to the quality of life that has attracted sowmany people to Florida.
Demand for water continues to grow. Safe, cost-effective, sustainable and
environmentally-friendly water sources are needed. Swiftnud has committed financial
and technical support for the timely development of alternative supplies.
Alternative Sources 2 of 2
Cooperative Funding water Resource
A Southwest Florida Water Management District Issues Paper
To effectively and efficiently manage the water resource, there must be active
cooperation among the many levels of government. The Southwest Florida Water
Management District, also known as Swiftmud, fosters collaboration through its
Cooperative Funding Program.
Started in 1988, this program offers a 50/50 cost share with local governments for water
management projects that protect the water resource or provide flood protection. Since
then, a variety of projects have been completed which benefit the region and protect water
resources. For example, a recent project evaluated and developed engineering costs for
providing reclaimed water (highly treated effluent) to the City of Punta Gorda in
Charlotte County. The reclaimed water will be used for outdoor irrigation, saving precious
potable water for drinking and lessening the stress on our fragile natural resources. A
project in Pasco County distributed plumbing retrofit kits to more than 5,000 residences
and is saving about 65,000 gallons of water per day.
Districtwide, cooperative funding projects will provide 153 milliongallons of reclaimed
water every day through reuse projects and save nearly nine million gallons of water daily
through plumbing retrofit and toilet rebate programs.
Funding for the program is provided by Swiftmud's Basin Boards. Swiftmud is divided
into basins, which are divided along watershed boundaries. Eight of these basins are
overseen by Basin Boards whose members make decisions about water resources within
their particular basin. The remaining basin, the Green Swamp Basin, is overseen by
Swiftmud's Governing Board because of its importance to the hydrology of the entire
Swiftmud region. Each Basin Board develops a five-year plan based on the special water
issues in its region. Cooperative funding projects are evaluated based on how they address
issues raised in the five-year plan.
Basin Board members are unpaid, citizen volunteers who serve three-year terms. They
are appointed by the governor and approved by the Senate.
The Cooperative Funding Program has accomplished many things. It has encouraged
cooperation, beyond regulation, between Swiftmud and local governments. It has also
encouraged local governments to look at their water needs from a regional perspective
and work with other governments within their basin. The program has increased the
public's understanding of water resource issues and their participation in water
conservation efforts through education. Most importantly, the program has helped
maintain quality water resources throughout the west-central region of Florida for you and
The Cooperative Funding Program is an integral and important part of Swiftmud's
ability to focus water management at the local level and to involve citizens, organizations
and local government in the implementation of Swiftmud's mission to manage and
protect water and related natural resources, maintaining the balance between the water
needs of current and future users, while protecting and maintaining the natural systems.
If you would like more information about cooperative funding projects which have been
completed in your basin or county, please call 1-800-423-1476, extension 4757.
Excess Water Killing tr Re
Trees in Flatford Swamp
A Souhwest FloridaWar Management District Issues Paper
Excess water has resulted in tree stress and deaths on approximately 1,000 acres in
the Flatford Swamp area in Manatee County, according to a Southwest Florida Water
Management District study. Most of the damage is within the swamp, although effects
are found to the north and south of the swamp's boundaries. An estimated 25 percent
of the swamp has been affected.
While some insect and disease problems were found, scientists concluded that the
pests attacked trees which were, in most areas, already stressed or dead. The study
determined excess water to be the cause of the stressed and dying trees.
In recent years, water levels in the swamp have been abnormally high, even during
the dry season. The continuous presence of water, without a drying out period, was
fatal for many trees. The dieoff had a multiplying effect. As the trees died, less water
was used by the remaining trees which led to increased water levels and more damage.
Once the trees died, more light was allowed into the area, promoting the growth of
Trees of all ages were found to be affected by the increased water, with many trees
greater than 50 years old when they died. The study has been unable to pinpoint
exactly when the damage occurred. However, most dieoffs appear to have occurred
after 1990. The effects could have started years before the trees actually died. Damage
to the decaying trees caused by insects has further complicated determining when the
elevated water levels caused the tree deaths.
The high water levels could not be explained by rainfall, nor were any obvious
blockages found in the river, leading scientists to conclude that human activity was
responsible for the elevated levels. Irrigation is considered a possible main cause for
higher water levels. By putting more water onto the surface systems, irrigation has
reduced how much space remains for storing rainfall, resulting in increased runoff and
seepage of water into the swamp.
The Flatford Swamp study involved many District departments, the public and
consultants. The District formed a team of scientists and engineers to direct a study in
response to concerns over the tree deaths in the swamp. Before beginning, the District
held a public workshop in Bradenton on Sept. 18,1996 to gather input from interested
parties. The study began in January 1997, and the preliminary results were released at
a public workshop on Aug. 7, 1997. A third public workshop was held Oct. 30, 1997
to release final results and recommendations.
The District's initial concern is to stop the spread of the damage, then to restore,
where possible, those areas already affected. The next step will be to continue the
cooperative effort to devise a method to lower the water levels in the swamp. The
options will include methods that reduce the flow into the swamp, remove excess
water from the swamp, or some combination of the two.
Excess Water Killing Trees in Flatford Swmnp 1 of 2
The District will form an ongoing work group among affected and interested parties
to find a solution. Anyone interested in working with the group should contact Steve
Minnis or Dave Tomasko at 1-800-320-3503.
Flatford Swamp is an area of mostly hardwood swamps and marshes in Manatee
County just north of Myakka City at the confluence of seven tributaries to the Myakka
River. In 1992, the Southwest Florida Water Management District purchased nearly
2,400 acres, or approximately two-thirds, of the swamp.
Approximately 80 square miles drain into the shallow basin swamp, part of the
Myakka River Drainage Basin. The entire Myakka River Watershed encompasses more
than 550 square mites, extending from its headwaters north of Myakka City to Charlotte
Harbor, the second largest open water estuary in the state of Florida.
In addition to its great value as a wildlife habitat, Flatford Swamp acts as a runoff
detention area, influencing the flows and water quality of the Upper Myakka River.
Excess Water Kdllig Trees mn Flaxford Suamp
Exotic Species Management water our
A Southwest Florida Water Management District issues Paper
For many decades, water managers in southwest Florida have battled an enemy of
effective water resource management. That enemy is invasive exotic plant and animal
species. They're found in the water and on land. These species spread rapidly, damaging
native plant communities and natural ecosystem functions.
For these reasons, the Southwest Florida Water Management District, also known
as Swiftmud, has implemented management programs and works closely with local
governments to manage invasive exotic plant and animal species.
Most non-native species which have been introduced to Florida are not invasive
and pose no threat to our natural systems. In fact, many of Florida's important
agricultural and commercial species are exotic or non-native.
Invasive exotic species, however, have the ability to rapidly reproduce and
overwhelm our native species because of a lack of natural enemies or other
environmental controls. Invasive species infestations can cause a variety of problems.
On our lakes and rivers, recreation and navigation can be impeded, water control
structures rendered inoperable, water quality diminished, and fish and wildlife habitat
destroyed. Hydrilla, water hyacinth and water lettuce are the most troublesome species.
To manage invasive species on our waterways, Swiftmud often uses airboats to apply
aquatic herbicides to eliminate or keep troublesome infestations in check. These
applications occasionally require that some water uses, such as irrigation, be curtailed
for a period of time. Restrictions are announced to the public through media releases.
Also, notification signs are posted at all treatment areas. Other control methods are
also used, such as mechanical harvesters or plant-eating insects or fish.
Aquatic plant management operations on public waters is a cooperative effort among
Swiftmud, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the U.S. Army Corps
of Engineers, the Florida Game and Freshwater Fish Commission and local governments.
Wetland and upland ecosystems are also impacted by invasive exotic species. The
feral hog is considered the most destructive exotic mammal to natural lands. It competes
with native wildlife for food. Through its continuous "rooting" behavior it causes soil
erosion, destroys plant communities and damages trails and access roads. Swiftmud
periodically holds feral hog hunts on its lands to control hog populations.
Invasive plant species, such as melaleuca, Brazilian pepper and cogon grass choke
out beneficial native plants and trees, reduce suitable wildlife habitat, and can alter
natural fire ecology which sustains many of Florida's unique ecosystems. For instance,
melaleuca, a tree which reproduces very rapidly, consumes as much as 2,200 gallons of
water an hour per acre.
Swiftmud is authorized by Governing Board Policy 610-3 and Florida Statute
Chapter 373.59 to control exotic species as needed to preserve natural ecosystem
Exotic Species Management 1 of 2
Exotic plant and animal management is an important and necessary component of
Swiftmud's responsibilities of natural systems protection, water quality, water quantity
and flood protection. Effective management of these species also requires the
participation of local governments and property owners.
For more information about exotic species management, call 1-800-423-1476.
2 of 2
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Hooding orida Style wpt ngu
A Southwest Florida Water Management District Issues Paper
Beautiful weather and water are two natural attractions for Florida. They are also
two reasons why many people live in west central Florida. In fact, an attraction to
water has spurred much ofthe growth anddevelopment in west central Florida's coastal,
river and lake areas. However, this development has increased problems with flood
damage in Florida.
Why Fooding Occurs
Florida receives some of the highest rainfall in the country an average of 52
inches annually. More than 60 percent of this rain falls during the summer rainy season
(June through September), when rainfall averages 6 to 8 inches monthly. During the
remainder of the year, rainfall averages 2 to 3 inches per month. With most of the rain
falling within a relatively short time period, flooding can and does occur.
Flooding is a natural occurrence. When the stormwater runoff from a heavy rainfall
overflows a lake, stream or wetland, the water should flow into the nearby floodplain.
A floodplain is normally dry land that provides temporary storage for excess water.
Flooding cai also occur in low-lying coastal areas when a storm or hurricane causes a
tidal surge, forcing seawater to rise and move inland. When floodplains are used for
development, flooding can cause damage to homes and property.
The Southwest Florida Water Management District was created by the Florida
Legislature in 1961 as a flood control agency. Over the years, the mission and
responsibilities of District have grown. Its mission now is to manage and protect the
public's water resources balancing the needs of current and future users, while
protecting the environment. This mission includes flood protection, and natural
systems, water quality and water quantity management.
The traditional method offlood protection-is the "structural" approach. This involves
building ditches, canals, dams and structures ("gates") to ensure that formerly flood-
prone areas are reasonably safe from flooding. Of the 73 water management structures
the District maintains and operates, only six of them are actual flood protection
structures. The rest regulate water levels in lakes or prevent saltwater from flowing up
freshwater streams and rivers. The use of structural flood management is less
environmentally-sensitive and more costly than the, District's current policy of
preservation and use of natural drainage and floodplain areas.
The simplest and most effective approach to flood protection is prevention not
building in or altering floodplain areas. Areas that flood naturally provide a host of water
management functions that need to be preserved, including:
providing temporary floodwater storage, minimizing flood damage to other areas;
serving as recharge areas for the aquifer our main source for drinkifig water;
improving water quality
sediments settle out of floodwater as it flows across a floodplain; and,
serving as important natural habitats.
Flooding Florida Style 2 of 2
Although the District's origin is rooted in structural flood protection, the emphasis '
and current policy has shifted to planning for the futureussing non-structural
methods and preserving natural floodplain areas. -
One non-structural approach to protecting floodplain areas is to bring the land
under public ownership. Since the 1970s, the District has acquired more than 260,000
acres of land for the public under the state's Save Our Rivers and Preservation 2000
programs. More than 224,000 acres held for the public floodplain. Over 95 percent of
these lands are open to the public for recreational activities. The only areas closed are
structure sites and other places that are not safe for the public.
The District also regulates construction that impacts surface water systems like
lakes and rivers. State statutes require that construction have no overall change on
the volume of water that can be stored within the 100-year floodplain nor can it
obstruct the flow of water within the floodplain. Theqe ruleshelp preserve the floodwater
storage benefits of a floodplain, while allowing reasonable and responsible development.
Because responsibility to regulate these activities did not exist until the 1980s, many
local flooding problems are in developments built before then.
It is important to understand the difference between local flooding and regional
flooding. Localized flooding happens when heavy rains, in a short time period,
overwhelm stormwater drainage systems. Local governments are responsible for building
and maintaining systems to manage local flooding problems. Local governments also
control land use planning and development, which can influence the potential for
local flooding. The District has no authority in matters of local flooding.
The District, along with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACOE), is
responsible for regional flood management. These regional flood management systems
are large-scale systems, originating from the USACOE's Four River Basins, Florida
project, which was started in the early 1960s. Construction cost for the Four River
Basins project within the District exceeded $73,000,000 and resulted in nine major
flood protection structures and 30 miles of canals.
Working Together for Protection
To minimize flood damage, it is essential to know floodplain boundaries. Almost all
major rivers, streams, and lakes in the District have been studied and flood levels
identified for 10-, 25- and 100-year floods. The District provides this information to
local governments to aid them in their land-use development decisions.
Projects cooperatively funded by the District and local governments develop
stormwater management master plafis, conduct aerial mapping, and floodplain analysis
all of which aidl to floodplain identification. Once identified, the natural benefits
of a floodplain can be protected and preserved.
Flooding is a natural part of Florida life as natural as the sun and the water.
Realizing the significance and location of floodplain areas is key to minimizing the
damage and annoyance flooding can cause.
Citizens can get more information by calling the District at 1-800-423-1746 (TDD
1-800-231-1603) and asking for the brochure, "The Floodplain Facts."
F n Florida St 2 of 2
Flooding Florida Sty 2 ~of-2
Funding Water Resource Protection s r
Protectio Wntcer ReioSurce.s
A Southwest Florida Water Management District Issues Paper
The mission of the Southwest Florida Water Management District or "Swiftmud"
is to manage and protect the public's water and water-related resources. It accomplishes
its mission through programs in four areas: flood protection, water supply, water quality
and natural systems. Budgeting and funding this mission is a continuous process, with
many opportunities for public input.
Each year a budget is prepared for three major categories: the General Fund, Special
Revenue Funds and Capital Projects Funds.
Generating the Funds
Funds for the General Fund budget and the Basin Boards' budgets are generated
through ad valorem, or property taxes. The District and the Basin Boards are each
authorized by state statute to levy up to .50-mill in ad valorem taxes. One mill is equal
to $1 of taxper $1,000 of appraised property value. Historically, the millage rates for
the Districtwide General Fund and the individual Basin Boards have remained below
the amounts authorized by statute. The village rate for the General Fund remained
unchanged at .422 mills from fiscal year 1994 through fiscal year 1997 (FY97). For the
Basin Boards, FY97 was the second or third year thatmillage rates remained unchanged.
The District's fiscal year runs from Oct. 1 through Sept. 30.
The General Fund is Swiftmud's general operating fund. The General Fund is used
to finance Districtwide programs, such as the New Water Sources Initiative (NWSI)
program. The NWSI program provides a financial incentive for local governments to
develop alternative water sources, such as seawater desalination and recycled water.
More than 90 percent of the water used in the District is supplied by underground
aquifers, which are replenished by rainfall Alternative sources are necessary in order
to reduce our dependence on rainfall. NWSI project costs are shared by Swiftmud's
Governing and Basin Boards, and local governments.
District regulatory or permitting functions in the areas of water use, surface water
management and well construction are funded from the General Fund, as well as
enforcement activities in these areas. The General Fund also includes funding for
District support functions.
Special Revenue Funds account for the proceeds of specific revenue sources that
are legally restricted to finance specific purposes. These specific purposes include the
individual budgets for Swiftmud's eight Basin Boards and the Surface Water
Improvement and Management program.
Divided along natural water boundaries, Basin Boards work with local governments
to identify and help resolve local water issues. Their budgets are funded through ad
valorem, or property taxes, that are assessed within each specific Basin. Basin Board
budgets include funding for the New Water Sources Initiative program, as well as the
Cooperative Funding program. Through the Cooperative Funding program, local
governments, industries, private utilities and others recommend projects that address
Funding Water Resource Protection I of 3
local water issues. Funding for chosen projects is, usually equally shared between the
Basin Board and the local "cooperator." Cooperative Funding projects include reclaimed
water systems, conservation programs, stornwater management, flood protection and
The Surface Water Improvement and Management or SWIM program was
established by the Florida Legislature in 1987to improve and protect the water quality
and natural systems in lakes, rivers and estuaries of regional significance. It does this
through habitat restoration and projects to improve the quality of stormwater before it
flows into larger waterbodies. SWIM projects are funded through a variety of sources:
the state's Ecosystems Management Restoration Trust Fund, the state's Water
Management Lands Trust Fund (commonly known as the Save Our Rivers or SOR
program), state and federal grants, local government matching funds, and the Basin
Boards' budgets for projects within their basins.
Capital Projects Funds provide the resources for the acquisition or construction of
major capital projects. This includes the District's Land Acquisition program. Swiftmud
purchases land in order to preserve and protect the water resource. As of 1997, Swiftmud
has acquired more than 268,000 acres, managing and protecting it for the public. More
than 95 percent of these lands are open to the public for recreational activities such as
hiking, canoeing, horseback riding, camping or fishing. An estimated 2.3 million people
enjoy the recreational opportunities on these lands annually. Funds for land acquisitions
and land management activities come from the state SOR program and the Florida
Preservation 2000 (P2000) program, and do not impact millage rates.
The Capital Projects Fund also includes funding for the Four River Basins, Florida
Project. Swiftmud is the designated local sponsor in this federal grant program through
the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE). In the 1960s, the Four River Basins, Florida
Project constructed four federal flood protection facilities, which the District is
responsible for operating. These structures can be opened to help reduce flooding in
the Tsala Apopka chain of lakes inCitrus County, Masaryktown in Hemando County,
northern Pinellas County and portions of Tampa. Funds from this program are currently
designated for the development of a wilderness park in Hillsborough County, with the
COE doing the construction. This program also does not impact millage rates.
The Capital Projects Fund also includes funds for District facilities.
Accountability to the Public
Florida Statutes ensure Water Management District accountability in the following
A tentative District operating budget is developed by July 15 each year. The
District makes'public notice of all budget hearings to provide public access to budget
information. Additionally, the monthly Governing Board and the bi-monthly Basin
Board meetings are open to the public,
The District is required to submit the tentative budget to Department of
Environmental Protectign (DEP), who in turn must submit comments and
recommendations to the Governor by Sept. 15.
In accordance with the state Truth In Millage (TRIM) process, the District holds
two public hearings on the budget in September.
New Legislation provides for the Governor's office to review and approve the
Funding Water Resource Protection 2 of 3
final budgets of all five Water Management Districts before the second and final public
TRIM budget hearing in September.
Within 45 days after adoption of the final budget, the District must provide a
five-year capital improvement plan and fiscal report to the Governor, President of the
Senate, Speaker of the House and Secretary of DEP.
The District must conduct a third-party financial audit annually and the Florida
Auditor General conducts a compliance audit every three years. The District also
maintains a full-time office of inspector general with internal auditors, who answer
directly to the Governing Board.
The Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) has awarded Swiftmud
with the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for the last
seven consecutive years. This award recognizes that the District's comprehensive annual
financial report is easily readable, efficiently organized and conforms with the highest
standards of preparation for state and local government financial reports. GFOA has
also awarded Swiftmud the Distinguished Budget Presentation for the past three years.
This indicates that Swiftmud's budget document is proficient in policy documentation,
financial planning and organization. Swiftmud is one of the few governmental agencies
in North America to receive both the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award and
the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the GFOA.
The Southwest Florida Water Management District is committed to its mission of
protecting and managing water and water-related resources for the public. The District
is equally committed to its responsibility to use the public's tax dollars wisely. The
public is encouraged to become more involved in water management issues. Please
call the District at 1-800-423-1476 for more information.
Funding Water Resource Protection 3 of 3
The Job of the Southwest Florida water tesoures
Water Management District
A Southwest Florida Water Management Disct Issues Paper
The Southwest Florida Water Management District (Swiftmud) is the agency
responsible for managing your water resources. Its job is to maintain a balance between
the water needs of current and future users while protecting the environment.
The quality of life in Florida is inseparably linked to the water resource. Most of
Florida's growth is in coastal areas, where freshwater is least abundant and natural
systems such as estuaries and wetlands are most vulnerable. As a result, water
management in the 1990s involves balancing conflicting priorities to provide adequate
water supplies for human needs and appropriate flood protection while protecting the
The Florida legislature set the stage for the creation four state's water management
districts in 1949 when it created the Centr!l and Southern Florida Flood Control
District, now known as South Florida Water Management District (Swiftmud).
Swiftmud was established in 1961 by special act of the legislature. The Water Resources
Act of 1972 preserved the two existing districts and provided that the entire state
would be protected by water management districts established along hydrologic
boundaries. Swiftmud is one of five regional water management districts in Florida
that work in cooperation with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection
to meet water management challenges and address unique water resource issues in our
particular region of Florida.
Ensuring adequate water supplies, for humans and for the environment, is central
to the mission of the water management district. A variety of effective water supply
programs, including a Water Use Permitting program, regulate the amount of water
taken from underground resources. The District's regulatory efforts are balanced with
incentives such as the New Water Sources Initiative and other cooperative funding
projects to encourage the development and use of recycled water, aquifer storage and
recovery, and other nontraditional sources.
The District is actively involved in maintaining and improving the quality of the
waters within its jurisdiction. Regulatory programs, such as Well Construction and
Water Use Permitting, prevent overuse and contamination of underground water
supplies. A Quality Water Improvement Program helps plug abandoned wells to keep
pollution from reaching underground resources through surface openings. The Surface
Water Improvement and Management (SWIM) program helps communities improve
the quality of surface waters and restore plant and animal habitat.
For more than half of its history, flood protection has been the primary responsibility
of the District. We have found the simplest, most effective approach to flood protection
The Job of the Southwest Florida Water Management District 1 of 2
is prevention. For example, fpoding is prevented when we ensure that development
takes place away from flood pains and that it does n6t alter natural patterns of water
movement and storage. Additionally, the District operates more than 75 man-;nade
water management structures. Some of them are operated in times of flood to divert
water away from people. others are used in tines of low rainfall to keep up lakes'
levels. Others serve as barriers to keep saltwater from entering fresh surface waters.
To protect the public's water resource, Swiftmud acquires land to protect natural
systems. All public lands protected by the District have at least one thing in common:
they assure effective stewardship of water resources. For instance, a particular property
may provide flood protection, preserve water quality or even reserve a future water
supply, but each maintains an opportunity that may not be there in the future. As an
added benefit, many of the lands acquired for this purpose also are available for
environmentally-sensitive activities such as camping, fishing, bilkng and hiking. The
District is niow caretaker to more than 250,000 acres of protected public land.
Resource Management Today and In the Future
Swtift ud serves 3.6 million people in a 10,000-sqiare-mile area that covers all of
part of these 16 counties: Charlotte, Citrus, DeSoto, Hardee, Hernando, Highlands,
Hillsborough, Lake, Levy, Manatee, Marion, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Sarasota and Sumter.
In the years since it began, the District has seen dramatic changes. Rapidly increasing
population and development, greater environmental management responsibilities and
recognition of water .resource limitations have created substantial challenges to our
goal of balancing the ieed for water with environmental protection. Yet, the District
is steadfastly committed to managing your water resources for today and for the future.
The Job of the Southwest Florida Water Management District 2of2
Land and Water after Rres
A Southwest Floida Water Management District Issues Paper
For the Southwest Florida Water Management District (Swiftmud) to meet its
statutory responsibilities of protecting and managing water resources, it must achieve
effective communication and coordination with local and state governments, which
have authority over specific land-use planning and regulatory decisions.
The home-rule authority of the 98 cities and counties within the District's
jurisdiction and the local land use decisions that come from this statutory authority
have important consequences for regional and local water management. For example,
development in floodplains may result in the loss of natural flood storage areas and
subsequent property damage. Additionally, public water wells can become contaminated
if not properly protected from inappropriate uses of land, and water supply availability
must be coordinated with future growth to assure natural resource limitations are
considered and respected. Beyond that, agriculture, mining and urban development
may pollute surface waters if sound stormwater management measures are not made
law and enforced. These examples illustrate the significance of coordinated strategies
between water and land managers.
There has been considerable discussion at the state level about the need for improved
integration of land and water planning and management. This issue has been addressed
by a number of recent committees, including Partners For A Better Florida, the
Governor's Task Force on Land Use and Water Planning, the Water Management
District Review Commission, and most recently, the Governor's Water Supply
Development and Funding Task Force. Despite the numerous recommendations that
have been made by these and other groups, there is an expressed need for better statutory
linkages between the land use planning and management activities of local
governments, and the activities of the water management districts.
However, there is already much that Swiftmud can do, and is doing, to ensure
effective coordination between land and water management, absent of any Legislative
changes. The District has had a positive influence in integrating land and water
planning by voluntarily providing technical assistance to local governments in their
comprehensive plan development, and through its involvement in advisory review of
local plans, and Developments of Regional Impacts (or DRIs). Critical to this technical
assistance is the identification of future water supply needs and sources. The District
has developed not only a District-wide Needs and Sources Plan but has also developed
more specific water supply plans for designated Water Use Caution Areas. The
information in these plans is critical to many local governments as they go about
revising their local plans. The District has also assisted in the development of various
model ordinances related to water management, including:
Underground water supply protection,
Water shortage management,
Land and Water Planning Linkage 1 of 2
Water-conserving landscaping, and
Protection of surface waterbodies.
Other key areas of local technical assistance include floodplain delineation and
recharge area mapping. All technical information available from the District for use
by local governments is inventoried in the recently updated "Local Government
Information Guide," available free of charge to all local governments.
Finally, the District, in its District Water Management Plan, has attempted to
strengthen and enhance District and local coordination efforts through the
development of integrated plans, or county by county water management plans. The
integrated plans are intended to identify resource management issues within each county
and the strategies necessary to address them.
Water and land use are linked to each other and our quality of life. Strengthening
the link between them and the ties among local government, water management
districts, regional panning councils and state government, will help ensure the quality
of our environment and the sustainability of our water resources.
7 -..2 -...j W... I...
LuKLur WiLL WMCr I-WTUTg micaage
Minimum Flows and Levels: water Re
Knowing When To Say When
A Southwest Floia Water Management Distict Issues Paper
In Florida, water belongs to everyone.
The Southwest Florida Water Management District (Swiftmud) has the statutory
responsibility to issue Water Use Permits which allow permit holders to draw water
from surface water bodies (rivers, lakes, streams) or from underground (aquifers). A
permit is literally a permission slip to use the public's water resource for a limited time
in a limited way under certain conditions. To obtain a permit, the applicant must
show that the use meets three statutory criteria the use is reasonable and beneficial,
is in the public interest, and does not interfere with existing legal users.
To ensure that issued permits do not allow too much water to be taken from the
environment, the District must know the minimum flow or level the limit at which
further water withdrawals could cause significant harm to the water resources and
When a river or stream drops below the minimum flow level, the aquatic life (plants
and animals) of the system is harmed. The flow of rivers and streams also impacts
estuaries semi-enclosed bodies where freshwater and saltwater mix. Most recreational
fish species depend on the estuaries as a safe harbor during their early life cycles. Without
enough freshwater flowing in from the rivers and streams, the estuaries become "saltier,"
disrupting the delicate balance of life.
Likewise, when lake levels drop below the safe minimum, the ecosystem can be
disrupted. If the water levels are not restored, the environment, the economy and the
quality of life is reduced.
In coastal areas, when the level of the aquifer falls too low, saltwater can intrude
into the freshwater drinking source. Inland, lakes, wetlands and private wells dry up as
aquifer levels drop.
Swiftmud has the most aggressive minimum flows and levels program in Florida
and has already set regulatory levels on approximately 400 lakes. An additional 150
lakes have been identified for future level setting. All 14 named rivers in the District
have minimum flow studies completed or under way. Minimum flows are established
in the water use permits for the Little Manatee, Manatee and Peace rivers, and further
evaluations are under way as part of permits for the Braden, Hillsborough and Manatee
rivers and Shell Creek.
Minimum levels for the Floridan aquifer are established in the southern half of the
District as part of the Southern Water Use Caution Area rule. Implementation of that
rule is pending the resolution of a hearing officer's final order.
Minimum levels for the Floridan aquifer in the northern end of the District are
currently being established. These minimum levels are being developed based on an
Minimum Flows and Levels: Knowing When To Say When I of 2
8-year study of the area called the Northern Tampa Bay Water Resources Assessment
Legislation passed in 1996 required the District to complete setting minimum flows
and levels for priority water bodies in the northern Tampa By area by Qct, 1, 1997.
Previously, the Governor and his cabinet, meeting as the Floiida Land and Water
Adjudicatory Commission (FLAWAC), had set deadlines ofJuly 1999 for priority water
bodies in Water Use Caution Areas andJuly 2001 for other priority water bodies.
In June 1996, after three months of public workshops, the District established a
priority schedule for setting minimum flows and levels. The Northern Tampa Bay area
priority water bodies include the Floridan aquifer and,nine lakes. The District had
already established minimum levels for about 66 percent of the lakes in this area. The
priority schedule was accepted by both the Department of Environmental Protection
and the Governor.
By establishing minimum flows and levels, the District can tell permit holders "when
to say when," to protect the environment and the long-term health of the water
resource, the environment and our special Florida way of life.
The District has scheduled the following minimum flows and levels to be established
by Oct. 1, 1997:
Floridan Aquifer Minimum Ground Water Levels in Northern Tampa Bay
Water Resource Assessment Project area
Lower reaches ofHillsborough River and Tampa Bypass Canal
Priority lakes in the northern Tampa Bay area that have been impacted by
wellfield pumping. Lakes include: Barbara, Big Fish, Cypress, Dosson, Ellen,
Helen, Little Moon, Sapphire and Sunshine.
Minimum Flows and Levels: Knowing When ToSay Whena 2 of 2
Mitigation Water Resorces
A Southwest Florida Water Management District Issues Paper
The Southwest Florida Water Management District manages water resources to
balance the needs of current and future water users while also protecting the
environment. The District's authority to regulate water-related activities is a major
tool in accomplishing this mission. The District issues water use permits for water
withdrawals. A water use permit is permission given to an applicant to use the public's
water resource in a specified way, for a specified period of time, under certain restrictions
and considerations. The District also issues environmental resource permits for activities
affecting stormwater and floodplain management and wetlands.
A permitted activity may sometimes impact wetlands or floodplains. A wetland is
an area that is saturated by surface or ground water for a sufficient period of time to
support plants that are adapted to life in flooded or wet soils. A floodplain is relatively
low land that is likely to be saturated following a storm.
.When a permitted activity adversely impacts the environment, an action or series
of actions that offset the environmental impact is required. This is called mitigation.
There are two areas of mitigation: wetland and floodplain.
Wetland mitigation offsets the loss of the benefits and functions of wetlands by
providing an equivalent increase in benefits and functions in another area. Wetlands
are critical to the health of the environment. They protect water quality by filtering
sediments, nutrients and other material from runoff before it enters water bodies.
Wetlands are a natural water storage system and act as floodwater detention areas.
Important wildlife, recreational game, commercial and recreational fish, and many
protected species live in wetlands.
When a permitted activity causes adverse environmental impacts, a permit applicant
must try to modify the plan to reduce or eliminate those impacts. This is done by
modifying the design of the project where possible. When design modifications have
been completed, adverse impacts that remain may be offset by creating new wetlands;
by restoring or enhancing impacted wetlands; by preserving wetlands similar to those
being impacted; by preserving uplands; or various combinations of the above.
However, the District will not permit activities that significantly degrade
Outstanding Florida Waters or adversely impact habitat for protected species.
The amount of impacted wetland versus the amount that must be created, restored,
enhanced or preserved is a ratio. This ratio is based on the amount of improvement
expected from each type of mitigation. The ratios are use&as guidelines for planning
purposes. The actual ratio that will offset adverse impacts may be higher or lower,
depending on the specific conditions of the proposed project.
When mitigation is allowed, there are four types that can be used:
Creation The creation of new wetlands typically involves digging a basin and
planting trees or leafy plants to create a new wetland area. For every acre of impacted
wetland, 1.5 to five acres of new wetland area must be created (ratio 1:1.5-5).
Mitigation 1 of 2
Restoration If a wetland has been affected so that it no longer functions as a
wetland, it can be restored to its original condition. For every acre of impacted wetland,
1.5 to five acres of wetland area must be restored (ratio 1:1.5-5). This is generally
expected to be more successful than wetland creation because the area once served as
a wetland. Soil characteristics, water levels, elevations and other factors favor wetland
Enhancement-- In this type of mitigation, the environmental value of a previously
damagedd wetland is improved. This is often done by removing exotic plant species,
which pose a threat to Florida's natural systems by destroying wetland habitats, reducing
wildlife food sources and altering fire and drainage patterns. For every acre of impacted
wetland, four to 20 acres of wetland area must be enhanced (ratio 1:4-20).
Preservation:-- This type of mitigation offers improved protection of important
ecosystems. Preservation can include land donations, conservation easements which
prohibit activities harmful to the resource, or other comparable land use restrictions of
wetlands, other surface waters or uplands. Since preservation alone is not enough to
offset adverse impacts, it will most frequently be used in combination with one of the
other three types of mitigation. Consequently, for every acre of impacted wetland, 10
to 60 acres of wetlands must be preserved (ratio 1:10-60). Or, fqr every acre of wetland
impacted, three to 20 acres of upland must be preserved (ratio 1:3-20).
In general, wetland mitigation is best when it is at the impacted area or close to the
impacted aea. Off-site mitigation is allowed when it offsets adverse impacts and on-
site mitigation isn't beneficial, or if it would improve the ecological value of the area.
When off-site mitigation is allowed, permit applicants can use a mitigation bank.
A mitigation bank has a permit to improve the conditions of an area through creation,
restoration, enhancement or preservation. In exchange for improving these conditions,
the mitigation bank earns mitigation credits. Applicants for permits which allow off-
site mitigation can purchase credits from the bank to fulfill mitigation requirements.
A credit is a unit df measure that is equivalent to the ecological value gained by the
creation of one acre of wetland. For the permit applicant, the benefits of using a
mitigation bank include cost savings and transfer of responsibility for monitoring and
maintaining the mitigation area. For the public, the benefits include increasing the
chances of success by consolidating multiple projects ito larger areas.
A mitigation area is monitored until its success can be demonstrated: all applicable
water quality standards are iet, it has demonstrated sustainable ecological and
hydrological functions, and specific conditions in the permit are met.
The second, and most common, type of mitigation is floodplain mitigation.
For this type of mitigation, the District most commonly uses a "cup for cup" theory.
For instance, during development, .when part of a basin is filled, another part of the
same basin must be emptied Or, f you fill a cup, youmust empty a cup.
Whether addressing impacts: to wetands or floodplains, mitigation is one of the
tools used by the District to fulfill its mission of protecting the water resources.
Mitigation 2 of 2
Northern Tampa Bay waer Rees
Water Caution Area
A Southwest Florida Water Management District Issues Paper
It is the mission of the Southwest Florida Water Management District to balance
the competing needs of water users with those of the environment. Right now, we are
at a critical stage where needs have outstripped the water resource's ability to provide
potable water in several areas. Increases in groundwater withdrawals have created
significant environmental impacts impacts that need to be addressed to sustain the
natural resources of the area.
To better identify and manage the resources within contained, geographic areas,
the District has identified what are called Water Use Caution Areas. A Water Use
Caution Area (WUCA) is a designation given to a region of specific water resource
concerns. One WUCA, the Southern Water Use Caution Area covering all or part of
Hillsborough, Manatee, Polk, Sarasota, DeSoto, Charlotte, Highlands and Hardee
counties, has been the focus of substantial public and technical debate for more than
four years. There, the underground water resource in the coastal area is in jeopardy
from saltwater intrusion caused by increased pumping primarily from agricultural and
industrial demands. As the District moves forward to establish rules for managing the
challenges of an ever-growing region in the southern part of the District, those with a
vested interest were invited to participate in the development of rules to govern them,
and the water they use for years to come.
The Northern Tampa Bay (NTB) Water Use Caution Area includes all of Pinellas
county and parts of both Hillsborough and Pasco counties. In these areas, water use by
customers for municipal utilities place the biggest demand on the water resources.
Already, the consequences of overpumping for public consumption are evident.
Overpumping was compounded by the effects of a five-year rainfall deficit, during the
late 1980s and early 1990s. which ravaged lakes and wetlands and lowered aquifer
The critical information needed to make these determinations began with the NTB
Water Resource Assessment Project (WRAP), started in the late 1980s. The results of
the assessment were finalized in a report that tracks both current and future impacts
and the causes of those impacts. The WRAP utilized computer modeling of the regional
groundwater system to evaluate the effect of groundwater withdrawals on environmental
impacts. From these cause and effect relationships, to trend analysis, this comprehensive
compilation of technical documentation also provides recommendations to improve
resource monitoring in the future. Conclusions from this report will be used to guide
decisions specific to the NTBWUCA. The implications are clear if underground
water withdrawals continue at their present pace, unacceptable environmental damage
A Southwest Florida Water Management District Issues Paper
The region's water resources belong to all of us. But because water is limited and
demand for water continues to rise, it must be wisely and fairly allocated and protected
to ensure safe, reliable supplies now and ii the future. Thikprotection is accomplished
in part through the permitting process of the Southwest Florida Water Management
District (Swiftmud). Permits are issued and coordinated by the permitting departments
in Brooksville, Tampa, Venice and Bartow.
The District issues permits to quantify and safeguard the amount of surface and
underground water used, and to protect associated environmental resources. This is
water management. The permitting system protects the water resource for existing
and future water users, as well as the environment. A permit is permission granted to
an applicant touse the public's water resource in a limited way, for a limited period of
time, with certain restrictions and constraints. The permitting process usually takes
60 to 90 days.
The District's authority to issue permits is contained in Chapter 373 of the Florida
Statutes. Those statutory guidelines are the basis for the District's permitting rules,
which spell out in detail how permit applications will be evaluated. Fees are levied to
cover part of the cost of processing the permits. The fees vary according to the type of
permit and the size of the proposed project.
The District issues three major types of permits water use, environmental resource
or surface water, and well construction. Within those main categories are two tiers:
general and individual permits. General permits are issued for water quantities below
a specified amount and are approved by District staff. Individual permits are for larger
quantities and require approval of the District's Governing Board. Permit applicants
must also demonstrate that they will incorporate "best management practices" or
conservation techniques in their operations.
A water use permit allows a user to withdraw a specified amount of water, either
from the ground or from a lake or river. The water can be used to irrigate crops, nursery
plants or golf courses; in the manufacturing process of various products, such as citrus
processing; to operate industrial plants; and to provide drinking water for domestic
An environmental resource permit (ERP) must be obtained before beginning any
construction activity that would affect wetlands, alter surface water flows, or contribute
to water pollution. An ERP combines wetland resources permitting and the
management and storage of surface water permitting into a single permit in an effort
to streamline the permitting process.
Well construction permits are required before installation of a well within the
District. The permits ensure that wells are constructed by qualified contractors and
meet rigid safety and durability standards. These standards help protect the quality
Sand quantity of our water resource.
Permitting I of 2
Permits represent a contract between a permit holder and the District. By working
together, the two can make dramatic strides to reduce withdrawals on the underground
water supply in severely stressed areas.
For example, in mid-1996, two years of negotiations between the Swiftmud staff
and IMC-Agrico resulted in an approved permit that combined 11 existing permits
and decreased the amount of water the phosphate mining company would be authorized
to pump from the aquifer from 104.7 million gallons,a day (mgd) to 29 mgd. The
dramatic reduction resulted from an increase in water reuse during phosphate ore
The IMC-Agrico permit is just one example where the District and water users
have worked hand-in-handto protect the resource. This cooperation is necessary to
achieve a balance between meeting the water needs of users and protecting the water
resource. The District's mission is to achieve that balance.
Failing to obtain a permit or to comply with the conditions of the permit can result
in a fine and other legal action. As the primary agency in west central Florida responsible
for protecting the public's water resources, it is the District's responsibility to balance
the competing needs of all water users while protecting the environment.
In Florida, water belongs to all of the people. With this ownership comes the right
to use it, but not without the responsibility'to protect it.
Permitting 2 of 2
Public Outreach Means waters
Communication and Education
A Southwest Florida Water Management District Issues Paper
Public outreach education and communication is an important part of
everything we do at the Southwest Florida Water Management District (Swiftmud).
First and foremost, Swiftmud is responsible forgiving residents, visitors, lawmakers,
farmers, and business people information about the water that each of us depends on.
With this information, each water user can make informed choices and decisions.
Swiftmud's outreach programs also allow us to hear from you and to know what you
think about water and water resource protection.
Swiftmud's in-school education program offers water resource curricula and materials
for use inside and outside the formal classroom. Easy-to-use water resource materials,
such as teacher guides, posters, maps, brochures and videos, are available to guide
teachers in presenting water related studies. Swiftmud also works closely with teachers
and administrators to set up informative, innovative programs and provide teacher
Water-related materials, curricula and workshops help teachers focus on water
resource issues and the development of programs based on local water bodies. Field
trips, special events, workshops and other local activities also are available to supplement
classroom activities. These regional programs are funded through Swiftmud's Basin
Public education efforts target adults in our communities. Swiftmud works with
local governments, regional agencies and organizations throughout its 16-county area
to provide communities with learning opportunities about water and water resource
issues. Workshops bring communities together to talk about water resource concerns
and suggest solutions. Printed materials on conservation, Xeriscape, flood protection,
water quality, Swiftmud-managed land and other water-related topics are available to
the public by request or at special events and community activities. Water resource
information is presented to a variety of groups and audiences through programs with
local governments, museums, aquariums and research facilities. Water resource exhibits
and educational materials are developed to help the public understand the complexity
of water issues and the relationship between water, the environment and the natural
beauty that attracts many people to Florida.
In addition to educational programs, Swiftmud public information staff work daily
with members of the news media to provide information for stories about water and
water management issues. Through his effort, staff strives to provide the public with
the most accurate information available.
Water resource information and issues change rapidly. Current news is provided
through Water Management Monthly. Each month, the newsletter reviews Governing
Board actions, highlights new projects and programs, and updates ongoing rule-making
Public Outreach Means Communication and Education 1 of 2
activities. Water issues are the focus of this two-page report, which alo includes a
regular hydrologic conditions report.
An innovative cable television program, Water Manag* entTV, is presented in
selected counties. Each program highlights water resource and nanage mket, issues.
Water Management TV brings the viewer the latest news and information about water
and gives them an opportunity to call-in for on-air answers to water resource questions.
Our commitment tO offer accurate, timely information is supplemented by an
Internet home page oh theWorld Wide Web that featuiesregularly updated information
on a broad range of water management issues and topics. The Internet Web Site offers
news, brochures, newsletters, and other' information about water management.
Water plays an integral role in the economy of Florida. Water issues impact the
entire state. Swiftmud works with the state's four other Water Management Districts
to produce an award winning magazine, Florida Water. The publication provides readers
an overview of water resource issues, programs and projects around the state on a
semi-annual basis. The free magazine is available by subscription and can be found in
Local and regional governments and the State of Florida are important partners
with Swiftmud in maintaining the water resource. Staff interacts with state and local
government personnel to provide support for cooperative projects and water resource
issues. The District has a specific program designed to assist local governments with
the water-related portions of teir comprehensive plans. cities and counties are
furnished with important data and information. Technical assistance is provided upon
request. Swiftfmud also advises tie state land planning agency (Department of
Community Affairs) during the formal review of local plans and plan amendments.
SThese efforts are intended to encourage local governments to become our partners in
water management. Swiftmud provides legislators and their staff information on water-
relatedissues within the region, and District staff works with the federal government
and international groups to gain insight and help support efforts in water conservation
and the development of alternative water sources. These efforts result in an exchange
of information that benefits all involved.
Through surveys, comment cards, program evaluations and personal interaction,
Swiftmud staff encourages public input. A Speakers'Bureau arranges for staff to attend
local meetings of community, social, service, civic and other organizations to discuss
water resource issues and receive input from the audience.
Public outreach encourages an involved public that can make informed choices in
support of preserving andprotecting the water resource. As demand for water increases,
the choices will be harder. A balance between competing needs for and preservation
of the water resource is crucial to maintaining the economy, the environment and the
quality of life in Florida.
Public Outreach Means Communication and Education 2of2
A Southwest Florida Water Management District Issues Paper
Sinkholes are a natural occurrence. They are as common in Florida as lakes, rivers
and warm weather. In fact, many lakes in central Florida were formed by sinkholes.
As the name suggests, sinkholes result from the ground "sinking" and creating a
depression. The cause of the depression is underground in the porous limestone base.
Over millions of years, limestone was deposited to create the Florida peninsula.
Subsequent rainfall filtered through the ground to the limestone, eroding and dissolving
the soluble rock and creating cavities in the subsurface. These cavities serve as part of
the aquifers containing our underground freshwater supplies.
Layers of sand and clay rest between the land surface and the limestone cavities
below. This "support" layer separates the land's surface from the limestone cavities
below. The thinner the support layer, the more likely it is that sinkholes will occur.
The "sinking" can be caused by added pressure from above ground, such as development
or standing water from heavy rains. It can also be caused by the continued, natural
erosion of the limestone base enlarging the existing cavities by the flow of water.
The lowering of underground water levels, either by lack of rainfall or overpumping
for water supply, can also contribute to the development of the sinkholes. The water
in the underground cavities helps support the layers holding up the land surface. As
the water level drops, so does the added support from the underground water, allowing
the land surface to collapse into the cavity below.
In the Southwest Florida Water Management District (Swiftmud) area, sinkholes
develop more frequently north of Tampa Bay where the limestone base is closest to the
land surface and the supporting sand and clay layers are thin. Geologists have a good
idea where sinkholes are likely to form geographically, but it's much more difficult to
accurately predict specifically where sinkholes will occur. Special ground-penetrating
radar equipment can be used to create a map of the underground area, but this
information provides only a clue where the cavities are in the subsurface.
Sinkholes usually offer some warning signs before occurring:
Previously buried parts of fence posts, foundations and trees becoming exposed
because of sinking ground.
SSlumping, sagging or slanting fence posts, trees or other objects.
Doors and windows that fail to close properly.
Cracks in walls, floors, pavement and ground surface.
Small ponds of rainfall forming where water has not collected before.
Wilting of small, circular areas of vegetation because the moisture that normally
supports vegetation in the area is draining into the developing sinkhole.
Muddy water in nearby wells during early stages of sinkhole development.
Repairs of sinkholes are the responsibility of the property owner. Swiftmud is the
agency responsible for protecting the water and water-related resources. As part of its
mission the District maintains a list of sinkhole occurrences. If a sinkhole opens all
Sinkholes of 2
the way to the aquifer, surface pollutants can contaminate the underground water
supply. Sinkholes which form in lakes can drain portions of the lake and cause
environmental impacts to wildlife
If your home is threatened, contact your homeowner's insurance company. Make
sure the sinkhole area isfenced, roped or taped off to prevent injuries. And if it is large
enough, contact your local law enforcement office.
Sinkholes 2 of 2
Southwest Florida Water WtMRss
Management District Basin Boards
A Southwest Florida Water Management District Issues Paper
Basin boards are unique to the Southwest Florida Water Management District
(Swiftmud). These boards provide guidance for local programs and objectives that are
specific to the watershed basin they protect. They help the District implement its
water protection mission. As such, they are an important link between local
communities and the District.
There are nine hydrologic basins within the 10,000-square-mile area of the District.
Eight of them have basin boards. The ninth basin is the Green Swamp, headwaters of
four major rivers. Because of its hydrologic significance, the Green Swamp Basin is
administered directly by the Governing Board.
Like the District, each basin board has four major areas of local responsibility: water
supply, water quality, flood protection and natural systems. It is each board's
responsibility to provide a local water management perspective and focus on water-
related issues and projects.
Each board is made up of a minimum of five citizen-volunteers who represent a
cross-section of the area they serve. These volunteers include one representative from
each county within the basin. Like the interests they represent agriculture, urban,
rural, recreation, business, industry and the public all have a stake in a sustainable
water resource. Diverse boards with competing interests balance the protection and
use the resource. These 44 basin board citizen volunteers are appointed by the Governor
and confirmed by the Florida Senate, as are the members of Swiftmud's governing
body. The chair ex officio of each basin board also serves as one of the 11 members of
the District's Governing Board. Each basin appointee serves a three-year period and
can bereappointed to additional terms.
Basin programs are financed primarily through ad valorem taxes. Each basin board
has the statutory authority to levy a maximum tax rate of .5 mills. That's 50 cents for
every $1,000 of property value. As a part of the annual budgeting process, each basin
board determines basin priorities and needs, develops projects to address local needs
and sets the necessary funding levels and corresponding ad-valorem tax rates.
The basin boards and the District are partners in the New Water Sources Initiative
(NWSI), one of the most innovative programs the District sponsors. NWSI is an
aggressive and innovative cooperative investment program. Its objective is to develop
alternative water sources to meet and balance the competing needs of all water users,
including the environment. Alternative water sources include water recycling,
desalination, conservation, aquifer storage and recovery, and other innovative
technologies. The basin boards work cooperatively with local governments to complete
a variety of other projects that have direct and measurable impact in local communities.
Together, the District and the Basin Boards provide 50 percent of the funds for these
Southwest Florida Water Management District Basin Boards 1 of 2
cooperative programs that range from educational activities to reclamation projects to
The following basin boards comprise the District:
Alafia River Basin covers 520 square miles in southern Hillsborough County. The
major rivers in the Basin are the Alafia and the Little Manatee, which feed into Tampa
Coastal Rivers Basin includes 800 miles in the coastal areas of Citrus, Hemando
and Pasco counties. The region includes coastal swamps and gulf coastal lowlands,
with several significant springs.
Hillsborough River Basin covers an area of 673 square miles that includes portions
of Hilsborough, Pasco, Polk and Hernando counties. The Hillsborough River is a
significant source of drinking water for the city of Tampa and freshwater for Tampa
Manasota Basin covers an area of 1,319 square miles, entirely within Manatee and
Sarasota counties. Sarasota Bay is the principal water feature of the Basin.
Northwest Hillsborough Basin includes an area of just 157 square miles within
the northwest part of Hillsborough County.
Peace River Basin covers an area of 3,242 square miles that include portions of
Polk, Hardee, DeSoto, Highlands and western Charlotte counties. As the name suggests,
the Basin's most significant water features are the Peace River and its tributaries and
Charlotte Harbor, where the Peace River meets the Gulf of Mexico.
Pinellas-Anclote River Basin covers 369 square miles and is the most densely
populated area in Florida. The Basin includes all of Pinellas County and a small portion
of Pasco County south of the Anclote River. This Basin imports much of its freshwater
Withlacoochee River Basin, at 2,035 square miles, js.the second largest of the
District's basins. Within the Basin are portions of Pasco, Sumter, Hemando, Citrus,
Marion and Levy counties. As the name suggests, the Withlacoochee River, with
headwaters originating in the Green Swamp, is the area's principal water feature.
Southwest Florida Waer Manaement District Basin Bards 2 of 2
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The State of Our Water Resources WaerRurc
A Southwest Florida Water Management District Issues Paper
The growing Tampa Bay area strains the ability of our natural resources to meet the
needs of the more than two million people who live here. Currently, average water
demand in the tri-county area Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco is about 480 million
gallons per day. By the year 2020, that demand is expected to increase by approximately
18 percent, or about an additional 85 million gallons of water per day.
Surrounded by water and sitting atop large underground water supplies, many west
central Florida residents don't understand how we can be facing a water supply problem.
However, the question is not how much water is there, but how much water we can
safely take without compromising the resource.
Groundwater is west central Florida's primary source of water, but a too heavy reliance
on groundwater is stressing environmental systems, lowering water levels and damaging
thousands of acres of lakes and wetlands. District scientists conducted inspections of
wetlands, finding approximately 13,000 acres are moderately to severely stressed. An
administrative law judge recently ruled that water withdrawals at wellfields was the
primary cause of reduced water levels in the wetlands. Destroying wetlands removes a
natural filtration system, threatening the quality of our water, and puts the area at a
greater risk for flooding.
One way of establishing safe pumping limits is by setting minimum flows and levels
the limit at which further water withdrawals could cause significant harm to the
water resources and ecology. To do so, the District is using a community process
involving governmental, environmental and individual participants to formulate
minimum flows and levels for priority water bodies in the Tampa Bay area. The District
is working to meet a statutory deadline of Oct. 1 of this year to implement minimum
flows and levels. The District has determined that water levels at some wellfields may
be as much as 13 feet below proposed environmental safety limits.
The District believes the key to relieving the stress on our underground water
resources is developing alternative water sources conservation, recycled water, aquifer
storage and recovery, and desalination. Through conservation, we can reduce how
much water people use and lessen the demand on the resource.
Reclaimed water is highly treated effluent which we can use for outdoor irrigation
and industrial purposes. Reusing this water saves freshwater for drinking and other
daily needs and relieves the stress on the environment by reducing the demand for
water from underground and surface waters. Through our Cooperative Funding and
New Water Sources Initiative programs, the District is helping to pay for more than
100 reuse projects that could provide nearly 200 million gallons of reclaimed water
Some of the larger reuse projects in the Tampa Bay area include:
Tampa Water Resource Recovery Could provide up to 50 million gallons of
water daily by giving supplemental treatment to highly treated effluent and returning
The State of OurWater Resources I of 2
rem Ge a. em~Uuir( cmir(li r~ -. minu-~WLSU*I -IlllX*l-*lY - III
that water to the HillsbOrough River fdr later retrieval and treatment for public supply
use. The supplemental treatment could produce recovered water of equal or greater
quality than that already in the'illsborOgh River.
Section 21 Wellfield Rehydration Pilot Project Will assess the effectiveness
of rehydrating stressed lakes and wetlands with stormwater and/or reclaimed water.
Central Hillsborough Reuse Will interconnect treatment plants and offset up
to 14.25 million gallons of water withdrawals daily for residential, nursery, golf course
and agricultural irrigation and industrial process water.
Aquifer Storage and Recovery permits us to collect water when it's plentiful and
store it underground for later use. With more than 60 percent of our rainfall coming
during a four-month period June through September Aquifer Storage and
Recovery is a handy tool that will relieve'the stress of meeting water needs during the
Look west and you'll find the Gulf of Mexico, a vast untapped reservoir. Seawater
desalination is another alternative to groundwater which can help meet our water
needs. Desalination is the process to remove salt from seawater or from brackish (slightly
salty)water. Recent studies have indicated that seawater desalination can be affordable
and environmentally friendly, two former obstacles. The District is currently working
with the West Coast Regional Water Supply Authority to receive and review proposals
from companies interested in building a seawater desalination plant.
Through our proposed Tampa Bay Partnership Plan, the District is offering to spend
$183 million to help West Coast and its member governments develop alternative
water supplies. The plan also calls for the District to contribute $90 million toward
The District developed the Partnership Plan in response to the years of costly
litigation which haye failed to produce one drop of water or solve the water supply
problems of the Tampa Bay area. The Plan has thee goal; Restore the environment,
end the litigation, and provide a safe, affordable water supply for the next 20 years. By
helping.topay for the development pf alternative sources and conservation measures,
the District is enabling West Coast to reduce its pumping at the stressed wellfields.
This will result in a restoration of the damaged environment. The new water sources
will also remove any reason to litigate over wellfield cutbacks. Finally, by reducing
demand and increasing supply, the Plan can help the area meet its water needs for the
next 20 years.
Water is crucial to the quality of life that has attracted so many people to Florida.
Working together we can ensure that the Florida we love is protected while our current
and future watar needsarer met.
The State of Our Water Resources 2 of 2
Water Management District Water Reou
Appointive vs. Elective
A Southwest orida Water Management District Issues Paper
The Florida Legislature has determined that water resource decisions need to be
protected as much as possible, from the political process. Specifically, water resource
decision makers should not be selected based simply on population density or majority
rule. Rather, Florida appoints its regional water officials in a process similar to the one
used to select U.S. Supreme Court Justices. The water management system in Florida
places policy making in the hands of citizen volunteers who are appointed by the
Governor and confirmed by the Florida Senate. These volunteers serve without pay
and must reside within the watershed areas over which they have authority. The
watersheds are not bound by county lines and city limits since the rivers, streams, and
other waters under consideration are not constrained by such lines. This system is
designed to assure that the complicated and controversial decisions on water permitting
and use are made based upon fair and sustainable protection of the water resources,
rather than what may be best for one local jurisdiction at the expense of other areas, or
at the expense of future generations.
This system has worked for more than 45 years, though the discussion for alternatives
continues as the competition for water increases. The issue of appointed boards has
been reviewed and addressed by the Legislature in 1949, 1961, 1972, 1983, 1988,
1990, and 1996. The system was authorized by the Legislature in 1949, when the
Central and Southern Florida Flood Control District, now known as South Florida
Water Management District, was created. The Southwest Florida Water Management
District was created in 1961 by a similar act of the Legislature.
In 1972, the Water Resources Act preserved the two existing districts and divided
the rest of the state into three more water management. Over the years, the Florida
model has resulted in a workable system that is an example to the rest of the country
and others parts of the world.
The greatest criticism of the appointed water management boards has been their
authority to levy property taxes. This has sometimes resulted in the claim of taxation
without representation. To resolve this, legislation has been passed to ensure that board
members and staff are held to a strict accountability.
Yearly internal and external audits are required of district budgets.
The Governor has authority to approve, in whole or part, all district budgets.
The State Auditor General performs regularly scheduled audits.
The Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection has general
supervisory authority over the districts.
The Governor and Cabinet can review and rescind or modify any rule or order
of a water management district Governing Board.
Appeals of district actions can be made to the Governor and Cabinet or to the
Water Management District Board Members:Appointive Versus lectie 1 of 2
Over the years, appointing rather than electing water policy-making board members,
has helped to provide a broad representation of interests. During the 1988'legislative
review of this issue, the Florida Senate Natural Resources and Conservation Committee
report concluded that appointed boards should be retained, noting that appointment
was favored because:
"...members are not swayed by constituent pressure, that more time can be devoted
to resource management and less to political careers, and that the backgrounds of those
chosen can be more carefully weighed to achieve a balance of views on the boards."
The legislatively-established Water Management District Review Commission also
considered this issue as well and their 1995 report states:
"Current statutory provisions regarding gubernatorial appointment ofdistrict governing
board members should be retained, i.e., members of district governing boards should not
be elected, and the creation qf nminating committees or councils is not recommended.
In addition, the current statutory provision whereby district governing board chairmen
are elected by members of their respective governing boards should not be changed."
Appointed board members are one key element that has led to the success of the
current system. Others include:
Regional district boundaries based on natural hydrology.
*. Each district is controlled by an appointed governing board of unpaid, citizen
Districts have ad valorem taxing authority as an independent funding source.
Basin boards whose members are appointed by the Governor and approved by
the Senate concentrate on projects of local importance.
These elements help to ensure that the board members will, in the end, make wise
decisions and balance the needs of all water users while protecting the interests of the
public-and the environment both now and for the future.
Water Management District Board Members: Appointive Versus Elective 2 of 2
Water Supply Wte res
Development and Cost
A Southwest Florid Water Management District Issues Paper
The mission of the Southwest Florida Water Management District (Swiftmud) is
to ensure a sustainable water supply to meet public demand, while protecting the
environment and the water resource. As growth continues, achieving that balance
becomes more difficult.
By the year 2020, daily water use is expected to be 2.4 billion gallons per day, an
increase of more than 45 percent from 1990 water use levels. To meet this increased
demand, additional water supplies will have to be found. This will require close
coordination and cooperation between the District, regional water supply authorities
and local governments.
Within the District, about 80 percent of the water used daily comes from the
underground aquifer. Rivers and lakes, or surface water sources, supply the remaining
20 percent. There are two concerns with using these traditional sources:
Traditional water sources are completely reliant on rainfall for replenishment.
Without alternative water sources, there is no true control over the public's
drinking water supply because it is held hostage to rainfall.
Pumping from the aquifer to meet today's 'demand is already causing
environmental and resource impacts such as sakwater intrusion, lowered lake
levels and damaged wetlands. Tomorrow's water demand could permanently
damage the environment and the aquifer unless alternative sources of water are
developed, and pumping from the aquifer is reduced.
Three major District policies guide the development of new water supplies.
Local Sources First Before importing water from other areas, other local sources
of water must be put to use first, such as conservation, desalination, water
recycling, aquifer storage and recovery, and increased use of surface water where
Conservation will be considered a source of new water to reduce present demand
and help meet future needs.
All future public supply sources developed outside of a community will be
developed and operated by the appropriate regional water supply authority.
The District financially and technically supports regional water supply authorities
and local governments to implement these policies as they develop new water sources.
As local governments update their comprehensive plans, the District offers information,
data, and technical assistance to them to prepare and implement their plans. When
the plans are formally adopted or amended, the District participates in an interagency
review process and provides comments and recommendations to the Department of
Community Affairs, the agency responsible for approving the plans. Although the
District's role is strictly advisory, its goal is to form partnerships with local governments
to enhance the future management and protection of water and related land resources.
Water Supply Development and Cost I of 2
As part of The District Water Plan, which is a "roadmap" for future water management
strategies, the District has developed "integrated plans for each county. The integrated
plans evaluate water issues in a county and propose common methods to address those
issues. The plans are intended to serve as a tool' to foster the integration of land use
planning and growth management activities oftocal governments with the water use
planning and management activities of the District.
Two District programs, the New Water Sources Initiative (NWSI) and the
Cooperative Funding program, assist local governments in funding development of
alternative, nontraditional water sources. Under each program, the District funds about
half of a project's cost. These programs help local governments overcome the "cost"
hurdle in water supply development.
At first glance, it would appear that traditional water sources are less expensive
than nontraditional souSces, but traditional water sources are limited and they have
significant costs associated with them that go beyond dollars and cents. The true "cost"
of water includes such things as infrastructure, drought protection and litigation. An
overlooked and critical cost for the dependence on "cheap" water is the environmental
damage ti wetlands, lakes, estuaries and other surface water. Damaging the natural
systems on the surface ultimately damages the water resource and the ecosystems.
SProtecting the environment, while meeting our water needs will require
nontraditional or alternative water sources. Nontraditional water sources make use of
proven technologies that do not rely on rainfall toprovide quality drinking water.
These technologies include:
Seawater desalination. This takes the salt out of saltwater from the Gulf of Mexico,
..eaving pure water. With the Gulf as a source for drinking water, the supply is
Aquifer storage and recovery (ASR). An ASR well is a cost effective means of
storing excess reclaimed water or drinking water during wet weather conditions
vhen the demand for wate is less -for later recovery and use. This allows
for better management of the limited resource.
Recycled water. Modern water treatment methods are so efficient that water can
be treated over again to be as safe and as clean as the water that now comes out
of the tap.
We cannot afford to continue to meet our water needs by taking only from our
underground water sources. Desalination ASR and recycled water are safe, sustainable,
environmentally friendly, cost-effective and drought-proof sources that can help meet
The aquifer will always be a source of drinking water, but it cannot be the only
source. West central Florida cannot afford to be held hostage by rainfall. If we are to
preserve the environment that makes Florida unique, then Swiftmud and local
governments must work together to develop sustainable water supplies.
Water Supply Development and Cost .. 2of2
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Where Our Water Comes From ReoYurs
A Southwest Foid Water M agent Distict issues Paper
Florida is nearly surrounded by seas and has 11,000 miles of coastline. It is one of
the wettest regions of North America. The average rainfall of west central Florida is
52 inches a year. However, because of Florida's subtropical climate, most of this rainfall
(60 to 65 percent) occurs during the summer when evaporation rates are highest.
Approximately 60 percent of Florida's rainfall evaporates back into the atmosphere
and 20 percent is lost to runoff, leaving only 20 percent to recharge our natural systems,
including groundwater and surface waters (lakes, rivers). In west central Florida, about
13 percent goes to surface waters and 7 percent reaches Florida's underground water
reserves. Florida is dependent on rainfall to meet its daily freshwater needs.
Florida's water resources are generally categorized as groundwater or surface water.
Groundwater is rainwater which has soaked into the ground to an aquifer, an area
underground of rocks and sand where it is "stored." Surface water refers to water on
the surface of the earth, such as lakes, rivers and streams. More than 80 percent of the
water used within the Southwest Florida Water Management District (Swiftmud) comes
Swiftmud is responsible for managing and protecting the water resources and related
environmental systems. While groundwater has historically provided a dependable
year-round supply, it is a limited resource. To protect the natural systems that sustain
groundwater, there must be limitations on how much water can be withdrawn. This is
accomplished through permitting and regulation.
Water is primarily withdrawn from the Floridan aquifer, the deepest and most
productive of the three aquifers found within west central Florida. To varying degrees,
aquifers are connected with the water systems above them, such as lakes, rivers and
wetlands. If too much water is withdrawn from the aquifers, the water level of the lake
or river above may decline. This could cause the saltwater which surrounds Florida's
aquifer system to move into freshwater areas which increases the cost for providing
clean, potable water to residents.
The balance of daily water supply comes from surface waters. For example, residents
of Tampa get their water from the Hillsborough River and Charlotte County's water
comes from the Peace River. The use of surface water will most likely increase in the
future, because of the limits of the groundwater system in satisfying an ever-growing
need for freshwater. But there are limits to surface water as well.
But Swiftmud isn't the agency that actually supplies the water that comes out of
your faucets. Swiftmud is the regulatory agency responsible for managing and protecting
the water resources to meet the needs of current and future users while also protecting
the environment. Local and regional governments, agricultural and other users come
to Swiftmud to request permits to withdraw water from the natural system. Utilities
handle the actual water treatment and delivery process. In west central Florida, local
governments join together to form regional water supply authorities which withdraw
Where Our Water Comes From I of 2
water and supply it to local w~tr ptdites., Utilities then sell the water to cihtomers
like you, delivering it to your homes and bEsinesses through a system o pipes.
Because water is such an important part of our lives here in Florida, it is vital for
each and every one of us to understand where our water comes from and what we can
do to ensure ahighqualityof life both for ourselves and for future generations. Swiftmud
is currently undertaking many cooperative projects with local governments to find
and use new water sources. The future of where your water comes from could be very
different than now, Increased wse or(ecyled water can relieve the stress on our
underground water supplies. Desalination can tap the vast potential of the Gulf to
meet .r water ngeds. You can help by. using water wisely and by getting involved in
water issues in youy community. CallSwiftmud at.1-800-423-1476, extension 4757 to
request a copy of "50 Ways toDo YourPart," a brochure about water conservation.
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2 of 2
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Working With Water Resours
A Southwest Florida Water Management District Issues Paper
Supplying water for 3.6 million people while protecting the environment and the
water resources across 10,000 square miles of the fastest growing state in America is an
important and complex mission. Success will take cooperation and coordination
between the Southwest Florida Water Management District (Swiftmud) and a multitude
of governments and agencies to protect and manage today's water resources. Without
this cooperation and coordination, there may not be an adequate supply of quality
water for future generations.
Working with Other Governments
More than 260 public and private water utilities
Three regional water supply authorities
Five regional planning councils
Numerous special districts, including 16 school boards and flood control districts
The state's other four water management districts
At least 12 state and federal agencies
Trade associations in industry, agriculture and chambers of commerce
State Legislature and local legislative delegations
U. S. Congress
International: Egypt, Morocco, Central America, World Bank
The District builds relationships with other governments in a number of ways.
District regulation and permitting functions provide stormwater management, flood
protection and wetlands/natural systems protection assistance to local governments
who may not have the resources or expertise to provide them on their own. Through
regulation and permitting, use of the water resource can be managed to minimize impacts
on the environment and ensure that there will be an adequate water supply in the
Local governments and the District also work together to develop alternative water
sources through two significant programs the New Water Sources Initiative (NWSI)
and the Cooperative Funding programs.
An aggressive and innovative partnership investment program, NWSI's objective
is to develop alternative water sources on a regional scale to meet and balance the
competing needs of all water users, including the environment. Alternative water
sources include recycling water, seawater desalination, aquifer storage and recovery
(ASR) and other technologies. NWSI is offered as an incentive to local governments
paying up to half the cost of developing new water supplies. Its goal is to ease our
dependence on groundwater by emphasizing the use of alternative sources of water.
Working with Local Government I of 3
Today, 15 projects have been selected for implementation because of their regional
significance. As of fiscal year 1996, the District and Basin Boards had designated $70
million in matching funds as part of the program. The federal government, through
the Environmental Protection Agency, contributed a total of $34.9 million in fiscal
years 1995 and 1996. If all projects are fully successful, moe than 150 million gallons
of water will be added to our water resources.
Through the Cooperative Funding program, local governments, industries, private
utilities, and others cooperate with their local District Basin Board to co-fund projects
that.benefit the water resources and the public in that specific area. The types of
projects most often undertaken through the Cooperative Funding Program include
stormwater management and flood protection projects, reclaimed water systems,
conservation programs and education programs.
In order to protect water resources for the future, more steps need to be taken
The District's Planning Assistance Program is an important part of District efforts
to create a stronger link between water management and land use planning. Through
this effort, the District offers information, data and technical assistance to cities and
counties in the preparation and implementation of their comprehensive plans. The
goal of the Planning Assistance Program is to form partnerships with local governments
to enhance the future management and protection of water and related land resources.
The District's role is strictly advisory.
Between 1996 and 1998, coastal counties and the cities within them are required
to prepare Evaluation and Appraisal Reports for their comprehensive plans. The District
is using this process as an opportunity to emphasize key water issues, such as the
identification of future water sources, the incorporation of reclaimed water systems,
stormwater quality improvement and floodplain protection.
The District also has recently revised and improved its Local Government Information
Guide, which lists the sources of information that may be useful in the update of
comprehensive plans. In addition, as part of the District Water Plan, an "integrated
plan" has been developed for each county in the District. The integrated plans evaluate
water issues in a county and propose common strategies to address them.
Local governments have primary authority over land uses within their jurisdiction.
By working together today, the District and local governments accomplish common
water management objectives providing current and future residents with quality
water, while protecting the environment. Involvement in local government planning
complements District programs such as water use regulation, land acquisition, surface
water improvement and management, and flood protection. By encouraging wise
decisions by local governments regarding future growth and development, the District
hopes to minimize future problems such as flooding, water shortages, and water
District services for local governments include:
Collecting and disseminating rainfall and other hydrologic information,
Designing and managing water resource-related engineering projects,
Operating and maintaining flood control structures,
Working with Local Government 2 of 3
II I -
Managing aquatic plants,
Purchasing and managing lands necessary for water management and natural
Reviewing large-scale development proposals,
Studying and delineating flood-prone areas and surface water management levels,
Cost sharing in the development of water reuse systems,
Water conservation and water shortage program assistance,
Establishing minimum flows and levels for surface and ground waters,
Environmental studies and monitoring, and
Cooperative education programs.
The District realizes the importance and value of a sound, cooperative relationship
with the governments in its area. Good coordination and cooperation helps to ensure
not only a continuing water supply a benefit for the citizens but also protection
of the water resource itself benefitting the public and the environment.
Working with Local Gwemme.nt ., 01.~
Working with Local Government