Title: Preliminary Brief Summary of Local Water Problems that have or may have Legal, Administrative or Economic Implications
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/WL00002943/00001
 Material Information
Title: Preliminary Brief Summary of Local Water Problems that have or may have Legal, Administrative or Economic Implications
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Publisher: County Committees on Water Problems
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida
Abstract: Richard Hamann's Collection - Preliminary Brief Summary of Local Water Problems that have or may have Legal, Administrative or Economic Implications
General Note: Box 12, Folder 3 ( Florida Water Resources Study Commission - Reports of Major Committees - 1956 ), Item 2
Funding: Digitized by the Legal Technology Institute in the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.
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Bibliographic ID: WL00002943
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





Preliminary Brief Summary of Local Water Problems
that have or may have

Legal, Administrative, or Economic Implications
as reported by

County Committees on Water Problems
to the


August, 1956


Inventories in 1954

Toward the end of 1954, the Florida Association of Soil Conservation

District Supervisors asked soil conservation districts to sponsor local

water problem inventories at the county level.

Inventory meetings were held in most counties covered by soil con-

servation districts. In many cases farmers, agency and organizational

representatives, and business and professional people were asked to partici-

pate in the studies of problems local users were experiencing day-by-day in

attempting to put water to beneficial use. Results of the county inventories

were reported to the Association.

John E. Lambe, President of the Association, received more than 60

inventory reports. Some 58 of these gave specific examples of water problems

that had occurred or were, on the basis of existing conditions, expected to

occur locally within a few years.

More than 350 problems were cited. They included problems of damage

caused by excess water, problems of damage caused to water itself by pollu-

tion or silt and other debris, and problems arising out of attempts to put

water to beneficial use. These data have been made available to the Florida

Water Resources Study Commission and have proved very helpful to the Commis-

sion and a number of its fact-finding committees.

1956 Problem Inventories

The 1954 surveys were conducted only in those counties in soil

conservation districts. And the greater number of problems reported were

related to agricultural use of water.

When the Florida Water Resources Study Commission was established

by the 1955 Florida Legislature, Commission members felt that a new and

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broader survey of local water problems would be beneficial in its overall

study of the water resources of the state as authorized by the Legislature.

They felt that it would be desirable to have reports from all counties.

They were hopeful that industrial, municipal and recreational users could be

encouraged to participate more fully in the new studies. And they believed

that the experience gained by water users and others in the surveys spon-

sored by the Florida Association of Soil Conservation District Supervisors

would now make possible broader and more complete county inventories.

Accordingly, the Florida Water Resources Study Commission in April

undertook to form a water problems committee in each county. Two or more

committee co-chairmen were selected in each county and letters were written

to them, explaining the need for an inventory and its purpose. A suggested

guide for conducting the local study and a uniform reporting system was

distributed for use by each county committee, as it saw fit.
More than 130 chairmen gave freely of their time in organizing and

conducting the county studies, often with considerable sacrifice of time

and money. In all, well over 1,300 people attended and participated in the


In the majority of counties those present at the county inventory

meetings represented most or all major fields of water use. They included

representatives of several state organizations and state and federal agencies

concerned with water use, businessmen, farmers, lawyers, industrialists,

professional men and others.

By mid=July reports had been received from 67 counties in the state.

All but two counties reported occurrence of two or more types of problems.
Results of the inventories were summarized by the Florida Water

Resources Study Commission, both in narrative form, under the title "Report

of the Florida Water Resources Study Commission's County Committees on Water

Problems," and in tabular form, under the title, "Summary of Data on Water

Problems." Space will not permit presenting the full narrative summary here

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but copies are on file in the Commission office for future reference. A

brief discussion of problems reported by the several counties is given below,

however; and the tabular summary is reproduced in full at the end of this


No attempt was made to tabulate the number of individual problems

reported; because counties did not follow a uniform procedure in this regard.

Some evidently made an effort to record as many individual problems of a

given type as possible, while others indicated occurrence in relative terms

--"many times," "few times," "major problem," "minor problem," or similar

expressions. For this reason you are referred to the "Summary of Data on

Water Problems" at the end of this section (Table 1.) Each x indicates that

from one to many problems of a given type had occurred in the county. A few

counties reported that because of local conditions a given problem probably

would occur in a few years, although it had not as yet been encountered by

local users. These are indicated by an x, also, and cannot be distinguished

in the tabular summary from actual occurrences. The two can be distinguished,

however, in the narrative summary. It will be noted that a few problems were

reported under a miscellaneous heading. These represent problems which did

not seem to fit under one of the other headings.

The key to the type of problems, represented by symbols at the top

of the "Summary of Data on Water Problems," is the "Outline of Water Prob-

lems Inventoried" given on the page just preceding the summary.

Discussion of Problems Reported

It was suggested by the Florida Water Resources Study Commission

that county groups study their water problems in relation to an outline or
catalog of types of problems. This suggestion was made to help the counties
consider all types of problems in their studies and to aid the Commission in
summarizing results. Most county committees followed the outline in their

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studies and in submitting their reports.
The county water committee reports represent what is thought to be a

fairly typical cross-section of the state's water problems that have or may

have legal, economic, or administrative implications, and are so considered

by the Commission as just that--a cross-section. No assumption is made that

the reports constitute a full and final catalog of such problems in Florida.

But the current inventories--those requested by the Commission in

connection with its study of water resources--and the inventories sponsored

in 1954 by the Florida Association of Soil Conservation District Supervisors,

bring together for the first time important data in regard to problems local

users are experiencing in attempting to use water beneficially.

It is common knowledge that in Florida we have been plagued from our

earliest history by problems arising from excess water. At first problems

of flooding were most common. Later, as the economy of the state expanded,

problems of removing excess water--drainage--from agricultural and other

lands and as a health measure assumed greater importance.
Problems of these types will continue in the future in some locali-

ties, as is indicated by both studies referred to above; although, consider-

able progress has been made in Florida in combatting flood problems and

providing needed drainage facilities. (For information concerning programs

and accomplishments in this regard, see the section on "Existing Programs.")

Problems arising out of attempts to put water to beneficial use were

relatively unimportant a few years ago, but are now becoming increasingly

more common. Both studies point up this fact, but it is strikingly revealed

in the recent study. In the 1956 inventories, problems of use were reported
by many counties, and the total of these is of about the same relative mag-

nitude as problems of damage. It must be remembered, however, that physical

conditions of rainfall and drought of the past several years would tend to

aggravate local supply situations, that for a number of years we have given

much attention to solving problems of damage, and that people therefore are

4 -

now more conscious of and concerned with problems of use.

But these two studies clearly point up the fact, however, that prob-

lems of use are becoming common and that they are likely to become increas-

ingly so in future years.

In their studies, county committees considered water problems under

seven main headings. Later, in summarizing results of county reports, the

Commission for purposes of simplification reclassified problems reported

under two of the headings under one or more of the other five headings.

The five headings were: I. Diffused Surface Water; II. Streams,

Lakes and Canals? III. Ground Water; IV. Tidal Waters; and V. Miscellane-

As used in the reports and summaries, diffused surface water refers

to that portion of surface water resulting from rain before it reaches and

becomes a part of a natural watercourse with well-defined banks and bed.

The heading of streams, lakes and canals has reference to surface water

which has reached and become part of a watercourse with well-defined banks

and bed. Ground water means water under the surface of the earth in the

ground-water table, in subterranean streams, or in underground aquifers.

A number of sub-heads were included under each main heading except

the miscellaneous one. This was used for those problems which could not

be clearly classified under some other heading and sub-heading.

Only a very brief consideration of actual problems reported can be

given here. As each type of problem is discussed, it is suggested that you

refer also to Table 1, "Summary of Data on Water Problems." This indicates

which counties reported one or more occurrences of problems of the type

under consideration.

Diffused Surface Water Problems

I. DIFFUSED SURFACE WATER, A. Obstructions and Diversions, 1. Flood-

ing: More than 41 counties reported problems of this type, where an

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obstruction or diversion of some type had caused flooding of adjacent prop-

erty. Flooding in this case might be temporary, lasting for only a few

hours or days, or it might be of a more lasting nature, holding water on the

land for long periods, even permanently.

The Indian River Committee reported for example: "Ranch developer

dikes large area, retarding and diverting movement of diffused surface

water, resulting in flooding adjacent property and highways." In this case

the dike acted both as an obstruction and a diversion, possibly causing both

temporary and rather permanent flooding.

In Okeechobee County this was reported as a problem: "'A? diked and

ditched a section for the growing of vegetable crops. This section is a

flat prairie and has no slough or watercourse through or adjacent to it.

'A? installs a pump at one corner and pumps out his surface and seepage

water. This concentration of water destroyed a culvert on a county road and

caused the flood over of a stocked and fertilized fish pond belonging to

'B'." Here diversions--ditches, dikes, and pumps--caused flooding.

I.A.2. Erosion: Problems reported here were considered to involve

erosion damage in the main, although flooding also may have resulted from

the obstructions or diversions. Here is an example reported from Hernando

County: "Road fill," acting as a diversion in this case, "concentrated

water so that excessive flow caused severe gullying of pastures on lower

side of road where water poured rapidly through culvert." Some 18 counties

reported problems of this type.

I.A.3. Sedimentation damage: Under this heading were placed those

problems where diversions or obstructions resulted primarily in sedimenta-

tion. Only 8 committees mentioned problems of this nature in their reports.
This example from Holmes County may serve as an illustration: "One

farmer's terraces ran water to a road. The drainage from his field crossed

a county road and destroyed the drainage system on another farm by sedimen-

7 -

I.B. Canals and ditches, 1. Flooding: Some 22 reports gave

problems of this type, where problems of flooding had occurred as a result

of some condition involving a canal or ditch. As in I.A. above, only prob-

lems in relation to diffused surface water are considered.

For example, Manatee County reported: ""A' cleared and ditched land

for cultivated crops. Rim ditches were constructed within his property lines

rather than on the line as is common. In wet season 'B' connected his drain-

age ditches to 'A's' without 'A's' knowledge, resulting in overloading of

the ditches and crop damage to 'A'."
Other factors, such as improper maintenance, improper design, or

inadequate outlets, resulted in flood conditions, also, according to the


I.B.2. Sedimentation damage: Reports from nine counties contained

problems of sedimentation. Damage may have resulted to adjoining lands, to

the canals and ditches themselves, or to a water supply.

This example from Broward County illustrates the first: "Sand bars

and sludge are often deposited in drainage ditches where pump outlets dis-

charge directly into the ditches." It is not difficult to visualize that

sand or other debris could reduce carrying capacity of a ditch and cause

flooding of adjacent lands during heavy rains. One county reported that

sand and silt had destroyed water holes needed for livestock water.
I.B.3. Erosion: A total of 10 counties submitted problems of this

nature. Here again, the damage could be either to the ditch or canal itself,

or to adjoining lands.
Here is an example from Okeechobee County which illustrates both:

"Some erosion results on the drainage ways and adjacent land as a result of

too much water being dumped into them in too short a time."

I.B.4. Overdrainage: This problem concerns : the lowering of the

water table to an objectionable or damaging extent as a result of ditch or


canal construction to remove diffused surface water.
This type of problem is illustrated by an example from Glades

County: "'A' digs a drainage canal on his property but immediately adjacent

to property owned by 'B'. One year later 'B' claims that the canal is over-

draining his pasture." Overdrainage resulting from improper construction or

functioning of canals and ditches apparently is a rather common problem,

since it was mentioned by more than 30 committee reports. It should not be

assumed, of course, that all surface water ditches have harmful results.

Most are quite beneficial and, where planned with that function, can contrib-

ute to maintaining a more uniform water-table level.

I.C. Drainage, 1. Surface and subsurface: So many different

problems resulting from attempts to provide, or needs for, surface or sub-

surface drainage were reported that it is impracticable to illustrate all of


An example from Columbia County will serve to indicate how varied

such problems can be: "In the construction of the air base, the original

surface full of holes and sinks was filled in, ditches constructed and more

water turned into natural drainage ways than had been concentrated before,

causing periodic floods on several property owners' lands." Fourteen coun-

ties mentioned such problems, most of them different.

I.C.2. Need for outlets: In some counties drainage natural out-

lets do not exist, for one reason or other, or it is difficult or virtually

impossible to secure access to them for physical or other reasons. Problems,

of course, arise when needed drainage cannot be installed. Where ditches are

installed anyway in an effort to secure relief, damage often results.
Dade County reported this, which illustrates difficulty of reaching

a needed outlet: "A subdivider of new lands,is advised that federal loan

agents require positive drainage outlets for their developments, but there

is no natural or artificial outlet within a reasonable distance of his


subdivision, and there is not any public right-of-way sufficient for him to

construct a drainage outlet, and he does not have the right to condemn

property for this purpose."

Other problems involved refusal of permission by others to cross

their property to reach an adequate outlet. In other cases, existing outlets

were higher than the elevations which would be required to adequately remove

diffused surface water.

Some 16 counties reported problems arising from need for drainage


I.C.3. Need for particiDation or cooperation: Problems of this kind

may arise from need for participation or cooperation of landowners in such

things as construction, or maintenance of drainage facilities or in providing

needed rights-of-way.

A problem in regard to need for cooperation on maintenance will serve

to illustrate problems of this kind: "Landowners along the reach of a

drainage canal who do not maintain their portion of the channel nullify the

efforts of neighbors who regularly clean out the canal adjacent to their own

property." This was reported by the Broward County group.

Some 24 other counties reported problems under this breakdown.

Problems considered so far have involved damage caused directly or

indirectly by excess water. In remaining sections, problems in connection

with use of water were more common.

I.D. Ponds, 1. Water supply and fish production: Here is an example

of a problem involving a pond which resulted from use of the water: "'A'

and 'B' own pond jointly. 'A? pumps the pond dry, leaving 'B' without use

of water for stock." This was mentioned by the Suwannee County Committee.
Most other problems cited under this category were similar as to

cause and result.

Only seven counties mentioned problems in this regard.


I.D.2. Sanitation and mosquito control: Such problems as this one

from the Walton County report were included under the above heading: "Stag-

nant ponds fed by diffused water have bred mosquitoes and spread internal

parasites and diseases in livestock."

Nine counties reported problems of sanitation and mosquito control.

Some had to do with mosquito control, dying of fish and resulting offensive

odor and disposal of sewage or similar wastes.

I.D.3. Flooding: Only five counties reported difficulties of this

nature. The Bay County group stated their situation this way: "Flooding

and drowning of lands of others as a result of pond construction is a limited

problem." Evidently water was backed upon lands of others as a result of

pond construction, or their lands were water-logged. Another county reported

that a flash flood broke an inadequately constructed p nd dam and flooded

lands of property owners below.

Problems Involving Streams, Lakes and C als

Under main heading I, only diffused surface water was considered.

Likewise, under main heading II, county committees were concerned only with

problems relating to natural watercourses--streams, lakes and canals.
II. STREAMS, LAKES AND CANALS, A. Obstructions and diversions, 1.

Flooding or raised water table: Problems very similar to those under I.A.1.

were reported under this grouping, the difference being that in this case

the obstructions and diversions affected waters of a stream, lake or canal--

giving rise to damage or inconvenience of some nature--while in I. the

obstructions and diversions affected diffused water.
Problems of flooding, either temporary or lasting, or a raising of

the water table--waterlogging-- were not as important in respect to numbers

of counties reporting examples as in I.A.1. Nevertheless, nearly half the

counties, 28 to be exact, reported that one or more problems of this type

had occurred.

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Specific cases reported varied considerably. No one example will

serve to illustrate them all, but this example from Columbia County gives a

general idea: "'A' constructs a small water control structure in a natural

outlet on his property for the purpose of raising and controlling the water

level in the lake. 'Bt, who also owns property on the lake, objects to the

structure, claiming that it is flooding a portion of his land."

Other counties reported that dams on streams had failed, flooding

property below; or that dams had flooded or raised the water table on lands

upstream or that artificial obstructions--bridges, trestles, sunken barges,

or the like--had interfered with water movement, causing damage. A very

common problem involved natural obstructions--trees, drifts, or water plants

--which interfered with flow, causing damage of one kind or other.

II.A.2. Sedimentation damage: Some nine counties reported sedimen-

tation damage. This example from St. Lucie County indicates siltation of a

stream channel, with resulting damage: "The North Fork of the St. Lucie

River emptying into Indian River at Stuart is the natural flow outlet for

much of St. Lucie County. Sedimentation in that part of the river when

fresh water flow meets tidewater, a distance of some five miles in extent,

has seriously retarded all normal flow. A dredging problem develops which

is impossible for property owners to handle. This area is also a recrea-

tional facility, and as such is being seriously damaged."
Other reports mentioned siltation of adjoining lands.

Another county, Brevard, saw the problem in relation to its effect

on fish. That group reported' "It has been proven by geologists that silt

in the water is detrimental to the life of fish and to the spawning areas.

The waters of the St. Johns are known as the best bass producing waters in

the world. Muck from the ditches and canals tends to settle in the propa-

gating waters and contains elements harmful to the spawning areas and the

larger fish, too."

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II.A.3. Erosion: This, of course, might be said to be the reverse

of II.A.2. above, and seemingly is unimportant. One county committee re-

ported erosion of adjacent lands caused by flood waters. Three counties

reported occurrences.

II.A.4. Reducing normal flow or level: Reduction of normal flow

or water level seems to be a rather common problem. Groups in 27 counties

mentioned occurrence, and many of the problems resulted from attempts to use


Here is an example, reported by the DeSoto County Committee: "'A'

upstream pumps sufficient amount of water to stop flow, thus depriving 'B'

and 'C' below him from being able to get sufficient water supply."

The same group reported this, also: "Water is being pumped out of

lake 'A' into lake 'B'. Lake 'B' is being used to irrigate groves. As a

result the water level in lake 'A' has been lowered to a dangerous level."

Other problems reported had to do with natural or artificial ob-

structions which prevented water from reaching downstream users.

II.A.5. Need for participation or cooperation: This type of

problem was mentioned by only four county committees, and the following

example from Union County serves to illustrate all of them: "'AT and 'B'

want to build a dam for irrigation. However, this dam will back up on the

small stream involved to the edge of 'C's' land. 'C' is not willing to

agree to the construction, even though none of his crop land would be


In one instance, however, needed participation or cooperation

involved drainage, rather than water storage for beneficial use.

II.A.6. Dredging of lake bottoms: This occurred in Leon County:

"A lake covers properties owned by 'A' and 'B'. The water level of the lake

goes down. 'A' digs his half of the lake several feet deeper, causing all

of the water to drain from 'B's' side of the lake." Inventory reports from

five other counties contained problems similar to the above example.

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II.B. Obstructions and diversions of canals.... Flooding or raising

water table: It is not clear from the Hendry County report whether this

problem has actually happened or whether it is expected to occur under

existing conditions. In either event a difficult situation exists. Here is

the problem: "In areas where landowners are using drainage canals where

quantity of water that may be pumped into these canals is limited by admini-

strative action, how is the problem to be solved as to which landowner

should have first chance to pump flood waters from his land. That is, during

a time of flooding if each landowner along these canals attempted to pump

water off of his land at the same time, it would cause a more serious flood-

ing condition as the canal would not be able to handle all the discharged

water at one time. Therefore, we are faced with the problem of who should

be first and how should this be decided."
Difficulties cited by other committees involved artificial or

natural obstructions in canals which resulted in flooding or waterlogging of

adjacent lands.
A total of nine reports contained reference to situations of flood-

ing or waterlogging of lands near canals.

II.B.2. Sedimentation damage: Only four county reports mentioned

problems of this nature. One concerned dredging operations which blocked

the outlet of a canal, resulting in both flooding and sedimentation. Another

involves lack of maintenance which resulted in sedimentation.

Two counties reported this "'A' improves natural drains through

his property, spilling water into an old creek which flows into the St.Lucie

Canal. During times of excessive rainfall, considerable siltation occurs

into the St. Lucie Canal at the mouth of this natural drain."
In all three cases, damage was to canals themselves. This, in turn,

may have resulted in other damage, flooding or waterlogging.

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II.B.3. Erosion: Erosion in relation to canals was of minor

importance, since only two counties cited problems of this kind. Both had

to do with erosion resulting from obstructions in canals themselves or areas

adjoining the canals. The problems reported by one county resulted from

filling in of lands near a canal for development of water front property.

II.B.4. Need for participation or cooDeration: Problems of this

type appeared unimportant in the studies. Three counties reported examples.

In one county difficulties arose from use of water and in another county from

a lack of cooperation of landowners in regard to removing obstructions from

a canal.

II.C. Improving streams and canals, 1. Overdrainage: Nineteen

counties reported problems in this regard.

Clay County inventory participants cited an interesting example, as

follows: '"Water flows from Lake Magnolia through a chain of lakes until it

flows into the St. Johns River. The water has cut great gorges and gullies

through the areas of natural flow. During periods of heavy rainfall there

is a flooding condition; however, during dry seasons the area is overdrained."

Although of specific interest, this is not a true example of this type of

problem, because improvements were not involved.

Most counties reported that artificially improved canals or similar

improvement of streams had resulted in overdrainage. Some groups mentioned

effect in regard to surface water, others in regard to ground water, and

some in regard to both.

II.C.2. Flooding downstream: In the example given above, both

flooding and overdrainage were mentioned as effects.
A few committees mentioned both in commenting on problems arising

from stream or canal improvements.
Here is an example which refers only to flooding: "In 1950 and 1951

several miles of canals were dug to drain a timber growing area, and the

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canals discharge drainage water into a small river. A 5-inch rainfall in

1953 caused so much discharge into the river that it overflowed its banks
and flooded property in the vicinity that had not been flooded before. In

1954 the existing canals were deepened and more than 10 additional miles of
canals added. The river channel has not been improved and the increased

discharge will likely flood several homes and a business establishment next

to the river." This was reported from Taylor County.

Some nine committees reported problems of flooding in relation to

stream or canal improvements.

II.C.3. Salt water intrusion. Of 'the 10 county groups reporting
salt water intrusion of streams and canals as a problem, most mentioned it

as rendering water unsuitable for use or as affecting fish.

The Volusia County inventory committee reported the situation in
their county this way: "The St. Johns River water is too brackish for

irrigation purposes during periods of low water table."

One county reported that the salt was damaging lands next to the

canal. Two or three mentioned effect upon underground supplies.

II.C.4. Sedimentation damage. The inventory report from Manatee

County contained this: "Drainage canal cleaned out with spoil banks un-

treated and piled adjacent to the canal. With coming of rains, spoil was

washed back into the canal, causing damage to lower lands and restricting

drainage flow."

Only one other county reported occurrence of a problem of this

nature. It likewise concerned untreated spoil banks, and seemingly is an

important problem there.

IIC.5. Need for particiDation: Problems of this type were reported
by four counties. They had to do with lack of willingness of some to par-

ticipate in a needed facility, one group constructing a facility without

regard to the interests of other affected landowners, or constructing a

canal without proper water control devices.

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II.D. Water level control in lakes, 1. Levels too high or too low:

Some two dozen county committee reports contained references to problems of

lake levels.

The report of the Highlands County inventory group contained an

example which is rather typical of this category: "In 1954 a control and

spillway were constructed between Lake June and Lake Frances and the channel

of Josephine Creek was cleaned. Result: Considerable lowering of water

table in Lake Frances since source of supply to the lake was controlled but

discharge from the lake was wide open. Property owners feel in projects of

this nature all features should be completed, as failure to do so results

in injury to certain sections."
In other counties the levels were too high, causing trouble.

In some counties sinks had drained off too much water, or could not

be regulated, so that at times there was too much water and at others too

little. Lowering of levels in some counties not only meant insufficient

supply for beneficial use, it might also mean a dropping of the water table

in nearby lands, resulting in crop or other damage.

II.D.2. Inadequate'supply for beneficial purposes: Fourteen county

reports contained reference to inadequate supplies in lakes for beneficial

This example from Jefferson County will serve to illustrate problems

of this kind, although competition was not specifically mentioned in most

of the other reports: "Competition among different owners of the same lake

or pond for irrigation and livestock water--or any use. This is a problem

concerned only by joint ownership of lakes and ponds."
In other situations cited, natural causes or heavy use had reduced

supply to the extent that there was not enough for existing users.
II.D.3. Need for participation or cooperation: This is a good

example of need for participation or cooperation in regard to lake levels:

- 16--

"A large lake which serves as a big economical asset to a nearby community

for both recreation and agriculture has gone dry. This could have been pre-

vented if proper control structure had been established." The above was

reported by Marion County.
Only three other inventory reports contained reference to problems

of this nature, and in one lack of cooperation resulted in levels which were

too high and flooding.
II.E. Pollution of surface waters, 1. Municipal Wastes: More than

half the county reports, a total of 34, mentioned pollution of surface

waters--streams, lakes or canals--by municipal wastes.
The inventory group in St. Johns County expressed their problem in

this way: "In St. Johns County there are two major offenders (both munici-

palities) to the pollution of surface streams. The effects of discharging

raw sewage into the rivers are many. Primarily it has eliminated the use of

these rivers for recreational purposes, and has resulted in shellfish being

unfit for human consumption. A third city discharges its sewage into a

large septic tank, the effluent of which is discharged to a nearby swamp and

thence to a creek."
II.E.2. Industrial wastes: Some 29 counties reported one or more

occurrences of problems involving industrial wastes. One county listed 8

separate occurrences of this problem, all involving industrial wastes of

different kinds or sources.

The Putnam County committee stated their problem very simply: "A

large industrial concern has been introducing organic and chemical wastes

into a stream for a period of years, and the creek has been ruined for

recreational and other uses."
At least one county reported that cattle had been killed by "--

drinking water from streams containing heavy concentrations of fluorides,"

but the report did not specify the source of the fluorides. Other reports

- 17 -

simply stated the problem as such without elaborating on effects. A few
included reference to ground water pollution in the statement about pollution

of surface waters.

Several counties mentioned canning and citrus and milk processing

wastes under this heading.

II.F. Use of surface waters, 1. Access: Access as a problem in

regard to use of streams, lakes and canals mainly for fishing and other forms

of recreation seemed from the reports to be rather common, since 25 com-

mittees mentioned it.

Participants in the Gilchrist inventory meeting cited this problem:
"'A' bought a farm which had a 20-acre lake on it. It had been used by the

public as a fishing place. He closed the lake to public fishing."

In the above example an individual denied access which seems to be

the case in most examples; but in some instances, a commercial firm, cor-

poration, organization or group, denied access.

II.F.2. Construction of docks and wharfs: Only two committees cited

problems in relation to construction of docks and wharfs. In one an "Owner

threatened to file suit to prevent construction of public dock on county-

owned road right-of-way adjacent to his residence." In the other "Federal

and state agencies are planning to construct a salinity control in a major

canal" but evidently are not willing to provide locks considered necessary

by private owners and local public agencies involved.

Ground Water Problems

In reporting problems in regard to ground water supplies, no specific

attempt was made by the county committees to indicate whether ground water

table resources, underground aquifers, or subterranean streams were involved.

It would have been impossible to identify subterranean streams, except poss-

ibly in a very few exceptions; and identification would have been impracti-

cable in many cases involving aquifers. Nevertheless, some committees worded

- 18 -

problems of this nature in such a manner that it is possible to infer with

some degree of accuracy that the problem concerns ground water table supplies

or either one or both of the other two.
III..GROUND WATER, A. Wells, 1. Wasteful flow: Wasteful flow from

wells seems to be a problem in quite a number of counties. Some 29 counties

reported occurrences.

Probably the larger number of examples cited had to do with flowing

wells, where they were allowed to run wild or were not properly controlled.

In such cases, incidentally, aquifers are involved.
In other cases pumped wells were allowed to flow without full con-

sideration to prevention of waste, it was thought.
Other counties mentioned "overuse" of underground water; others

mentioned situations of water being used once for such things as cooling or

air-conditioning and then being wasted, where it was felt the water could

have been used for the same or another purpose or conserved in some manner.
The Duval committee mentioned four examples, one involving air-

condition systems; uncapped wild wells; privately owned water systems with-

out meters, where water was allowed to run continuously; and a manufacturing


Here is an example from Polk County in regard to an industrial user:

"One industry pumps 6,000,000 gallons of water a day from our underground

reservoir for cooling condensers only, does not contaminate or reuse it,

then dumps it into a stream to waste into the Gulf. This excess water is

also causing a serious problem of the farmer in the area by flooding their

strawberry patches. Another plant uses 26,000,000 gallons of water per day

in a similar manner."
One or more counties mentioned that casings which had rusted through

allowed wastage of water into upper stratas. Agricultural, industrial,

municipal and even "private" users were mentioned in the reports; but

probably examples cited by most counties had to do with agricultural use.

19 -

III.A.2. Reduction of flow: This, also, would seem to be an important

problem, since 28 counties mentioned it.

Referring to Duval County again, that group mentioned five problems

of this type. The first one was as follows: "The artesian flow being used

by dairies in the northern part of Duval has decreased because of industry

moving in this area with many large wells. Two subdivisions had wells to go

dry in 1956. They had to install pumps. These wells were free flowing 600

gallons per minute."
Again the various counties reporting mentioned agricultural, indus-

trial, and municipal users. Some groups felt that wasteful flow as well as

increased use was responsible for reduction of flow or a lowering of the

water table. In some cases inconvenience, or added expense, and competition

were mentioned.
III.A.3. Increased use for beneficial purposes: Some 14 counties

reported that increased use for beneficial purposes had occurred or shortly

would occur, resulting in problems.
The Volusia County group saw the problem in this light: "Munici-

palities along the coast are concerned over the future competition for water

from the underground aquifer. Daytona Beach has already installed a well

field five miles to the west from which 8 million gallons per day are with-

drawn. Additional water use in the area west of the city could decrease or

pollute the water supply, damaging existing supplies. Overpumping could

cause salt water intrusion." Some counties felt that such problems would

occur in the near future.
Others recognized it as a result of agricultural, municipal, or

industrial growth or some combination of these.
III.A.4. Damage from oil exploration: Four counties reported

occurrences of damage from oil exploration. One believed the damage to be

a wastage of water underground, due to oil test wells breaking underground

- 20 -

formations. Another reported damage to farm lands by salt from test wells.

A third, Washington, reported damage from blasting as follows: "'A' had

well (open well) to go dry when oil exploration crew set off dynamite.

'B's' drilled well was muddy several days after blast was set off one-fourth

mile from well."

III.A.5. Flooding or other damage: Only three counties reported

occurrences under this heading.

An example reported by the Manatee inventory committee will serve

as an illustration: "Property owners adjacent to pasture lands object to

flooded condition of yards and land due to unlimited flow of wells in pasture

without regard to needs."
III.A.6. Salt water intrusion: Problems of salt water intrusion of

wells were reported by 20 county committees.
Inventory participants in Brevard County saw the problem as a very

real present one, with probable increase in the near future. This group

said: "Salt water intrusion should be considered, too. It seems to be

getting worse all the time, moving northward steadily. We will see an

increased use of ground water for agricultural, industrial and municipal

purposes in the very near future."

III.A.7. Drainage wells: Some groups saw problems involving drainage

wells in their relation to pollution or contamination.

That is the way the problem seemed to stack up in Pinellas County:

"A water supply well in a subdivision was found to be contaminated. There

are several drainage wells in the area and these are probably the source of

Other groups saw the problem in its relation to wastage of surface

or underground supplies through planned drainage wells or through "acciden-

tal" wells, where abandoned wells had developed into drainage wells.
A total of 12 counties mentioned problems of this kind.

- 21 -

III.B. SDrings, 1. Reduction of flow: "A well.- was dug to be used

for irrigation. The neighbor one-half mile downhill claims his spring was

caused to dry up, thus making his fish pond and reservoir unfit foruse."

So reported the inventory committee in Calhoun County. Eight other com-

mittees reported drying up of springs from other causes and with other


III.B.2. Access: The problem of access to springs was mentioned in

only three reports. All three reported the problem similarly and very

simple. Here is the way the Lake County people put it: "Springs have been

closed to public access."

III.C. Pollution: More than 20 county committees reported occurrence

of pollution of underground water supplies.

The Citrus County inventory participants said, for instance, that

"It was reported (to them) there is a sinkhole in a lake and municipal

sewage is emptying into the lake, which results in pollution of the under-

ground water."

Other counties cited pollution from septic tanks. Some said

improperly cased wells were contaminating underground supplies. In one

instance borrow pits were thought to be causing contamination of ground

waters; and wastes discharged into streams were said by another group to

cause contamination of shallow wells.

Water pumped back into the ground by industrial users was thought

to cause trouble in a few cases. In one case heated water, causing increased

temperature of water of a nearby well used for cooling, was mentioned. Using

wells for sewage disposal was mentioned, also.

Tidal Water Problems

IV. TIDAL WATERS, A. Beach and shore erosion, 1. Groins and sea walls:

Some counties, six in all, have experienced problems or difficulties in

regard to beach and shore erosion.

- 22 -

The Collier County group said: "There has been difficulty experienced

in the erosion of beaches in the area along the Gulf Coast of Collier County.

Different types of groins are being used for experimental purposes."

Two counties mentioned loss of land and beaches as a result of beach


IV.A.2. Dredging: Three committees reported problems arising from

dredging operations.

Here is the problem in Pasco County: "Development Company 'A' is

filling bays and bayous on west caost of Pasco County. 'B' objects because

such filling diverts and alters natural flow of waters. Deepening of water

along shore line by dredging will increase possibility of washing and erosion

of shore line."

Escambia County said that "Some dredging activity has caused silt

to be distributed to beach areas, resulting in annoying odors and unsightly


IV.B. Pollution: Pollution of beach and tidal waters was thought

to be important by six county committees.

In Palm Beach County there are, "Problems of municipal and industrial

pollution of both fresh surface waters and tidal waters."

Another county considered pollution of tidal waters as a menace to

the health of bathers and another considered petroleum as a polluting factor

in tidal waters. A third mentioned the effect on oyster beds.

Miscellaneous Problems

V. MISCELLANEOUS: Under this heading were grouped all those problems

which did not seem clearly to belong under one of the foregoing headings.

Eighteen counties reported problems under the miscellaneous heading,

some counties as many as four or five types.

Although a number of problems cited by the several counties are

related, most of them are different. For this reason and because of their

- 23 -

possible importance, a number of examples are given below.
From Dade County: "Access to shore line along the bay is cut off by

private subdividers without regard to rights of the public to access to

beach areas, and there seems to be no law which requires public agencies to

keep open a minimum number of access-lanes to the beaches."

From Broward County: "Indiscriminate spraying of recreational ponds

to eradicate obnoxious aquatic growth frequently kills fish that pollute

the pond." Spilling of spray materials in canals by spray crews was mentioned


From Dixie County: "A majority of the group indicated an interest

in weather modification and asked that comprehensive surveys be continued,

and that state and federal government aid research in the field."

From Duval County: "Erosion of property along streams and creeks

by excess week-end boating has resulted in continuous complaints by land-

owners along the water. Recreational use of the streams and creeks is

increasing in the Duval area."

From Highlands County: "Instance was cited where property owners

built structures below meander lines of lakes, which resulted in flooding

of buildings when lakes return to natural level."

From Hillsborough County: "Mosquito control is needed in every body

of water in county. In some cases water is used for irrigation or livestock

water and draining or poisoning would be harmful."

From Leon County: "Fencing of dried up lake bottoms for cattle

grazing, thereby excluding other adjacent property owners from lake bottom.

Fence posts in such a lake become a hazard to boats when water returns to


From Manatee County: "Water works manager reports that some trouble

results at his water treatment plant due to herbicides applied by sportsmen

upstream from the dam where source of water for city is found."

- 24 -


From Martin County: "A privately-owned public supply was inadequately

operated, leaving an entire area without water for weeks at a time. Many

individuals were forced, by necessity, to install private water supplies,

resulting in much expense at a time when it could hardly be afforded."

From Palm Beach County: "Problems of hyacinths and aquatic weed

control and eradication on a county or state-wide basis."

Several counties mentioned need for more data or maps in planning

water or related programs.
From Polk County: "Problem of clarification of ownership of lakes

so as to specify whether or not a lake is public property."
From Sarasota County: "One very serious waste of water is the

underground flowing springs, such as is found on Siesta Key." This county

also mentioned a "Problem of failure to license well drillers," and a

problem of "Flood-plane zoning."

Relation of Problem Inventories to Other Studies

Local water problems as reported by the several county water problem

committees and the overall summary of those problems ("Report of the Florida

Water Resources Study Commission's County Committees on Water Problems")

serve several useful purposes.

First, although as a number of county committees pointed out the

present inventories are neither complete nor final, they do form a fairly

representative cross-section of those problems water users are encountering

day-by-day in attempting to put water to beneficial use.
Then this cross-section can form a partial basis upon which to

determine from the state-wide water resources studies whether local water

problems of the types reported are likely to continue and grow in importance.

It can also indicate the need for various remedial measures. And, inciden-

tally, the study of state-wide water resources data may serve to point up

new or more complicated problems which are likely to arise in the years ahead,

- 25 -

The cross-section of local water problems, and the analysis of these

problems in light of state-wide data, can serve in part as a basis for

determining from the legal study whether existing water law is adequate to

meet present and future needs in regard to development, use, conservation

and protection of Florida's important water resources in the interest of all

beneficial users.

Also, in case present water law is determined to be inadequate, the

cross-section of local water problems data can help to point up areas of

important need--both as to types of problems and to geographical location--

in regard to efforts to bring about a modernization of existing law.

The cross-section of local water problems, and the analysis of these

problems in light of state-wide data, can serve in part as a basis for

determining from the legal study whether existing water law is adequate to

meet present and future needs in regard to development, use, conservation

and protection of Florida's important water resources in the interest of all

beneficial users.

Also, in case present water law is determined to be inadequate, the

cross-section of local water problems data can help to point up areas of

important need--both as to types of problems and to geographical location--

in regard to efforts to bring about a modernization of existing law.

__ I



A. Obstructions and Diversions
1. Flooding
2. Erosion
3. Sedimentation damage
B. Canals and Ditches
1. Flooding
2. Sedimentation damage
3. Erosion
4. Overdrainage
C. Drainage
1. Surface & subsurface
2. Need for outlets
3. Need for participation
or cooperation
D. Ponds
1. Water supply and fish
2. Sanitation & mosquito
3. Flooding


A. Obstructions and Diversions
of Streams and Lakes
1. Flooding or raising water
2. Sedimentation damage
3. Erosion
4. Reducing normal flow or
5. Need for participation or
6. Dredging of lake bottoms
B. Obstructions and Diversions of
1. Flooding or raising water
2. Sedimentation damage
3. Erosion
4. Need for participation or

C. Improving Streams and Canals
1. Overdrainage
2. Flooding downstream
3. Salt water intrusion
4. Sedimentation damage
5. Need for participation
or cooperation
D. Water Level Control in Lakes
1. Levels too high or too low
2. Inadequate supply for
beneficial uses
3. Need for participation
or cooperation
E. Pollution of Surface Waters
1. Municipal wastes
2. Industrial wastes
F. Use of Surface Waters
1. Access
2. Construction of docks
and wharfs


A. Wells
1. Wasteful flow
2. Reduction of flow
3. Increased use for bene-
ficial purposes
4. Damage for oil explora-
5. Flooding or other damage
6. Salt water intrusion
7. Drainage wells
B. Springs
1. Reduction of flow
2. Access
C. Pollution


A. Beach and Shore Erosion
1. Groins and sea walls
2. Dredging
B. Pollution


- 27 -


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