FOR REVIEW ONLY NOT FOR RELEASE
Preliminary Report on
PRESET WATER RESOURCES PROGRAMS
There are several programs related to water resources in Florida. Each is
adEli tered or executed by a public agency which may be classified as federal, state,
or 1.~d for the sake of simplicity. In operation, however, some program are supported
by mov than one level of government, and some are based on cooperative arrangements be-
tween different agencies. The result is a somewhat more complex picture than is indicated
by the classification adopted, but the more important interrelationships will be mentioned
in the discussion of each agency. The fact is that all of these program are financed by
taxes with the tax burden being distributed in accordance with the estimated benefits
derived. The need for knowledge about and management of Florida's water resources is
adequately demonstrated by the existence of many active programs.
This section of the report briefly describes the activities of the major agen-
cies operating in Florida as related to the field of water resources.
U. S. Geological Survey. The U. S. Geological Survey, through its Division of
Water Resources, collects and publishes information of great importance to Florida, as
well as the entire nation. It functions through three Branches-Surface Water, Ground
Water and Quality of Water. Although the boundaries of Branch divisions do not necessar-
ily follow state lines, there is a district headquarters of each Branch in Florida. All
three Branches conduct their functions in close cooperation with each other.
The Surface Water Branch is primarily concerned with obtaining data on the
occurrence and movement of the surface waters of the nation in order that the maximum
beneficial use and the effective control of this important resource may be made. It is
the federal agency responsible for the collection and preservation of surface-water
records and the publication of same.
Although the majority of the work of the Branch consists of the operation of
stream-flow and water-level gaging stations, the computation of the records from same,
and the publication of the results in annual Water-Supply Papers, much work is done in
the Branch for the furtherance of hydrologic knowledge. Interrelationships amongst various
climatic and hydrologic phenomena, including rainfall, evaporation, infiltration, and
runoff, are investigated and reported upon. Correlative studies as a means of extending
the usefulness of past records and to obtain optimm benefit from future gaging stations
Of the funds necessary to carry on the work of the Surface Water Branch in
Florida, 37* per cent are supplied by agencies of the state and its political subdivi-
sions. This money is matched dollar-for-dollar by federally appropriated money.
Together these go to make up the so-called cooperativee funds" And cover 75 per cent of
the expenditures in Florida. About one per cent of funds comes from a Federal Power
Commission Permittee and the remaining 24 per cent comes from transfers from other federal
agencies, principally the Corps of Engineers.
The Ground Water Branch, operating principally under financial agreements with
state and municipal agencies, or at the request of other federal agencies, is primarily
concerned with the location and appraisal of the ground-water resources of the nation.
The ultimate objective of the ground-water investigations in Florida is to make a com-
plete survey of the state, in which ground-water conditions in every rock formation and
in every locality will be determined. Investigations are designed to make available to
the public information relating to the quantity, quality, movement, availability for
utilization, and the hydraulic and hydrologic characteristics of ground-water resources.
Most of these data are documented for permanent record in reports published by the U. S.
Geological Survey or the Florida Geological Survey,
A ground-water investigation of an area may include the following:
1. Collection of systematic information in regard to wells existing in the
area. This includes information on the depth, the depth of casing, the water level, the
water temperature, the quality of water, the yield, and the use.
2. Geologic studies to determine the areal extent, the thickness, and the
lithologic characteristics of the water-bearing formations that underlie the area. These
studies include an examination of available well cuttings and electric logging of selected
wells as an aid in correlating and defining formational boundaries.
3. Establishing a network of observation wells in which the water levels are
measured periodically or continuously by water-level recording instruments. In areas
where salt-water contamination is known to exist, or suspected, a companion salinity
observational program is maintained.
4. Quantitative studies to determine the ability of the water-bearing forma-
tions to store and transmit water.
5. Test drilling in areas for which adequate information on the hydrologic
and hydraulic characteristics of the subsurface material cannot be obtained from existing
6. Determination of areas and the rates at which water is recharged to or
discharged from the water-bearing formations.
7. Preparation of a report which presents the results of the investigation.
The Quality of Water Branch has the primary responsibility for determination
and appraisal of the chemical and physical quality of water resources and the relation
of water quality and suspended sediment load to various parts of the hydrologic cycle.
The Branch deals with substances in solution and suspension in water, with the processes
of solution and deposition, and with those interrelationships which alter or influence
the characteristics and use of water.
The Branch does research on and investigates chemical, physical, geochemical,
biochemical, radiochemical, and cultural factors that affect water quality and suspended
sediment load; it studies and develops methodology and instrumentation to improve tech-
niques of measurement and interpretation. Fundamental chemical and physical forces,
such as water and earth temperature, ion-exchange, and oxidation-reduction potentials,
in various stages of the hydrologic cycle are investigated in their relation to water
The Branch describes and explains the chemical and physical quality of water
in relation to the hydrology, geology, and other environmental factors of drainage basins
and project areas. A network of sampling stations is maintained on streams and sources
of ground water to measure sediment discharge and water temperature, and to determine
the chemical quality of ground and surface waters. Analytical and research laboratories
Studies include areal investigations into the chemical and physical aspects
of surface and ground waters and of salt-water encroachment on fresh-water supplies,
industrial and other pollution abatement, radioactivity and radioelements in natural
waters, sediment increments in reservoirs, movement of suspended material, and trends of
the changes in these properties. The Branch is concerned with chemical and physical
erosion, sedimentation, and stream mechanics to the extent that these affect the quality
and utilization of water.
The Branch performs, analyzes, and makes interpretations of data on the chemical
and physical quality of water in entire drainage basins or other areas. Such basin stud-
ies include determination of the sediment yield of drainage areas, the trap efficiency of
small reservoirs, and the effect of wastes on stream quality.
Corps of Engineers, U. S. Army. The activities of the Corps with respect to
Florida's water resources are concerned primarily with the development of rivers, harbors,
and other waterways for navigation; flood control protection, other water uses, and re-
lated purposes, as exemplified by the Central and Southern Florida Flood Control Project;
and shore protection.
The Corps' activities also include investigations for reports to the Congress
on an area's possible improvement; planning, construction, operation and maintenance of
projects authorized by the Congress; administration of laws concerning protection and
preservation of navigable waters of the United States; collection and dissemination of
information on water-borne commerce; maintenance of information on flood conditions;
conduct of flood fighting and rescue work; and surveying and charting the inland waterways.
U. S. Agricultural Research Service. The Soil and Water Conservation Research
Branch conducts the research program of the Agricultural Research Service, United States
Department of Agriculture, in the field of soil, water, fertilizers, and hydrology of
The Branch conducts its research in cooperation with state agricultural experi-
ment stations whose participation may be represented by financial contributions or by
providing necessary facilities. Certain other local, state, or federal agencies also
cooperate with the Branch. The Central and Southern Florida Flood Control District helps
provide for drainage and flood control studies.
The research results of the Branch are released primarily through articles in
scientific journals, news magazines, newspapers, and through state and federal publica-
tions. Annual work project reports are submitted to collaborators as a means of keeping
them informed of progress and to serve as a basis for discussion of the respective
In Florida, at present, two Sections of the Soil and Water Conservation Research
t=oh are represented--the Eastern Soil and Water Management Section and the Watershed
If3raogy Section, with the personnel being stationed at Ft. Lauderdale, Belle Gade,
and Ft. Pierce.
The Eastern Soil and Water Management Section conducts field, greenhouse, and
laboratory investigations of soil and water management, covering such problems as the
principes governing soil productivity, plant growth, crop quality, drainage, irrigation,
and water use and conservation as a basis for evolving agricultural systems capable of
maintaining or raising the level of soil productivity.
The effect of climate and weather variations upon water table and irrigation
requirements is also studies, including use of climatic data to predict irrigation needs.
The quantities of water necessary to meet requirements of major crops at various stages
of growth are determined. Evapotranspiration, nutrient accumulation and leaching, and
requirements of plants as related to moisture supply, and the influence of moisture
deficits and excesses on the growing plant are investigated.
Drainage requirements and practices for the production of important crops are
determined. Mole and surface drainage systems of varying designs are investigated with
respect to their efficiency in timely removal of excess water and their effectiveness in
maintaining the soil as a satisfactory medium for optimum plant growth. Studies are made
of improved engineering designs and techniques for maintaining controlled water table
levels under both organic and mineral soils. Major attention is given to the prevention
of soil losses from fires and oxidation in the organic soils of the Everglades and related
areas. The most effective methods of drainage channel maintenance, including both mechan-
ical and herbicidal means of aquatic weed control, are investigated.
The Watershed Hydrology Section conducts studies in the management of agricul-
tural watersheds for soil and water conservation and the prevention of flood damages.
Experimental watersheds and measuring stations are selected and developed to
meet the most urgent needs of the soil and water conservation and flood control program.
Watersheds are located in terms of land use, soil pattern, and hydrologic environment,
so as to permit the maxiau application of the research findings to broader areas of
which the stations are representative.
The purpose of these studies is to determine reliable information relative to
the effects of various land uses, farming practices, conservation measures and water
control structures on the amount, rate, and distribution of surface runoff with respect
to both flood flow, soil movement, and storage of ground water available for orops.
This information provides a basis for computing the hydraulic requirements of channels,
storage basins, ponds, and other structures used in soil and water conservation and flood
Field studies are in progress on the 50,000-acre Indian River Farms Drainage
District near Vero Beach, on 11,000-acre and 69,000-acre watersheds in the Taylor Creek
basin near Okeechobee City, and a small 90-acre tract near Ft. Lauderdale. Plans are
progressing for the instrumentation of a 5,000-acre diked tract tributary to St. Lucie
Canal in Martin County.
As part of the Sectionls national program, hydrologic analyses are prepared
from cooperative records obtained from small agricultural watersheds in neighboring
U. S. Soil Conservation Service. Under authority of Public Law 46, the Soil
Conservation Act of 1935 (16 U.S.C. 590 a et seq), declaring the federal policy with
respect to soil and water conservation as amended and supplemented, the Soil Conservation
Service was created and is authorized to provide assistance to soil conservation districts
and other state and local instrumentalities acceptable to the Secretary of Agriculture on
problems of, or related to, the conservation of soil and water resources.
In general, these responsibilities are carried out through locallyorganised
soil conservation districts, which are legal subdivisions of the state.
As of 1956, there are 59 soil conservation districts in Florida, each with a
program specifically designed to meet the needs of soil and moisture conservation within
the district. The Soil Conservation Service cooperates with these districts by providing
technical assistance in soil and water conservation and in other ways.
The Florida Legislature of 1937 enacted a soil conservation district law which
provides authority for the formation of soil conservation districts. Each district is a
political subdivision of the state.
Much of the work of a district consists of on-site assistance to farmers and
ranchers in developing and carrying out individual soil and water conservation farm plans.
Technicians of the Soil Conservation Service provide technical assistance to district
cooperators in developing such plans for their lands. Such assistance includes develop-
ing technical specifications and standards suitable for the design, construction or
installation of water management facilities needed for the conservation and proper use
of soil and water resources.
Since the first soil conservation district was formed in Florida in 1938, some
19,500 district cooperators have been assisted in preparing soil and water conservation
farm plans for their farms and ranches. These plans cover approximately 9,220,000 acres.
Landowners have converted over 80,000 acres of erodable idle or crop land to grass,
perennial legumes or trees, and in so doing have changed the conditions of hydrologic
cover from poor to excellent. Approximately 2,500 ponds and reservoirs for water
storage have been constructed. Facilities for removing surplus surface water from
approximately 1,365,000 acres have been installed along with the necessary water control
structures to prevent overdrainage. Included are 1,138 pumping plants, 1,270 check-dams,
1,700 drop spillways, and 2,200 drop inlets. Proper irrigation water management methods
have been installed on over 325,000 acres. Some 14,000 miles of terraces for water con-
servation and erosion control have been constructed on the farms of cooperating farmers.
In addition to providing technical assistance to the districts, technicians of
the Service, upon request of applicants for soil and water conservation loans, render
technical assistance necessary for planning and installing the improvement for which
money is being borrowed. This program is administered by the Farmers Home Administration.
Likewise, the Service has responsibility of determining whether certain practices installed
by landowners meet prescribed technical requirements for soil conservation payments made
to farmers through the Soil Conservation Program administered by the Agricultural Stabili-
zation and Conservation Service.
Watershed Protection and FloodRt v tjfo Program: The 83rd Congress developed
a national policy on watershed planning/passage ho Public Law 566, a program authorizing
the Secretary of Agriculture to cooperate with state and local agencies in the planning
and carrying out of works of improvement for soil conservation and for other purposes.
Public Law 566 provides for a sound program of soil conservation and water conservation
on all the fields and forests in a watershed. And it provides for the construction and
maintenance of such other measures as seem necessary and feasible to control and make
sound use of water that falls on a watershed. It makes it possible for farmers to work
as a team with others farmers and landowners, their urban neighbors, and with state and
federal agencies to solve those water resource problems which they cannot handle alone.
The Soil Conservation Service has been given authority for the administration
of this program for the Department of Agriculture.
A fundamental principal of the program is local-state-federal cooperation and
nonfederal participation. The act itself forms a basis for coordinating such local
upstream watershed improvements with water resource development and management projects
on the main stems of the nation's streams.
The program places major responsibility on local organizations for the initia-
tion of watershed projects by making those organizations responsible for carrying out,
operating and maintaining works of improvement. Also, it places responsibility on the
state government for reviewing all projects proposed by local organizations and planned
with the aid of the Department of Agriculture.
In Florida, soil conservation districts may assume the responsibility for
carrying out, operating and maintaining works of improvement in watershed protection
programs. The Governor of Florida has appointed the State Soil Conservation Board as
his representative for reviewing proposed projects.
The program of small watershed protection and flood prevention is just getting
underway in Florida. To date, some seven applications have been received by the State
Soil Conservation Board and the Soil Conservation Service, covering some 646,022 acres
in small watersheds. One of these watersheds has been authorized for construction by
the Secretary of Agriculture and the Congress. o&r plans are being developed on six
.others for such approval and it is anticipated they will be authorized for construction
in the near future.
U. S. Agricultural Conservation Program. Congress appropriates a sum of money
each year for the Agricultural Conservation Program to assist farmers throughout the
nation to carry out soil and water conservation practices on their farms.
This Conservation Program is administered by the United States Department of
Agriculture through State and County Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Com-
Farmers request assistance for carrying out practices and county committees
approve requests insofar as funds are available. Rates of cost-sharing for practices
are generally 50 per cent of the cost of carrying out the practices.
Practices include establishing and improving permanent pasture, seeding cover
crops, applying fertilizer and living materials to cover crops, planting forest trees,
constructing terraces to prevent runoff, constructing dams, pits or ponds to obtain
water for irrigation purposes and use of livestock, and constructing open drainage
Upon completion of practices, farmers report them to the county office and
payment is made soon after the close of the program year. The Soil Conservation Service
and Forest Service are responsible for certain technical phases of the program.
Since the establishment of the Agricultural Conservation Program in 1936, a
tremendous amount of soil and water conservation work has been accomplished that would
not otherwise have been carried out since farmers in many cases were financially unable
to carry out the practices without assistance.
During the past three years, marked increase has been shown in drainage
practices and practices designed to increase the availability of water for livestock use
U. S. Farmers Home Administration. Soil and water conservation loans are made
by the Farmers Home Administration to encourage and help farmers in the improvement,
protection, and proper use of farmland by providing adequate financing for soil conser-
vation; water.development, conservation, and use; and drainage. The loans help farmers
and ranchers make good use of land diverted from the production of surplus crops, protect
their land resources against adverse weather conditions, and improve their economic
Loan funds -may be used to pay cash costs of making improvements directly related
to soil conservation; water development, conservation, and use; forestation, drainage
of farmland, and related measures.
This includes such improvements as construction and repair of terraces, dikes,
ponds and tanks, ditches and canals for irrigation and drainage, waterways, and erosion
control structures. Also sodding, subsoiling, pasture improvement, brush removal, land
leveling, basic application of lime and fertilizer, fencing, tree planting, well drilling,
and the purchase of pumps, sprinkler systems and other irrigation equipment.
Loans are made to carry out only the types of soil and water conservation
practices that are in accord with recommendations made by the Extension Service and Soil
U. S. Weather Bureau. The U. S. Weather Bureau is responsible for the following
programs: (1) river and flood forecasting service; (2) radar-rainfall project; (3) hurri-
cane research project; (4) rainfall characteristics investigation; (5) evaporation
measurements; and (6) precipitation measurements. The following paragraphs briefly
describe each program.
The Bureau's river and flood forecasting service now extends into northwestern
Florida, with the Weather Bureau Office at Pensacola responsible for service on the
Escambia and Choctawhatchee Rivers and tributaries, and the Weather Bureau Airport Station
at Atlanta, Georgia responsible for service on the Apalachicola, Ochlocknee and Suwanne
Rivers and tributaries. In the fall of 1955 a River Forecast Center was established at
Augusta, Georgia, whose responsibility it is to develop river forecast procedures for the
South Atlantic and East Gulf States, including Florida, as preliminary to an intensified
and expanded river forecasting service in the area.
Rainfall reports are often insufficient in number to provide an accurate
enough estimate of areal rainfall for river forecasting; and for timely warning to flash-
flood areas the rainfall reports are needed even as the rain falls. Radar provides a
means for simultaneous observation of instantaneous rainfall over an area; the problem is
to integrate these observations through time so as to provide areal definition of the
rainfall that has fallen for the last hour or several hours. The Bureau has contracted
with the University of Miami at Coral Gables to develop a practical means for this inte-
gration by continuous photography of the radar scope.
The Research Operations Base for the hurricane project is located in West Palm
Beach. The latest publication of this project is Report No. 3, entitled "Rainfall
Associated with Hurricanes," which is an exhaustive compilation of depth-area-duration
data and isohyetal maps of special interest to Florida, as is, of course, the hurricane
research program as a whole.
Largely on transferred funds from the Corps of Engineers and the Department of
Agriculture, the Bureau has continued investigations of rainfall for design purposes.
An important current project is an investigation of characteristics of storm rainfall for
use in protection of watersheds up to 400 square miles; an area-intensity-duration-
frequency analysis is one of the investigation's objectives.
Work is continuing on the applicability of pan evaporation measurements to
natural evaporation. The latest publication is Research Paper No. 38, "Pan and Lake
Evaporation," which further develops the use of normal meteorological measurements for
the computation of pan and lake evaporation.
In addition to the regular climatological network in Florida, the Weather
Bureau operates and publishes data from a network of recording rain gages in cooperation
with other agencies. Around Lake Okeechobee a special reporting network is operated for
the Corps of Engineers during the hurricane season for use in operation of the lake con-
U. S. Public Health Service. At the request of the State of Florida, the Public
Health Service provides (within the limits of its staff and facilities) regular and
emergency engineering services as delineated by legislative authority through the Regional
Office in Atlanta, Georgia.
The following summary describes the Public Health Service activities in the
water supply and water pollution control field:
1. Under the Interstate Carrier Water Supply Program, the Public Health Service
is responsible for the certification of water supplies used on trains, airlines and
vessels operating interstate. This program involves the review of approximately 1,400
supplies which furnish water to nearly 75 per cent of the nation's public served by public
water supply. Among these are 28 water supplies in Florida.
2. Official drinking water standards were developed and adopted by the Public
Health Service in 1914 under the Interstate Carrier Program. The Florida State Board of
Health requires that for a water supply to be approved it mast meet the following require-
ments of the Public Health Service Drinking Water Standards: (1) protection of the source
of supply and distribution system; (2) the bacteriological quality; and (3) the physical
and chemical characteristics.
3. The Public Health Service, in cooperation with state health departments,
assembles data and publishes periodically an inventory of municipal water facilities.
4. In 1948 the Public Health Service in close cooperation with state health
departments completed a national survey of municipal needs in the field of water supply.
This survey of coamnity needs has been brought up-to-date by adding plant obsolescence
to new needs due to population growth and deducting construction volume since 1948.
5. In 1954, the Office of Defense Mobilization requested the Public Health
Service to expand its water supply inventory to include additional data to serve as a
basis for mobilization readiness planning. Data on current needs and expansion possi-
bilities to meet domestic and industrial requirements were included in this activity.
To meet the existing domestic and industrial water supply requirements in the 36 Florida
municipalities surveyed would require an estimated expenditure of $13,286,000.
6. The Robert A. Taft Sanitary Engineering Center conducts training activities
in the field of water supply engineering for professional personnel from state and local
health departments and other persons engaged in related water activities.
7. The new Federal Water Pollution Control Act (P. L. 660, 84th Congress) embodies
the principal that while the states have the primary responsibility for pollution control,
it is also the policy of Congress to assist the states in the formulation and execution
of their programs. The Public Health Servwie is directed to:
a. Prepare or develop comprehensive programs for the eliminating or reducing
of the pollution of interstate waters and tributaries and improve the sanitary conditions
of surface or underground waters.
b. Encourage programs to conserve waters for public water supplies and recrea-
tional purposes, the propagation of fish, aquatic life and wildlife, and agricultural,
industrial and other legitimate uses.
c. Encourage cooperative activities of the state for the prevention and control
of water pollution.
d. Encourage the enactment of improved (and so far as practicable uniform)
state laws relating to the prevention and control of water pollution.
e. Collect and disseminate information related to the control of pollution.
f. Support and aid technical research.
g. According to prescribed procedures, initiate enforcement action for
abatement of interstate pollution.
h. Furnish financial assistance to state agencies for the expansion of their
The law provides for grants to assist the states in the development of their
programs. It is the intent of Congress that these moneys be used to expand and improve
the state program and not to replace state funds. The law provides for grants to assist
political subdivisions in the construction of remedial works providing the project is
eligible under criteria established by the state when the applicant meets the require-
ments which determine the propriety of federal aid.
Programs of the Public Health Service concerning water supply and water
pollution control are for the purpose of supplementing state programs, providing those
services which cannot economically be provided by the state on a permanent basis. An
important function of the Public Health Service is to provide essential liaison and
consultative services for the safeguarding of the water resources, assuring maximum
judicious use without adverse effect on health and welfare of the people.
Florida State Board of Conservation. The operations of the State Board of
Conservation include the administration of Florida's salt water resources and of the
Florida Geological Survey. Among other duties the Boardts director is charged with the
enforcement of all marine conservation laws and with the supervision of all research
projects concerning salt water resources. The agency also supervises the liCensing of
all craft used in the taking of salt water products and of firms dealing in those items.
All matters relating to sports or commercial fishing come under the agency jurisdiction
as well as does the enforcement of some laws relating to the pollution of salt waters.
Florida Geological Survey. The Florida Geological Survey was created 49 years
ago (Acts of 1907, Chapter 5681, sectiod 1-8) and was directed to survey and explore for
"minerals, water supply and other natural resources of the state," and to prepare maps
and reports covering these. Specifically, the legislature directed that such studies
should include the "occurrence and location of minerals and other deposits of value,
surface and subterranean water supply and power, and mineral waters, and the best and
most economical methods of development, together with analysis of soils, minerals and
mineral waters, with maps,. charts, and drawings of the same."
The Survey functioned under this act for 26 years, until 1933 (Acts of 1933,
Chapter 16178, Sections 1-4) when it was merged with the Salt Water Fish Commission and
the Fresh Water Fish and Game Department in a Department of Conservation responsible to
the governor and the cabinet as the State Board of Conservation. In 1935, the Department
of Game and Fresh Water Fish was made a constitutional department leaving the Geological
Survey and the Salt Water Fish Commission in the Conservation Department. Bach section
receives its funds from general revenue and administers its activity distinctly separate,
the Director of the Department of Conservation being the nominal head.
In 1945 (Acts of 1945, Chapter 22819, Section 1-39), the state enacted a law
to regulate the exploration for oil and gas and to insure the protection of these resources
and of our fresh waters. The Florida Geological Survey administers this law through the
Oil and Gas Division of the State Board of Conservation, tabulates statistics on production
and drilling, prepares reports on the geology as it relates to petroleum finding.
The 1953 Legislature (Acts of 1953, Chapter 28253, Sections 1-6) sought to
control flowing artesian wells by requiring valves to be installed and kept closed when
wells are not in use. The Florida Geological Survey was made the regulating agency, and
an inventory of flowing wells is being taken for use in a report to the 1957 Legislature
on the seriousness of this waste of water.
The Legislature of 1955 made the Survey an advisory member of the Water
Resources Study Commission and it is serving in that capacity in gathering data on the
water resources for a report to the 1957 Legislature.
The functions of the Florida Geological Survey might be summarized briefly as
(1) Study the geology and map the structure and stratigraphy of various
formations of the state. Issue reports covering these studies.
(2) Study and publish papers on the individual mineral resources of Florida,
including oil, gas and water. Since 1929, the Survey has cooperated with the Federal
Geological Survey in water resource studies in which detailed studies of surface, ground
and quality of waters, together with geologic factors, are made and published. It is
also preparing an inventory of flowing wells in the state.
(3) Consult and advise private, state and federal agencies on problems of
geology and hydrology. In particular, an active cooperation exists with the State Board
of Health on public supply and drainage wells, and drainage fields.
(4) Encourage and assist in the preparation of topographic, planimetric and soil
maps of Florida.
Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission. The State Board of Conservation
and this Commission have much in common relative to the management of fresh and salt water
fishes in coastal and tide waters as well as in artificial canals and waterways. The
functions of these respective agencies are somewhat overlapping due to the intermingling
of fresh and salt water fishes.
Boards of County Commissioners are frequently contacted by the Commission and
asked to pass a resolution establishing salt water lines or arbitrary division point
between fresh water and salt water. These established points are for the purpose of
enforcement and regulation of the respective species of fish.
The Commission has an extensive program with the Central and Southern Florida
Flood Control District on studies and recommendations of all water control plans and
specifications for the entire region. It is the Commission's duty to evaluate the plans
and programs of all agencies relative to the control and use of water insofar as it
affects fresh water fish. These studies encompass impoundment, .drainage projects, dyking,
water level control, drainage canals and problems relative to irrigation and the effect
of all of these various uses on fresh water fishes.
One office is established at Vero Beach for cooperation on river basin studies
with the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service for analyzing and determination of effects of
water control activities by the Department of the Interior, the Soil Conservation
Service, the Corp of Engineers and local county or conservation district boards of direc-
tors. Plans by all of these agencies for any alteration of water uses, water levels or
impoundments are studied by Commission personnel and definite project reports made in
conjunction with the Flood Control District and the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The Commission is also concerned with pollution-of fresh water insofar as it
affects fresh water fishes, either by natural pollution, municipal wastes, industrial
affluence or natural phenomena. Its authority in all of these matters extends only to
the welfare of fresh water fishes. Other than the effect of water uses on fresh water
fishes it has no jurisdiction.
Florida State Board of Health. There are two Bureaus in the State Board of
Health that function in the water resources field-Sanitary Engineering and Entomology.
It is the duty of the Board to adopt, promulgate, repeal and amend rules and regulations
consistent with law regulating; drinking water made accessible to the public; watersheds
used for public water supplies; disposal of excreta, sewage or other wastes; plumbing,
pollution of lakes, streams or other waters; drainage and filling in connection with the
control of arthropods of public health importance; and swimming pools and bathing places.
The Board also supervises the control of pollution in surface and ground waters.
Except for the control of arthropods of public health importance, the Bureau
of Sanitary Engineering is responsible for the program outlined above. There are three
sections in the Bureau.
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(1) Water Supply and Treatment Section which deals with supply, treatment of
all public water supplies, consulting advice on private supplies, swimming pools, and
bottled water plants. This Section reviews and recommends operating procedures, critique,
bacteriological and chemical analyses and complies with the statutory requirements of
the review of plans and specifications for all public water projects submitted to the
(2) Sewage and Industrial Wastes Section which handles all plans for domestic
sewerage and treatment, industrial wastes and treatment, stream pollution surveys, garbage
and refuse. Within the framework of this section operational procedures are recommended,
advice given on the degree of treatment necessary, pollution surveys are made and plans
and specifications of all sewerage projects are reviewed.
(3) Environmental Sanitation Section which carries on a program of many other
activities such as shellfish, food handling, trailer and motel courts, and subdivision
programs. Many of these activities include the review of plans and specifications dealing
with water supply and treatment, sewerage and sewage treatment that is closely liaisoned
with this Section and the other two.
Six counties have full time engineering staffs which operate under the Bureau's
general technical supervision, while the remaining 60 county health departments rely more
directly on the Bureau for technical assistance in matters pertaining to sanitary engineer-
The Bureau of Entomologyts principal function has to do with the control of
arthropods affecting the health and comfort of the citizens of Florida. In this connec-
tion, there are a number of arthropods that breed in and near water such as mosquitoes,
sandflies, yellow flies, blind mosquitoes, dog flies and a few other minor species.
The elimination and control of many of these species by source reduction has
to do with the manipulation of water environments by filling, impounding and elimination
Roughly over 99 per cent of the work in mosquito control is in connection with
salt-marsh mosquitoes. A greater part of the work consists of constructing minnow-access
canals in the mangrove and fringe areas along the coastal sections of the state. In some
areas the Bureau does considerable filling of the marshes and in other sections, impound-
ing marshes with rain water pumping in salt water. There is practically no work being
done in drainage of fresh water ponds and swamps for the control of mosquitoes.
State Soil Conservation Board. The State Soil Conservation Board is the
state agency established to administer the State Soil Conservation Act. Although it is
not directly concerned with the water resources field, it is an instrument whereby
agriculturists may take advantage of the programs of other agencies for the purpose of
instigating water management programs in local soil conservation districts. Its major
duties and powers are as follows:
(1) To offer such assistance as may be appropriate to the supervisors of soil
conservation districts in the carrying out of any of their powers and programs.
(2) To keep the supervisors of each of the several districts informed of the
activities and experience of all other such districts, and to facilitate and interchange
of advice and experience between such districts and cooperation between them
(3) To coordinate the programs of the various soil conservation districts so
far as this may be done by advice and consultation.
(4) To secure the cooperation and assistance of the federal agencies, and of
agencies and counties of Florida, in the work of the districts.
(5) To disseminate information throughout the state concerning the activities
add programs of the soil conservation districts and to encourage the formation of
districts in areas where their organization is desirable.
The State Soil Conservation Board also assists the various soil conservation
districts in obtaining state funds appropriated for the use of soil conservation districts.
University of Florida. There are several experimental, analytical and educa-
tional programs underway at the University of Florida, which taken collectively contribute
significantly to the state's water resources program. Among these should be mentioned
the programs of the agricultural group through its Agricultural Experiment Station and
Agricultural Extension Service; the Department of Chemistry; and the College of Engineer-
ing through its research arm, the Engineering and Industrial Experiment Station.
The Agricultural Experiment Stations of the University are intensely interested
in Florida's water resources and utilization. Agriculture production is dependent upon
water and agriculture is the largest single user of water in the state. The Agricultural
Experiment Stations have maintained continuous daily records of local meteorological
conditions since 1914. This includes some of the earliest work on evapotranspiration
of the entire humid eastern United States. Other activities include water control in-
vestigation in relation to surface and subsurface hydrology; design and maintenance of
water control facilities; effect of height of water table on subsidence of organic soils;
water relations of citrus operations in the coastal citrus area; irrigation, water
control, chloride.tolerance, and intrusion on marl soils; relationship between several
soil-water constants and the moisture content of soils under supplemental irrigation;
irrigation and drainage in relation to production of citrus, vegetables, pastures, tobacco
and other field crops; methods of treatment of citrus waste water and land use studies.
Higher production and quality of crops through use of supplemental irrigation and new
areas being brought into production will demand a larger proportion of Florida's water
resources for agriculture in the future.
The Florida Agricultural Extension Service has one or more county agricultural
agents in 66 of Florida's 67 counties. These agents carry on educational programs with
both adults and youth.
A staff of 31 specialists at the University of Florida keeps in close touch
with research work carried on by the Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations and the
United States Department of Agriculture. The specialists inform the county agents of
new information applicable to the agriculture in their counties.
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Much of the research and other information disseminated by the specialists
and county agents applies directly to the conservation of natural resources, including
An Extension Conservationist works with county agents in promoting the adoption
and use of soil and water conservation practices among farmers. He also keeps in close
touch with the conservation programs carried on by Agricultural Stabilization and Con-
servation Committee and the Soil Conservation Service. County personnel are kept informed.
Agricultural Engineering specialists assist the county agents and their farmers
with plans and specifications for the installation of irrigation systems. Such systems
are designed to use water as efficiently and effectively as possible. The engineering
specialists also assist agents and farmers with terracing problems when occasion demands.
The Extension Agronomist assists agents in the establishment of permanent
pastures and grass and leguminous cover crops which protect the soil from erosion and
rapid water runoff.
The Extension Foresters promote the adoption of improved forestry practices
on farm wood lots. The timber-grazing game program conserves soil and water resources
as one of its objectives.
Livestock and crops specialists work with agents and producers on use and con-
servation of water resources and the establishment of pastures and cover crops.
The work of other specialists relate indirectly to water conservation. For
example, the entomologist and plant pathologist work on insect and disease control of
crops used to conserve soil and water.
Work with youth through organized 4-H Clubs is also an important part of
Agricultural Extension work. Youth activities include instruction in soil and water
conservation, wildlife protection and game management. Four-H Club members carry projects
in forestry, wildlife conservation and soil conservation. They carry out crop and live-
stock practices requiring water use and conservation.
As a part of the educational work of the Agricultural Extension Service county
and state personnel disseminate to growers information on state and federal programs
involving soil and water conservation. To carry out this function, county agents in most
cases, serve as secretaries to their county Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation
Committees and to the district boards of supervisors of the local soil conservation
districts. The State Director of the Agricultural Extension Service serves as an Ex-officio
Member of the State Agricultural Stabilisation and Conservation Committee and as Admini-
strator of the State Soil Conservation Board.
The Department of Chemistry has been instrumental in the collection of data on
and publication of several articles on the quality of Florida's waters, the salt-water
intrusion problem and other subjects of interest. It is presently conducting contract
research on other qualitative aspects of water.
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A number of water resources projects are contained in the program of the
Florida Engineering and Industrial Zpeiment Station. The act creating the Station
refers to problems involving use of Florida's natural resources and to problems of an
engineering nature including water supplies, sanitary engineering and public health. The
contributions resulting from such work include over 200 published articles on the state's
climatology, quality of water, irrigation and drainage, water use, pollution, hydrology,
water resources, and beach and shore erosion. The present program includes the continua-
tion of some long-time research projects and the undertaking of new phases as are important
to the development of Florida.
Florida State University. The programs at Florida State University are conducted
by the Departments of Meteorology, Geography, and Geology primarily under contract with
other agencies. The results of some studies which lie in the respective departmental
fields have been published.
University of Miami. The Marine Laboratory of the University of Miami is active
in meteorological research. It is engaged in rainfall measurements, particularly with
the use of radar, and is under contract with the U. S. Weather Bureau to investigate
this tool as a means of observing weather phenomena. The Laboratory also investigates
some phases of Florida's salt water resources such as shellfish and the "red tide." This
work is financed by the State Board of Conservation.
Central and Southern Florida Flood Control District. This District was created
by the Legislature of Florida in 1949 to cooperate with the U. S. Corps of Engineers in
the development of a flood control and water conservation project in southeast Florida.
The project, as it is designated, is actually a tri-level effort: construction of major
works is a responsibility of the Corps of Engineers; securing lands and rights-of-way,
holding and saving the federal government against damage suits, and maintaining and
operation of major works are District responsibilities; and construction and operation
of secondary works are responsibilities of sub-drainage districts and private individuals.
Together, all three, cooperate on planning activities.
The major purposes for which the project was created are:
(1) To protect the area against flood damage.
(2) To conserve excess waters for use during periods of drought.
(3) To prevent salt-water intrusion into the ground water table and
artesian wells of the area.
(4) To promote the use of certain works for navigation.
(5) To preserve and protect fish and wildlife resources.
(6) To develop recreational possibilities.
(7) To control waste matters that may pollute waters of the area.
(8) To develop waters for domestic uses.
(9) To control water hyacinths.
The District is divided into six major divisions: Legal, Finance, Land, Main-
tenance. and Operations, Engineering, and Administrative. All of these are under the
supervision of an executive director who is responsible to a five man governing board
appointed by the Governor.
_ ~I ____
Attached directly to the executive director is the Office of Planning and
Research. The existence of this office is an indication of the growing importance
assigned to such activities, for this office is responsible not only for securing the
economic and social data necessary to the project, but for preparing the information
which the District presents to congress, the Florida Legislature, and local governments.
Cooperative agreements between the District and other agencies are many and
varied. Besides the working arrangements with the Corps and sub-drainage districts,
the Flood Control District consistently cooperates with the local Soil Conservation
Districts, the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish
Commission, the U. S. Park Service and the State Park Service, the Bureau of Indian
Affairs, the State Road Department and the Florida Development Commission among others.
Oklawaha Basin Recreation and Water Conservation and Control Authority. In
some instances the need for water management has been so acute that action has been
initiated and carried to completion at the local level. One such program is noted as
an example of local programs.
The Oklawaha Basin Recreation and Water Conservation and Control Authority of
Lake County is a political subdivision authorized by a Special Act of the Legislature
in 1953. It is financed with a one mill yearly assessment on the county real estate
The Authority objective is to conserve the waters in the county's two distinct
watersheds: first, the big lake chain which includes Lakes Beauclair, Carlton, Dora,
Eustis, Big and Little Lake Harris and Lake Griffin; and second, the Palatlakaha River
Basin, the headwaters of which are Green Swamp that drains into Lake Louisa, Minneola,
Minnihaha, Cherry, mma, Stewart and the Palatlakaha River, that empties into Lake Harris.
The plan is to control the levels of these lakes and streams at the highest point poss-
ible but below water levels that will prevent damage to our improved lakefront properties.
The minimum and high lake levels were established after engineering studies were made.
It is also intended to control these waters to prevent the recurrence of excessive high
Dade County Water Conservation District. Another type of local water manage-
ment program is that exemplified by the Dade County Water Conservation District. The
District was authorized by Florida Law in 1945. This law authorizes the County Commission
to create such districts, and the entire 2,200 square miles of Dade County were established
as one district by the Commissioners in 1945.
Under the district law the County Comnission is empowered to provide for con-
servation and use of water resources; control water levels in the canals, streams and
lakes; build and operate facilities as required; buy and condemn land, and levy county-
wide taxes up to .5 mill on the dollar.
The Water Control Division of the County Engineerls office carries out the
water control program. This division has about sixty employees. The heavy equipment used
includes nine draglines, four bulldozers, amphibious ducks, twelve to fifteen trucks, and
miscellaneous items required for channel work, dam construction and operation, and similar
Flood control work includes () levee construction, maintenance, and patrol;
(b) canal cleaning and enlargement; and, (c) supplying information to the County Zoning
Department and the public for the purpose of preventing construction of homes in areas
subject to frequent and periodic flooding.
The County has built and maintains about 40 or 50 miles of levees which hold
back water to the north and west from farm and suburban sites, and from areas now being
rapidly developed. There are nearly 400 miles of canals and ditches which require
improvement and maintenance for proper use. A major portion of the main system of canals,
levees, and dams in the County have been improved, enlarged, and cleaned many times during
10 years of operations. In connection with this work, the County sprays hyacinths and has
been able to keep the important part of the canal system practically free of hyacinths
during recent years.
The Water Control Division has prepared a flood criteria map which is followed
by the County Zoning Department in establishing miniimm land elevations which must be
met before building permits can be obtained in areas which have been subject to flooding.
The office answers many requests from individual property owners, home builders, and real
estate agencies relative to minimum fill requirements.
Protection of municipal water supplies and private wells from salt-water
encroachment, and prevention of overdrainage of a considerable portion of the lands in
the County is provided for by 15 dams which the County installs and operates. There are
five permanent-type structures in the farming area east of Homestead which provide for
gradual improvement of salt conditions in soil, and permit use of lands which would
otherwise salt out, as well as gradually permitting development of new lands closer to
Biscayne Bay. In the Miami metropolitan area, 12 temporary-type structures are installed
more or less annually to prevent salt-water encroachment up major canals. These dams
have been effective in moving salt front back downstream in those areas where the dams
have been located far enough downstream to be inside of the contaminated sone. In other
cases these dams have prevented overdrainage of higher pasture lands, and loss of water
from that portion of the network of canals in which they are located.
The foregoing describes current operations which are gradually being adjusted
to development of the federal plan, i.e. the Corps of Engineers and the Central and
Southern Florida Flood Control District works. Thus far, it has been necessary for the
County to concentrate on maintenance and ilrovement primarily of the larger canals which
will gradually be improved in a major way/the federal government. It is clear that
secondary water-control facilities will be required if proper usage of the major improved
works being provided by the federal plan is to be obtained. It would appear that this
secondary system will be a network of smaller facilities tying into the major works, and
that even smaller units such as private ditches and water-control facilities will have
to be developed. It appears that the County's function in this future development will
lie in between the minor private developments and the major works provided by the federal
The county-wide water conservation district does not now perform local minor
drainage work, nor create sub-districts, nor assess taxes for minor works because the
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mechanics for setting up drainage districts or special improvement districts to handle
these matters have been provided for by special laws of the Legislature, and these laws
provide for assessment of the cost against the property benefited in proportion to the
benefits, whereas the water conservation district operates on ad valoren tax funds.
Other Districts. Many types of districts are or have been organized in Florida.
These are drainage, inlet, improvement, mosquito control, navigation, water supply,
sanitary, conservation, service, irrigation and soil conservation, canal and look, and
port districts. Although every district is concerned with some phase of water resources,
the diversity of authority and purpose makes generalization impossible. A few are multi-
purpose districts, but most are limited to a single objective such as drainage. One
item in common is the power to levy and collect taxes within the district boundaries.
A more detailed enumeration and discussion of the various types is contained
in the section on water law in Florida.
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