Title: 1998 West Coast Regional Water Supply Authority Governance Report to the FL Legislature (Exectutive Summary)
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/WL00002782/00001
 Material Information
Title: 1998 West Coast Regional Water Supply Authority Governance Report to the FL Legislature (Exectutive Summary)
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida
Abstract: 1998 West Coast Regional Water Supply Authority Governance Report to the FL Legislature (Exectutive Summary), Article from St Petersburg Times, Charting a Positive Course to Regional Water Solutions
General Note: Box 11, Folder 2 ( 17th Annual Water Management Seminar - 1998 ), Item 19
Funding: Digitized by the Legal Technology Institute in the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: WL00002782
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Levin College of Law, University of Florida
Holding Location: Levin College of Law, University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

Full Text


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West Coast Regional
Water Supply Authority

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West Coast Regional
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1998 Governance Report For The Florida Legislature
Our thanks to NASA for
the cover photograph


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Voter is the lifeblood of the Tampa Bay
community's enviable lifestyle. Tourism,
development, agriculture, high-tech
manufacturing. wetland habitats, riverine
systems and others rely upon water to
thrive. An adequate and reliable supply of
affordable water, managed in an environ-
mentally sensitive manner. is critical to
the vitality of the region's economy and

Recent legislative attention to the role and
duties of the West Coast Regional Water
Supply Authority (Authority) has provided a
framework for solving the water needs of
the area for the present and the future.
Under legislative direction, the Authority
and Member Governments have studied
the issues, are preparing contracts to
implement recommended changes, and
are ready to take the final steps to
establish a realistic system of a safe and
adequate water supply for the Tampa Bay
region. Final legislative action is impera-
tive to the solution.

Historical conflicts have resulted in
protracted and costly legal battles that
created no new water and, in some
cases, moved the participants further....
from finding a cooperative solution.
These conflicts and a number of other
factors have contributed to the region's so-called "water wars." Until further changes are imple-
mented, the local governments of the region, the Authority and the Southwest Florida Water
Management District (SWFWMO) will continue to be at odds, as they have been in the past, over
water supply issues.

However, many local, regional and state leaders have.come to believe there is a simple solution -
to reinvent the West Coast Regional Water Supply Authority as a true regional utility. In the rein-
vented Authority, each member will pay the same wholesale water rate. The cost of developing
new water supplies will be shared regionally instead of by those Member Governments facing
proposed reductions in permitted supply or rapid population growth. Voting rights will be equitably
balanced among the three counties. And, in the reinvented Authority, every member will have an
interest in environmental stewardship and stable water supply.

During its 1996 session, the Florida Legislature directed the Authority and its Member Governments (Hillsborough
County, Pasco County. Pinellas County, Tampa, St. Petersburg and New Port Richey) to evaluate the Authority's
operations and make recommendations for improvements. An independent report to the Florida Legislature
prepared by KPMG Peat Marwick LLP for the 1997 legislative session, the "West Coast Regional Water Supply
Authority Governance Study for the Florida Legislature" (Governance Study), analyzed and confirmed the strength of a
regional solution.

The Governance Study submitted
by the Authority set forth specific t P
recommendations that included:

Expanding the Board of
Directors from five to nine
voting members;
Specifying that the
Authority should be the
region's exclusive
provider of wholesale
Implementing the
Authority's Master Water
Plan for 20 years of future
water supply; and
Utilizing millage from the
SWFWMD for funding new
water sources, if so
directed by the Legisia- '

As a result of the Governance Study, the 1997 Florida Legislature passed Chapter 97-160. Section 30, Laws of Florida,
which encouraged and facilitated the implementation of the Governance Study recommendations submitted to the
Legislature. Over the past year, the Authority, together with its Member Governments and their staffs, special counsel and
consultants, have worked cooperatively to carry out the mandate of the 1997 Florida Legislature. Specifically, the Authority
staff, counsel, and consultants, have:

Conducted multiple workshops with the Member Governments, separately and in groups;
Developed new governing documents for the Authority including the draft Amended and Restated Interlocal
Agreement and draft Master Water Supply Contract to supersede existing contracts; and
Conducted extensive studies related to water rates, water quality, legal issues, title to real property, and an overall
water supply facility assessment.

5 -~------------- I _---- -. _------- ___ _~__

II, -- -- ---- -- I -LI--~.l---^._ -- .. -L-

The three key agreements.
currently in draft form (the
Amended and Restated
Interlocal Agreement. the Master
Water Supply Contract. and the
Property Transfer Agreements),
when supported by the re-
quested legislation. will provide
for regional water solutions.
Each agreement is an integral
and necessary part. along with
the legislation. of a comprehen-
sive answer to the water needs
of the Tampa Bay area.

This report is submitted in response to the directive of the 1997 Florida Legislature. It describes the results of
comprehensive efforts and identifies the further legislative action critical to fully implement the restructuring of the
Authority's Governance. Through the work directed by the Legislature, the Authority has precisely identified the
legislative action that is needed to find permanent solutions to long-term water supply problems for the Tampa Bay



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Formed under Chapters 163 and 373, Florida Statutes, the Authority is
an independent governmental entity, comprised of Hillsborough, Pasco
and Pinellas Counties, the Cities of Tampa and St. Petersburg, and one
non-voting member, the City of New Port Richey. The Authority,
organized in 1974, operates as a wholesale developer and supplier of
drinking water to the six Member Governments. The Member Govern-
ments, in turn, supply water to approximately 1.8 million residents of
Pinellas, Hillsborough and Pasco Counties.

Prior to the establishment of the Authority, each Member Government
developed its water resources independently. Conflicts arose as local
governments began developing water supplies outside their jurisdictional boundaries. With the creation of the Authority,
Member Governments could contract for individual water entitlements from specific facilities. Thus, each Member
Government has water sources solely through the Authority, its own supply, or both. Through the various contracts with its
Member Governments, the Authority has operated on a "subscription" approach to the development of new water supply
sources. The subscription approach to water supply development recovers cost by apportioning the cost of each facility in
the system to specific Member Governments that are entitled to receive water from that facility. This history of supply
development has resulted in widely varying water rates and entitlements.

Jo address future growth and the need for a comprehensive response to environmental concerns, in December 1995, the
Sthority Board of Directors adopted the Master Water Plan. The Master Water Plan includes six new water supply and
three pipeline projects which will create an expanded regional system among water supply facilities in Hillsborough,
Pasco and Pinellas Counties. Through aggressive conservation and the development of a variety of new water sources,
the 20-year Master Water Plan ensures adequate and reliable supplies of water to meet the long-term needs of both the
public and the environment. Implementation of the Master Water Plan will give the region 38 million gallons per day
(mgd) of new supply by 2002 and an additional 47 mgd by 2007.
wet Coemt Rolgin m tr Supp r Auwyutor
Gmund WV Suplrry S ed>sp g, raBA qul.and MwP)
310 ,
2-30 -_--

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'9 '99 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 200 2000 2007 200 200 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015

TOTAL CAPACITY Imgd) Proected System Utilizaton (mgd) Proected Water Supply Demand (mgd

S11 City of Tampa will receive 15.0 mg from TC
21 From 1999 onwarms the City of Tampa will receive 10 mgg from he Authontys water supply facilites
Provided by KPMG

_ _




n response to the directive of the 1996 Florida Legislature, in February 1997 the Authority submitted the Governance
Study that identified a number of problems that made apparent the need for the Authority to clarify its future direction and
structure. Among the problems identified were:

The need for cooperative long-range planning, construction, financing and management of water resources:

The difficulties inherent in a subscription approach to the development of water sources;

Wide variances in the wholesale cost of water and entitlements to water from jurisdiction to jurisdiction; and

Inequity in representation on the Authority's Board of Directors.

The Governance Study evolved from a cooperative effort of KPMG Peat Marwick LLP
and the "Group of 18." a policy panel comprised of the Authority's Board of Directors
plus the city or county administrator and the utility director for each of the six
Authority Member Governments. A product of the independent, in-depth analysis of
the operations, governance, facilities and financing of the Authority, the Governance
Study made five specific recommendations:

ST-e Board of Directors should be expanded from five to nine voting mem-
oers :o provide a more equitable balance among the three counties;

2 T"e Scar of Directors should be made up of elected representatives to
9sisure public accountability;

3 T'e Authority should serve as the region's exclusive provider of wholesale
Nater. acquiring groundwater facilitiesfrom members and giving all mem-
oers uniform access to system-wide capacity;

4i T'e Aut.orty should focus on implementing the Master Water Plan projects
:o assuri the development of diversified water supplies and the creation of
an .regrated system; and

5 F,-ding strategies should fairly compensate existing Member Governments
for their water supply facilities to be acquired while moving to a uniform rate
.or the future.

After receiving and reviewing the Governance Study, the Florida Legislature adopted
legislation amending Section 373.1963. Florida Statutes (the 1997 Legislation).

7he 1997 Legislation provided that "the Authority may reconstitute its governance in a manner consistent with its report to
the Legislature, and with the provisions set forth herein, under a voluntary interlocal agreement with a term of not less than
20 years." The 1997 Legislation delineated the following specific provisions which any restructured Authority should sub-
stantially provide:

All Member Governments shall relinquish to the Authority their individual rights to develop drinking water supply

The Authority shall be the sole and exclusive wholesale drinking water supplier
for all Member Governments:

The Authority shall have the absolute and unequivocal obligation to meet the
wholesale drinking water needs of the Member Governments;

The Authority shall acquire all regionally significant wholesale water supply
facilities and tangible assets owned by the Member Governments at an agreed

The Authority shall charge a uniform per gallon wholesale rate to Member
C\ Governments for the wholesale supply of drinking water,

To the extent provided in the interlocal agreement and as permitted by law, the
Authority and Member Governments shall develop procedures for resolving their differences over permitting and
other issues, including alternative dispute resolution to minimize the potential for litigation;

The Authority's governing Board of Directors shall be expanded to nine members, two each from Pinellas, Pasco
and Hillsborough Counties and one each from Tampa, St. Petersburg and New Port Richey; and

The Authority and the Southwest Florida Water Management District shall submit a plan or agreement for joint
development of alternative water supply sources and facilities in amounts sufficient to meet the projected needs of
the Member Govemments over the next 20 years, and the needs of natural systems.

Over the past seven months, the Authority, the Group of 18, and the Governance Team (the firms of Nabors, Giblin &
Nickerson, P.A., and Pennington, Moore, Wilkinson & Dunbar, P.A.) have drafted three key documents that. together with
new legislation, accomplish the Authority's Governance restructuring.

Those documents are:

6 the Amended and Restated Interlocal Agreement

the Master Water Supply Contract

the Property Transfer Agreement

6 ____ ,------------- --


Following the blueprint established by the Governance Study and the 1997 Legislation, the Authority and Member Govern-
ments are in the process of negotiating the terms of an Amended and Restated Interlocal Agreement (Interlocal Agreement).
Key issues in the Agreement are:

*The Auttor:ty will be the sole and exclusive supplier of drinking water for the Member Governments. In the
draft Interlocal Agreement, the Member Governments relinquish their individual rights to develop drinking water
supply facilities and agree that the Authority will be the exclusive supplier of drinking water for the Member
Governments, subject only to specific exceptions identified in the Agreement. The exceptions are:

the retention by Member Governments of existing wells listed in the Interlocal Agreement with a capacity
not greater than 1 mgd on an average daily basis;

the continuation of agreements listed in the Interlocal Agreement to supply small amounts of water
to remote areas served by the Member Governments;

the exchange or purchase of drinking water between Member Governments or other public or private
utilities for emergency or maintenance purposes in the ordinary course of business;

the development of water supply facilities with a capacity not greater than 1 mgd on an average daily
basis if the area cannot otherwise be served on an economically feasible basis and the Authority
declines to develop or provide such facilities, subject to the Authority's option to purchase the facilities at
any time in the future;

Sthe development of the Walsingham
brackish desalination water
treatment plant for Pinellas County,
subject to the Authority's option to
purchase the water produced at the ,
facility; .

the development of a membrane
water treatment plant for Pinellas
County to serve the City of

the continued development and use
by the City of Tampa of the
Hillsborough River and Sulfur
Springs surface water sources,
subject to the Authority's right to seek water use permits for withdrawals or diversions of excess water
from the Hillsborough River that are not contrary to any permit held by the City of Tampa and other
minimum flow requirements;

the development, ownership and operation of brackish desalination water treatment facilities by
Member Governments if the Authority declines to develop or provide such facilities, subject to the
Authority's option to purchase the facilities at any time in the future; and

the development, ownership and operation of reclaimed water facilities.



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* Tle Auto ty wNil "ae ar acsctute and unequivocal obligation to meet the Member Governments' water needs. The
draft Interlocal Agreement establishes the obligation of the Authority to meet the needs of the Member Govern-
ments for drinking water. If the Authority fails to supply sufficient water, the Member Governments may purchase
water from other sources or construct their own water supply facilities, subject to the Authority's option to purchase
the facilities at any time in the future.

*The Authonty will acquire all regionally significant drinking water supply
faclities from the Member Governments at a value determined by a uniform
methodology. Pursuant to the draft Interlocal Agreement, the Authority will
acquire all regionally significant water supply facilities, transmission mains,
well sites, and related equipment from the Member Governments. The
assets to be acquired are identified in the Black & Veatch Facility Ownership
and Implementation Assessment Study. The purchase price reflected in the
draft Interlocal Agreement was determined by a uniform methodology of
$2.000 per acre for land acquisition and $2,000,000 for every 1 mgd of 1996
permitted capacity for wells acquired by the Authority. The purchase price
for the facilities transferred will be paid in the form of an annual credit
against payments by the respective Member Government for water pur-
chased from the Authority.

The Black & Veatch study also identified transmission mains and other
facilities presently owned by the Authority, which are to be transferred to
certain Member Governments as part of the reorganization. This transfer of
assets ensures that the Authority's obligation to deliver water to agreed
upon points of connection will be possible and that the Member Govern-
ments retain responsibility for retail transmission and distribution.


meet the



maCcT oeCded.

The Me'-ber Govemments will resolve disagreements relating to water use permitting.and related issues using
a;terna: .e -sptute resolution procedures. In the draft Interlocal Agreement, the Member Governments waive their
individual right to participate directly in disputes related to any application made by the Authority for a permit,
license or other third-party approval necessary for the acquisition, construction or operation of a water supply
facility. However. each Member Government retains the right to participate in binding arbitration to resolve issues
involving the permitting of Authority facilities within its own political boundaries. Attorneys' fees and costs will be
awarded to the substantially prevailing party in the arbitration. In addition, all Member Governments may participate
in binding arbitration to resolve health and safety issues related to direct or indirect potable reuse proposed by the
Authority. Other disputes will be submitted to informal discussion, then mediation, prior to initiation of any litigation.

The Authonty will be governed by a Board of Directors consisting of nine voting members (all of whom must
be elected officials) as follows:
Three members from Hillsborough County, two of whom will be selected by the Hillsborough County
Commission, and one of whom will be selected by the Mayor of the City of Tampa;

Three members from Pasco County, two of whom will be appointed by the Pasco Board of County Commis-
sioners, and one of whom will be appointed by the New Port Richey City Council; and

Three members from Pinellas County, two of whom will be selected by the Pinellas County Commission
and one of whom will be appointed by the St. Petersburg City Council.

( ach director will be entitled to one vote. Except for specific issues identified in the draft Interlocal Agreement, the Board of
Directors' actions will require the affirmative vote of at least five directors.

Hillsborough County Pasco County Pinele County

Selected by the County Selected by the County Selected by the County
Commission Commission Commission

Selected by the County Selected by the County Selected by the County
Commission Commission Commission

Selected by the Mayor of Selected by the New Port Selected by the St
Tampa. Richey City Council Petersburg City Council


She Governance Study and 1997 Legislation also formed the blueprint for a draft proposed Master Water Supply Contract
developed by the Authority and Member Governments. Approximately 45 separate and current water supply agreements
and their amendments will be superseded and replaced upon implementation of the Interlocal Agreement and Master Water
Supply Contract. The key elements of the draft Master Water Supply Contract are:

The Authority will have the absolute and unequivocal obligation to meet the wholesale drinking water needs
of the Member Governments. The draft Master Water Supply Contract confirms the obligation of the Authority to
sell and deliver water, and the Member Governments to purchase and receive water. The amount to be delivered
shall meet the needs of Member Governments based upon each Member Government's annual report of water
requirements as approved or modified by the Authority. The identified exception to this obligation is Tampa s
production from the Hillsborough River and Sulphur Springs.

The water to be delivered will meet certain water quality parameters established by the Authority s water
quality study. The Water Quality Study of Camp. Dresser & McKee, Inc., defines the quality of water to be deliv-
ered pursuant to the Master Water Supply Contract, which is subject to further negotiation. Continued compli-
ance with the quality standards is assured through a contract provision for annual water sampling. The Black &
Veatch Facility Ownership and Implementation Assessment Study defines the new system configuration,
including points of connection for each Member Government's system.

The Authority will charge a unitary rate for water services based on a rate approved by the Authority for
water delivered. The rate will be based upon the Unitary Water Rate Analysis prepared by KPMG Peat Marwick
LLP. The rate will include:

Operation, maintenance and administrative costs
based on the cost of service provided by the Authority;
Debt service charges;
Renewal and replacement charges;
Bond coverage cost
Capital improvement charges; and
Operating reserve.funds.

The water rate will be fixed, subject only to adjustment for
differing levels of water treatment required by a Member Government, and for credits to Member Governments
relating to their agreements for transfer of their water production assets to the Authority.

Disputes, if any, arising under the Master Water Supply Contract will be resolved by binding arbitration. The
draft Master Water Supply Contract provides that binding arbitration will be the exclusive method of resolving
disputes regarding delivery of water, payment, and technical or fiscal matters arising under the Master Water
Supply Contract



A further provision of the draft Interlocal Agreement is the agreement of the Member Govemments to seek legislation
either authorizing or clarifying the Authority's and Member Governments' power to enter into certain provisions of the
Interlocal Agreement. The Interlocal Agreement will not become effective unless the legislation is enacted. The Authority
and the Member Governments collectively request enactment of legislation to either authorize the Member Governments,
or to clarify the Member Governments' existing authority, to achieve, among others, the following objectives:

To the extent provided in the Interlocal Agreement, utilize alternative dispute resolution rather than litigation to
resolve disputes related to:
any application made by the Authority for a permit, license or other third-party approval necessary or conve-
nient for the construction or operation of a Water Supply Facility, including amendments or renewal applica-
tions; and

any enforcement action related to permits, licenses or other third-party approvals necessary or convenient
for the construction or operation of the Authority's Water Supply Facilities, in favor of the alternative dispute
resolution procedures set forth in the Interlocal Agreement;

Designate the Authority as the sole and exclusive wholesale supplier of drinking water for each Member

* To the extent authorized in the draft Interlocal Agreement, agree that in carrying out their statutorily conferred
zoning, land use and comprehensive planning powers and responsibilities, the Member Governments will not
restrict or prohibit the use of land for water supply purposes, including groundwater supply;

Specify that the Authority shall have the absolute and unequivocal obligation to meet the Member Governments'
wholesale drinking water needs;

Enter into the Interiocal Agreement without violating the
restriction against transfer of powers in Article VIII, Section 4 of
the Florida Constitution;

Specify that Member Govemments shall not impose any tax,
fee or charge on the Authority's production of water; and

Issue obligations for the principal purpose of loaning their
proceeds to a public or private entity, as set forth in the
Interlocal Agreement, which will finance or refinance the
acquisition and construction of water treatment, production or
transmission facilities, including, but not limited to, a desali-
nation facility.

Information regarding the subjects discussed here and other pertinent information is available in the "Reference Documents"
C noted on page 13.

12 i-ii



The visionary plan for reinventing the Authority is critical to developing a new supply of water through implementation of
the Authority's Master Water Plan and to reducing conflict among local jurisdictions, thus ensuring adequate and
affordable water supplies for the Tampa Bay region. Each of the guidelines contained in the 1997 Legislation has been
incorporated into the draft Amended and Restated Interlocal Agreement and draft Master Water Supply Contract. While
negotiations continue to finalize the draft agreements, adoption of the proposed additional legislation will enable the
Authority's reinvention to be completed and fully implemented.

Regional Water Solutns


Water Supply


~'dwAA Va~W

The work directed by the Legislature and outlined in this report has
clarified the additional legislative steps necessary to finally resolve
the water supply problems of the region. The proposed legislation
is a vital component to the combined effectiveness of the draft
Interlocal Agreement, the draft Master Water Supply Contract, and
the draft Property Transfer Agreements. The Authority is on the
threshold of effective change, but the Florida Legislature must
open the door to these solutions with its support. Without the
backing of the Florida Legislature, the problems of the past will
retum. The Authority and the Member Govemments, therefore,
respectfully urge enactment of such proposed legislation.

W EW -'W-wYw w. -1

II information presented in this report referencing past or proposed legislation, contracts, or studies
prepared by the Authority, its counsel, and/or consultants, is presented in brief narrative
for discussion purposes only. The full report and documents referenced (draft
Legislation; draft Amended and Restated Interlocal Agreement; draft Master Water
Supply Contract: draft Property Transfer Agreements; Black & Veatch Facility e
Ownership and Implementation Assessment Study; Camp, Dresser & McKee,
Inc. Water Quality Study; and KPMG Peat Marwick LLP Unitary Water Rate
Analysis) are available from the West Coast Regional Water Supply Authority,
2535 Landmark Drive, Suite 211, Clearwater, FL 33761, (813) 796-2355. The
full report is also available on the Internet at www.almrtauhority.ltate.fLus. -
TelAde JEaeter

*I; ~YI I I

4t7any individuals devoted time and energy to this Report, the workshops conducted during the summer and fall of
1997, and related projects. They include:

-."'~c -:<-{r.'y 9 fa ~i-c et'-.,
Commissioner Ed Turanchik, Hillsborough County
Councilman Frank Parker, City of New Port Richey
Commissioner Ed Collins, Pasco County
Commissioner Steve Seibert, Pinellas County
Mayor David Fischer, City of St. Petersburg
Mr. Michael Salmon, City of Tampa

Mr. Dan Kleman, Hillsborough County
Mr. Jerry Seeber, City of New Port Richey
Mr. John Gallagher. Pasco County
Mr. Fred Marquis, Pinellas County
Mr. Darrell Stephens, City of St. Petersburg
Mr. Samuel Halter, City of Tampa

Mr. Michael McWeeny, Hillsborough County
Mr. Tom O'Neill, City of New Port Richey
Mr. Doug Bramlett, Pasco County
SMr. Pick Talley, Pinellas County
Mr. William Johnson, City of St. Petersburg
Mr. David Tippin, City of Tampa

Mr. David Forziano, Assistant County Attorney, Hillsborough County
Mr. Frederick Reeves, Special Counsel, Pasco County
Mr. Edward de la Parte, Jr., Special Counsel, Pinellas County
Mr. Joseph Morrissey, Assistant County Attorney, Pinelas County
Ms. Kim Streeter, Assistant City Attomey, City of St. Petersburg
Mr. Michael Davis. City Attorney, City of St. Petersburg
Ms. Kathy Fry, Assistant City Attorney, City of Tampa

Ms. Analee Moore, Moore/Bowers Group. Inc.
Black & Veatch LLP
Camp, Dresser & McKee, Inc.
KPMG Peat Marwick LLP

Mr. George Nickerson. Mr. Tom Giblin and Mr. Mark Lawson of Nabors, Giblin &
Nickerson, PA
Mr. Pete Dunbar. Mr. Ben Wilkinson and Ms. Cathi Wilkinson, of Pennington, Moore,
Wilkinson & Dunbar, P.A.

Mr. Jerry Maxwell. General Manager. Ms. Koni Manley, Director of Finance and
SAdministration; Mr. Russel Bowman, Director of Planning and Development: Mr.
Jonathan Kennedy, Director of Operations and Facilities; Dr. Donald Polmann,
Director of Resource Evaluation and Protection; Mr. Donald Conn, General Counsel;
Ms. Barrie Sawyer Assistant General Counsel; Ms. Michelle Klase, Public Relations
Coordinator and Mr. Jerson Rivera. Engineering Technician III


,I ,

a C




SSt Petersburg Times. 1997



to accord

on water

SOfficials are working inst
the clock and each other's
suspicions-- to reach a deal on
regional water issues.
Tim-Stff Witwr
CLEARWATER Tampa Bay officials
are working under a looming legislative
deadline to reach an accord on regional
water issues, and most are optimistic they
will succeed. But make no mistake, this is
not a Florida version of the Rockettes, all
linked arms and choreographed moves.
These kicks are not in fun.
Some officials, agreeable in public to
ending the region's traditional reliance on
groundwater, dismiss key elements in
plans to diversify water resources when the
press and public are not around. They
remain suspicious of their neighbors' mo-
tives. They want guarantees and protec-
tions against future water avarice.
This isn't water peace so much as it is a
tentative cessation of hostilities with occa-
sional sniper fire.
Take West Coast Regional Water Shp-
ply Authority's quest to reinvent itself.
Each of the governments that make up the
authority St Petersburg, Tampa, New
Please se WATER 58

Water from
Port Richey and Pinellas, Pasco
and Hilsborough counties has
asked for some exception from the
reorganization plan, which calls for
them to pool existing water re-
sources and cooperate in develop-
ment of new supplies. Negotiators
agreed to some exceptions. Many
have been taken off the table. Sev-
eral dicey questions remain.
Some exceptions are aimed at
making an eventual agreement
more palatable to the county com-
missions and city councils that
must approve any deal. Others are
intended to avoid jumps in the
price of water.
The rest are reflexive acts of
"I think the distrust will disap.
pear eventually, but part of what
we're seeing reflects the old con-
cerns that one neighbor will take
advantage of another," said Bill
Johnson, St. Petersburg's utilities
Specifically, Johnson pointed to
Pasco County's new insistence that
no new well field could be devel-
oped within its borders without the
approval of its county commission-
era. Water negotiators had agreed
that decisions about the type and
location of new water resources
would be made by a majority vote
of the new West Coast The host
government could appeal but
could not block the project
"I understand Pasco wanting to
have a say given their concerns
about the environment," Johnson
said. "I understand where Tampa
is coming from on protecting the
headwaters of the river that is their
only supply of drinking water, even
though the headwaters are in Pas-
co. The mutual trust that the other
guy will do the right thing isn't
hre yet"
To some extent, the mistrust is
fostered not by elected officials
who make up the West Coast
board but by their staffs, who occa-
sionally go off in their own policy
Last August, for example. Pi-
nellas County Utility Director Pick
Talley and water lawyer Ed de la
Parte sent to the water negotiators
a list of 19 county position points
that could have undermined the
reorganization effort without ev-
er showing the list to the com-
missioners to whom they report.
Several negotiators immediate-
ly assumed Pinellas County was
trying to obstruct the process.


Commissioner Steve Seibert, who
represents Pinelias on the West
Coast board, strongly denied it,
saying the 19 points merely reflect-
ed questions his fellow commis-
sioners had raised for discussion.
But the incident clearly embar-
rassed Seibert.
"I understand that there are
some items on that list that would
cause concern (in other jurisdic-
tions)," he said at the time. "... I
don't necessarily agree with all of
them, to be honest with you."
Pasco's assistant administrator,
Doug Bramlett, fought the idea of
paying part of the cost of a small
new water supply this summer be-
cause Pasco would not get any of
the water. Commissioner Ed Col-
lins, who represents Pasco on the
West Coast board, prevailed, and
Pasco kicked in its share.
"It was the right thing to do for
the region." Collins said.
Jonathan Kennedy, a senior
staff member with West Coast, told
the Land O'Lakes Chamber of
Commerce in September that poli-
tics would probably derail a key
element of his own agency's water
development master plan, the pro-
posal to pump highly treated
wastewater into the Tampa Bypass.
Canal and then treat it to bring it
up to drinking-water standards.
"This is not a very popular proj-
ect with the state legislators," Ken-

nedy said. This has a lot of public
Even Honey Rand, spokes-
woman for the Southwest Florida
Water Management District, the
agency that has pushed the hard-
est to move Tampa Bay away from
dependence on groundwater, ac-
knowledges drinking treated
wastewater is an idea with a signifi-
cant yuckk factor."
It was Talley, Pinellas County's
utility director, who aimed the
most potent blow at the treated
wastewater proposal. On public
television's public-affairs program,
Florida Crossroads, Talley ad-
dressed the idea last month as he
stood over a waste treatment pond.
"Using reclaimed water for po-
table purposes does carry health
risks with it," Talley said as sludge
churned below him. "We do not


St Petersburg Times, 1997

Main exceptions from reorganization plan
These are the principal exceptions requested by the six member .
governments of West Coast Regional Water Supply Authority: '
* Member governments may develop, on their own, small newwater.
resources that deliver 1-million gallons a dayor less. West Coast would
have the option of acquiring the facility at a later date. Agreed to.. .?
8 Tampa does not have to cede its surface water supplies, on which the
city has relied for drinking water for 60 to 70years, to West Coast In
return. West Coast may claim flow from the Hillsborough River and Tampa
Bypass Canal that exceeds Tampa's needs. Agreed to.
SPinellas Couny may proceed with the Du Pont desalination facility,
but West Coast has the right to buy from Pnellas the fresh water the plant
produces. Agreed to.
* New Port Richey gets to keep a small, halfmillon-gallon-aday iwe
because to transfer it to West Coast and replace its output with West Coast
water could have inlted water rates in the city to unacceptably high
levels. Agreed to.
SNegotiators for the city of St Petesburg and PineDs County agreed
to sel their water facilities to West Coast but want t6 retain ownership of
the land on which the well fields are located. Pinellas has an ongoing
environmental project at the Cross-Bar well field in Pasco. St Petersburgs
well fields are prime development areas where the land is worth more than
the $2,000 an acre thatWest Coastwould pay for it Pending.'
* Hilsboroug Contywanted special financial treatmentfor ts
SouthCentral well feld, though the issue now appears to be resolved
without action by the negotiators.
8 Pasco has demanded'the right to veto new well fields in the county and
plans to assess property taxes on any privately owned desalination plant
built in the county or payments in lieu of taxes on such aWest Coast
facility. Pending.


know all of the compounds that are
in sewers or in the reclaimed water
from sewers."
Talley wrote letters to the Mi-
ami Herald and the Tampa Bay
Business Jowral highly critical of
desalination, another key element
in West Coasts long-range plan for
new water. Talley wrote the letters
despite the fact that his cotinty is
planning to construct a desalina-
tion plant just south of Largo.
"He has been more of an ob
structionist than anyone else out
there," Collins said of Taley. "You
talk to Steve Seibert, and he
doesn't sound like that You talk to
(Pinellas Administrator) red Mar-
quis, and he doesn't sound like
that He C(lley) is a represents
tive of Pinellas County, and hei'
out there throwing hand' gr
Talley did not return phone
calls seeking comment.
Jerry Maxwell. general manag-
er of West Coast, said there had
been some mischief and bumps
along the way, but, he added, they
were almost predictable.
"Its always easier to hold onto
the past than embrace the future,"
Maxwell said.
State Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Palmn
Harbor, predicts West Coast will
reach a organization agreement
by the Legislature's end-of-the-
year deadline. The alternative:
would be a plan imposed by Tala-
hassee, which nobody wans be-
cause it likely would be less palat-
able than a local solution.
Latvala, chairman of the Natu-
ral Resources Committee and a
frequent mediator in the quest for
water peace, said he is not con-
cerned about exceptions re-
quested by individual jurisdictions.
Even if the deadline is missed,
Latvala said, "That's fine. If the six
jurisdictions simply agree on a
plan, well roll out the red carpet all
the way from Tallahassee to Tam-
pa. Well be so delighted not to
have to deal with this anymore."

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