Title: Tentative Findings and Conclusions
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/WL00002963/00001
 Material Information
Title: Tentative Findings and Conclusions
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Publisher: Florida Water Resources Study Commisssion
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida
Abstract: Richard Hamann's Collection - Tentative Findings and Conclusions
General Note: Box 12, Folder 3 ( Florida Water Resources Study Commission - Reports of Major Committees - 1956 ), Item 22
Funding: Digitized by the Legal Technology Institute in the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: WL00002963
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


Tentative Findings and Conclusioms:

1. Second in importance only to the state's human resources, Florida's water resources

are perhaps the state's most valuable asset. All segments of Florida's population,

eccnamy and general welfare are directly influenced by the waters that lie on, beneath,

Sor around the state. Consequently, this study has been designed to present a compre-

Shensive picture of the state's water resources, to examine the problems connected with

these resources, and to point the way for minimizing the adverse effects of such problems.

S2. In the past the greatest water resources problems encountered in Florida have been

those created by excess water The problems have been partially solved by the construc-

tion of many drate ge, flood eoArol and watershed protection systems, but excess water

will continue to be of major concern in the future.

3. Within recent years problems arising in connection with attempts to make beneficial

use of water resources have grown in importance. In specific areas problems resulting

from damage to water itself have also been recorded. Problems of water use and pro-

Sbleas of damage to water will become increasingly..more important with the growth of

Florida's population, her industrial and agribltaral seffert, and the recreational use

of her water resources.

4. Problems at a re na a"l -aia t vary widely from place to place and a solution

of each problem should be made in kIA M.gt needs of the area in which the problems

arise. However, Florida's hydrleog is adtamly ceplem, and the solution of a problem

Sfor one area should be reviewed te datebuiLem its effect on the water reaU ces of other

Areas so that it does not create probleWa for others.

5. The existing water law is baset am aeo arr*uory and special legislation ant on

4 curt rulings. In general the presemt )a 1 Its the use of water by those who own lands

Sbdering on streams, lakes ad a calsal dM- meot provide a satisfactory quawbitatite

i guide for such use. In tiAme ot fbarteg, s oft the water users do not have adequate

legal security to prietea thjpr iL --kmm.

L~. _______ ------__ ___

i 6. Those who own lands not touching on surface watercourses are generally not entitled

Sto such waters with the exception of flood waters for municipal, industrial, irrigation,

commercial livestock, and similar use. However, these users often need access to and use

of such surface waters for beneficial purposes.

S7. The present law concerning storage of water in a watercourse for later use is not

Clear. Definite rights to use such water should be established.

S< 8. The status of a landowner's right to use the waters lying beneath the ground surface

Shas not been defined. Litigation on one aspect of this question is currently under way,

Sbut there is need for clarification of the legal picture to provide a more satisfactory

Quantitative guide for all ground water users.

9. A set of legal definitions pertaining to atmospheric water, diffused surface water,

surface water in well-defined beds and banks, ground water, tidal water, and other aspects

is needed. Such definitions could serve to clarify existing law and could help to form

a basis upon which to construct a system of law that would provide beneficial water users

with clear rights to the use of water and would facilitate proper water management in


[ 0. Attempts to increase the amount of rainfall by artificial means have nothbeen shown

to be successful in Florida. Since any plan to alter natural weather phenomena is of

concern to Florida, state surveillance of weather modification attempts is desirable.

11. In general the total water resources of the state exceed by far the needs within the

Foreseeable future. However, the distribution of rainfall is poor and there are periods

of time when local water shortages occur. On other occasions the rainfall is excessive

and floods result because the existing drainageways are overtaxed. Such extremes cause

Distress to most types of water users, but possibly agricultural operations are most

Vulnerable to these extremes. Even in many wet years there are periods during which

insufficient moisture is present in the soil for optimum crop production. Consequently,.

t management of the fresh water resources may be as important during normal or wet years as

in dry ones.


12. Average rainfall, lake and ground water levels, and stream flow values are misleading,

since they do not reflect the actual conditions existing at any given time.

13. The programs for collection of data on rainfall, stream flow and lake levels, and

ground water elevations were started some years ago. However, none of the observation

networks are sufficient to permit a proper and complete analysis of the state's water

resources. Also, data on water losses caused by evapotranspiration are almost lacking

even though this loss appears to equal the average annual rainfall in some parts of

the state. Some of the data which are collected are not published, but there is a need

for distribution of this information. These programs should be continued and in many

cases expanded to obtain data important to proper management of the state's water


14. During normal years there is a tremendous quantity of surface water in Florida.

An average of about 40 billion gallons per day flow into the oceans, largely unused, but

a great majority of this flow is from a few rivers in the northern part of the state. In

the peninsular most surface water is retained in shallow lakes or moves through ill-

defined stream-beds or canals. The terrain is generally flat throughout the state leaving

few satisfactory sites for the storage of surface water. This condition has resulted in

the development of water management techniques almost unique to Florida wherein the manage-

ment of the entire water resources over large areas are necessary to insure success. The

Central and Southern Florida Flood Control District is an example. Surface water's are the

primary source of supply for most of the irrigation, power production, and recreational

uses in the state.

15. Ground water in copious quantities is available at most locations in the state. The

water-bearing beds beneath the ground surface act as reservoirs and as distribution systems

and are used as a source of supply by most municipalities and many industries. There has

probably been no general permanent lowering of water tables and pressures, but in some

locations heavy pumping has created some difficulties. In many instances flowing wells

have ceased to flow.

16. The wasteful flow of ground water has been recorded at a number of wild artesian wells.

__ _~_~I

The Florida Geological Survey is currently engaged in an inventory of the flowing wells

in the state. This work should be continued as a basis for reducing loss of ground water

in this manner.

17. Large withdrawals of ground water and excessive drainage of low surface areas have

resulted in the intrusion of salt waters into fresh in several areas. To prevent further

damage to the ground waters in these areas they should be placed under regular observation

and the pumping rate, spacing of additional wells, and conservation practices governed by

the information obtained.

18. The natural quality of both surface and ground water in Florida is quite variable

and in some areas strictly limits its municipal, agricultural or industrial use.

Insufficient measurements have been made on water quality.

19. The quality of surface, ground and tidal waters has been impaired by municipal and

industrial wastes in some areas. The problem is not general since the state has conducted

an active pollution abatement program in cooperation with many cities and industries.

However, in the interest of maintaining the state's water resources for further beAeficial

use, this program should be supported.

20. The agricultural land use pattern shows a definite trend towards operations that

depend upon water control. There are at present about 16,000 irrigation systems in the

state serving three-wuarters of a million acres of farm land. Surface water serves as

the source of supply for most systems, but during droughts there is insufficient quantity

to meet the needs' in many areas.. Where ground water is used the supply is generally

adequate, but the quality of ground water prohibits its use in some localities.

21. The combined use of water by municipal, industrial and agricultural operations

averages about 4 billion gallons per day, and it is estimated this rate will increase

almost 70 per cent within the next 14 years. It this demand were uniformly distributed

over the state there would likely be few problems of use. But increases in population

and industrial concentrations will be paralleled with attendant conflicts over use,

particularly during times of drought, if sound water management practices are not pursued.

22. Recreational water use cannot be measured in terms of water quantity. It is used
4 -

_ 1__~__ _~~___ __

__ __ ~




where it is found and such use generally does not impair its quality or quantity. However

the current expenditures for such use are estimated to be $381,000,000, an amount that

constitutes a substantial segment of the state's economy. As a result, water management

programs should be geared to meet the needs of the recreational users of Florida's water


23. Problems of beach and shore erosion are perhaps more prevalent in Florida than

any other state. There is legislative background for the construction of protective

devices, but the facts necessary for proper design and operation of such structures are

not well-known. Additional study is needed to develop this specialized field and to

establish additional legal status for the solving of beach and shore erosion problems.

24. There are several excellent programs currently in operation relating to the

physical aspects of water management, including basic data collection. These are

supported at different governmental levels from local to federal. Although some are

cooperative, most are concerned with a particular phase of water resources. In general

these programs serve a very useful function and should be strengthened. Many local pro-

grams are limited in the types of water management practices which they may fellow.

Where needed these districts should be permitted to enlarge their field of operations to

effectuate better water management within the district boundaries.

25. At present the. courts are the only state agency authorized ,to seek answers to water

rights problems. This procedure is slow and expensive, and the answers are limited to the

particular issue under consideration. There should be an administrative agency with the

power to implement the state's water policy with dispatch and in accordance with the

provisions of a basic water law.

1 .---~

-" --1 -- --


Tentative Broad Recommendations:

(Note: These recommendations are for discussion purposes only and are subject to
change in whole or in part depending upon decisions yet to be made by the

1. That a set of legal definitions be established by the Legislature, which definitions

will serve to clarify existing water law and to help form a basis upon which to construct

new water laws.

2. That new laws and procedures be established by the Legislature to provide a satis-

factory quantitative gaide as to the rights of all present and future water users to use

the state's water resources, regardless of the position of land upon which the use is

made. Further, that the present law concerning storage of water in a watercourse for

later use be clarified to define the rights to such use.

3. That a permanent Board of Water Resources Commissioners be established by the

Legislature to administer the state's water policy. Further, that the Board members be

selected so that the different geographical sections of the state and the various water

users within the state are properly represented, and that the Board be instructed to

make periodic recommendations to the Legislature for suitable programs and legislation

based on the Board's findings.

4. That adequate staff and funds be provided to permit the Board to support existing

data-collecting programs in localities where surveys and investigations are needed and

to help organize the operation of such programs to obtain information necessary for

sound water management practices. Further, that the Board be permitted to instigate

data-collection and analysation programs where needed and where thehprogram does not

duplicate the program of another agency.

5. That the Legislattre establish state-wide enabling legislation to permit the

organization and operation of new multipurpose water management districts or to permit

the expansion of operations of existing districts to instigate multipurpose water

management programs. Further, that approval of plans for such districts be obtained

from the Board before the districts are organized or reorganized, and that the Board

isiU~ approval only after determining that such plans are in the best interests of all

water users both within and without the district.

b. That exemptions and limitations be placed upon the jurisdiction or powers of

the Board where required to maintain those features of existing water law and usage

deemed suitable to the conditions and needs of Florida.

7. That such water management procedures be established as will facilitate the capture

and storage of excess water for use in periods of shortage by any beneficial user.

8. That a program be established by the Board to provide the public with useful and

current information on the activities of the Board and its cooperating agencies.

9. That the state establish a program to require permits for all artificial weather

modification attempts.

10. That a state agency be instructed by the Legislature to investigate the beach and

shore erosion problem in Florida and to make recommendations concerning the desirability

of establishing comprehensive beach and shore protection laws.

11. That other state and state-supported agencies be required to cooperate with the

Board and that the Board be authorized to cooperate with federal, state and local

agencies and with water use organizations in Florida.

12. That established lawful rights to use water be recognized.

University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs