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NORTHWEST FLORIDA WATER
PUBLIC INFORMATION BULLETIN 80-1
tAot aweld aForiada
#a/e i(tana6aemenl i4hictd
Route .Vo. 1. Box .100. Hlavana. Florida 32333
J. William McCartney (904) 487-1770
It is our pleasure to publish the summary of our Fourth Annual Meeting.
We feel that the meeting again this year was an unqualified success owing
largely to the participation of those who served on the discussion panels, to
our own Board members who served as panel moderators, and especially to Senate
President Phil Lewis who provided the keynote address at the banquet. To these
individuals, we express our sincere appreciation. Special thanks are also in
order to Jack Maloy and our chairman, Henry Lane, who added significantly to
In publishing these proceedings, it is our intention to provide the public
with greater insight into the structure and process of the vital business of
water resource management. In the candid comments which follow, many authorities
on water resources address the salient resource issues of our time by expressing
their personal perceptions of the roles and responsibilities of the water manage-
It is our hope that the following summary will prove to be enjoyable and
informative and that this information will contribute positively to water
resource management in Florida.
HENRY C. LANE
TOM S. COLDEWEY
Vice Chairman Port St. Joe
DAVAGE RUNNELS R. L. PRICE, JR.
WILLIAM C. SMITH
FLORIDA WATER MANAGEMENT DISTRICT
FOURTH ANNUAL MEETING
Thursday, October 25, 1979
11:30 a.m. 1:30 p.m.
1:30 p.m. 2:45 p.m.
3:00 p.m. 4:15 p.m.
6:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m.
7:00 p.m. 9:00 p.m.
Friday, October 26, 1979
9:00 a.m. 10:15 a.m.
10:30 a.m. 11:45 a.m.
Panel #1 Current Issues in Water
Management District Funding
Headquarters Training Center
Panel #2 Water Management in
Florida: Is it Working?
Headquarters Training Center
Silver Slipper Restaurant,
Banquet: Speaker Senate President Phil
Lewis, Silver Slipper Restaurant,
Panel #3 Task Force Perception of
Water Management in Florida
Headquarters Training Center
Panel #4 Water Management in Florida:
the View at the National Level
Headquarters Training Center
Annual Meeting Adjourned
LIBRARY INFORMATION CENTER
NORTHWEST FLORIDA WATER
RT. 1, BOX 3100
HAVANA, FLORIDA 32333
19 "8 '76
NORTHWEST FLORIDA WATER MANAGEMENT DISTRICT
FOURTH ANNUAL MEETING
Hon. Tom S. Coldewey, Vice Chairman, NWFWMD Governing Board, Port St. Joe, FL
Hon. Dan Farley, Secretary/Treasurer, NWFWMD Governing Board, Tallahassee, FL
Hon. Howard Odom, Member, NWFWMD Governing Board, Marianna, FL
Hon. Davage (Buddy) Runnels, Member, NWFWMD Governing Board, Destin, FL
Mr. L. M. (Buddy) Blain, Legal Counsel, Southwest Florida Water Management
District, Tampa, FL
Mr. John R. Buckley, Governor's Resource Management Task Force, Sarasota, FL
Hon. R. T. (Tommy) Clay, Chairman, St. Johns River Water Management District
Governing Board, Grandin, FL
Mr. Clyde S. Conover, U. S. Geological Survey, Tallahassee, FL
Mr. John Cunningham, U. S. Department of the Interior, Washington, D. C.
Mr. Craig DeRemer, U. S. Department of the Army, Washington, D. C.
Ms. Helen Hood, Governor's Resource Management Task Force, Gainesville, FL
Mr. John R. (Jack) Maloy, Executive Director, South Florida Water Management
District, West Palm Beach, FL
Hon. Derrill McAteer, Chairman, Southwest Florida Water Management District
Governing Board, Brooksville, FL
Mr. John Robert Middlemas, Governor's Resource Management Task Force, Panama
Mr. Don Morgan, Executive Director, Suwannee River Water Management District,
White Springs, FL
Hon. Herb Morgan, Chairman, House Appropriations Committee, Tallahassee, FL
Mr. Robert (Bob) Rhodes, Attorney, Tallahassee, FL
Mr. Phil Searcy, Governor's Resource Management Task Force, Orlando, FL
Mr. Jim Shimberg, Chairman, Governor's Resource Management Task Force,
Ms. Nancy Stroud, Staff Director, Governor's Resource Management Task Force,
Boca Raton, FL
Mr. W. James (Jim) Tait, Director, Office of Planning and Budgeting, Office
of the Governor, Tallahassee, FL
Hon. James Harold Thompson, House' Nat4a&l Resbbrces Cdmmittee, Quincy, FL
ii .4 ,
Mr. Richard C. Tucker, President, American Water Resources Association,
Mr. Jake Varn, Secretary, Department of Environmental Regulation, Tallahassee,
Mr. Richard (Dick) Vannoy, U. S. Water Resources Council, Washington, D. C.
Mr. Gerald Ward, Florida Engineering Society, West Palm Beach, FL
Governing Board Members (NWFWMD)
Hon. W. Fred Bond, Pensacola, FL
Hon. Tom S. Coldewey, Vice Chairman, Port St. Joe, FL
Hon. Dan Farley, Secretary/Treasurer, Tallahassee, FL
Hon. Henry C. Lane, Chairman, Pensacola, FL
Hon. Howard Odom, Marianna, FL
Hon. R. L. (Bob) Price, Graceville, FL
Hon. Davage (Buddy) Runnels, Destin, FL
Hon. William C. (Bill) Smith, Tallahassee, FL
Hon. Marion Tidwell, Milton, FL
Mr. Bill Allee, Southwest Florida Water Management District
Mrs. Kathy Allee
Mr. Dale Allen, House Natural Resources Committee Staff, Tallahassee, FL
Mr. C. K. Arora, Department of Environmental Regulation, Tallahassee, FL
Mr. Barry Baldwin, Institute of Food and Agricultural Science, University of
Mr. Tom Barnum, House Natural Resources Committee Staff, Tallahassee, FL
Mr. John Barr, Quincy, FL
Mrs. Suzanne Barr, Gadsden County Chamber of Commerce, Quincy, FL
Mr. Raj Barr-Kumar, Barrett, Daffin and Carlan, Tallahassee, FL
Ms. Annette Burnham, Suwannee River Water Management District
Mr. Bill Battaglia, Tallahassee, FL
Mrs. Sharon Battaglia, Tallahassee, FL
Mr. Pearce Barrett, Barrett, Daffin and Carlan, Tallahassee, FL
Mr. Jerry Bennett, Institute of Food and Agricultural Science, University of
Ms. Ann Bidlingmaier, Tallahassee, FL
Mrs. Laura Blain, Tampa, FL
Mr. Charles Blair, Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services,
Mrs. Marjorie Blair, Tallahassee, FL
Mr. Larry Bobo, Florida Economic Development Center, Florida State University
Mr. David Boozer, Florida Water Well Association
Mr. Jim Brown, State Treasurer's Office, Tallahassee, FL
Mr. Tom Brown, Counsel, Suwannee River Water Management District Governing
Mr. Miller Burt, Polyengineering of Florida, Shalimar, FL m
Hon. Lynn Capehart, St. Johns River Water Management District Governing
Mr. Doug Caton, Senate Natural Resources Committee Staff, Tallahassee, FL
Mr. Horace Chafin, Talquin Electric Cooperative, Quincy, FL
Ms. Jill Chamberlin, Office of the Governor, Tallahassee, FL
Hon. Bobby Clark, Chairman, South Florida Water Management District Governing
Mr. John Clark, Congressman Don Fuqua's Office, Tallahassee, FL
Ms. Maureen Cone, Suwannee River Water Management District
Mr. Ed Conklin, Department of Community Affairs, Tallahassee, FL
Hon. Doyle Conner, Commissioner, Department of Agriculture and Consumer
Services, Tallahassee, FL
Mrs. Maidie Cotten, Tallahassee, FL
Mr. Harvey Cotten, Attorney General's Office, Tallahassee, FL m
Ms. Mary Alice Croley, Quincy, FL
Mr. Al Csontos, Suwannee River Water Management District
Mr. Fox Davis, Soil Conservation Service, Gainesville, FL
Mr. Charlie Davot, A. B. Dick Co., Tallahassee, FL
Mrs. Teresa Davol, Tallahassee, FL
Mr. Don Duden, Department of Natural Resources, Tallahassee, FL
Mr. Ben Duncan, Chairman, Gadsden County Commission, Quincy, FL
Dr. Andrew Dzurik, Florida State University
Mr. Ken Evans, City of Pensacola
Mr. Glen Faulkner, U. S. Geological Survey Subdistrict Office, Tallahassee, U
Mr. Don Feaster, Executive Director, Southwest Florida Water Management
Mr. Daniel Fernandez, Staff Director, Senate Natural Resources Committee,
Hon. John Finlayson, Suwannee River Water Management District Governing Board
Mr. David Fisk, Suwannee River Water Management District
Ms. Alex Fuller, Apalachee Regional Planning Council
Major Tom Garrison, Game & Fresh Water Fish Commission, Panama City, FL
Ms. Debbie Ginn
Mr. Elton Gissendanner, Executive Director, Department of Natural Resources,
Mr. Jack Goodridge, South Florida Water Management District
Mr. George Griffith, St. Johns River Water Management District
Mr. Peter Hahn, Suwannee River Water Management District
Mrs. Anna Marie Hartman, House Natural Resources Committee Staff, Tallahassee,
Mr. Brad Hartman, Game & Fresh Water Fish Commission, Tallahassee, FL
Mr. Charlie Hill, A. B. Dick Company, Tallahassee, FL
Hon. Stanley Hole, South Florida Water Management District Governing Board I
Ms. Mildred Horton, St. Johns River Water Management District
Ms. Jan Horvath, South Florida Water Management District
Mr. Raymond Hurst, City of Quincy, Quincy, FL
Mr. Carlton Jackson, Department of Natural Resources, Tallahassee, FL
Mr. Don Jensen, Talquin Electric Cooperative
Mr. Ivan Johnson, Barrett, Daffin and Carlan, Tallahassee, FL
Ms. Elizabeth Jones, Tallahassee, FL
Mr. Doug Jones, Dan Farley & Associates, Tallahassee, FL
Mr. Ed Joyce, Department of Natural Resources, Tallahassee, FL
Hon. Terry Kelly, Suwannee River Water Management District Governing Board
Mr. David Kenyon, U. S. Corps of Engineers, Washington, D. C.
Mr. Vance Kidder, House Natural Resources Committee Staff, Tallahassee, FL
Hon. Hilda Kressman, Suwannee River Water Management District Governing Board
Ms. Cecelia Kugler, Tallahassee, FL
Mrs. Frances Kundert, Parker, FL
Mr. Glen Kundert, City of Parker, Parker, FL
Mrs. Margaret Lambert, Wauchula, FL
Hon. Ronald B. Lambert, Southwest Florida Water Management District Governing
Mr. Jim LaMoreaux, P.E.L. & Associates, Tuscaloosa, AL
Mr. Howard Landers, Reynolds, Smith & Hills, Jacksonville, FL
Mrs. Margie Laney, Tallahassee, FL
Mr. Roger Laney, Ketcham & Laney, P.A., Certified Public Accountants,
Mr. Jim Lewis, Department of Environmental Regulation, Tallahassee, FL
Hon. Phil Lewis, President, Florida Senate, West Palm Beach, FL
Mr. Chuck Littlejohn, Department of Environmental Regulation, Tallahassee, FL
Ms. Chris MacLauchlan, Florida State University
Mr. Doug Mang, Stowell & Mang, Attorneys, Tallahassee, FL
Ms. Alcyone Mason, Suwannee River Water Management District
Ms. Anne Marie Mattison, Gainesville, FL
Mr. Fred McCormack, Blain & Cone, P.A., Attorneys, Tallahassee, FL
Ms. Jeanne McElmurray, Sarasota, FL
Mrs. Ane Merriam, Tallahassee, FL
Mr. Jack Merriam, Staff Director, House Natural Resources Committee,
Rev. Harry Middlebrooks, Tallahassee, FL
Mrs. Mary Middlebrooks, Tallahassee, FL
Hon. Wayne Mixson, Lt. Governor of Florida, Marianna, FL
Ms. Carolyn Mobley, Suwannee River Water Management District
Mr. Bob Moresi, St. Johns River Water Management District
Mr. Rufus Musgrove, U. S. Geological Survey, Tallahassee, FL
Mrs. Eunice Odom, Marianna, FL
Mr. D. B. Pettengill, Department of Community Affairs, Tallahassee, FL
Mrs. Iona Pettengill, Tallahassee, FL
Hon. Fran Pignone, St. Johns River Water Management District Governing Board
Mr. Frank Pignone, Orlando, FL
Hon. Don Price, Florida House of Representatives, Tallahassee, FL
Mrs. Jo Ann Price, Graceville, FL
Mr. Jim Pridgeon, House Appropriations Committee Staff, Tallahassee, FL
Mr. Tom Printy, City of Tallahassee, FL
Mr. Bill Reid, Corps of Engineers, Mobile, AL
Mr. Seymour Reitman, Corps of Engineers, Atlanta, GA
Mr. Elton Revell, Office of the Governor, Tallahassee, FL
Hon. Auley Rowell, Chairman, St. Johns River Water Management District
Mrs. Pat Rowell, Shady Grove, FL
Mr. Dick Rubino, Florida State University
Ms. Lee Rumbley, Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Tallahassee,
Mrs. Bonnie Runnels, Fort Walton Beach, FL
Hon. Bruce Samson, Southwest Florida Water Management District Governing Board
Ms. Linda Sancho, A. B. Dick Company, Tallahassee, FL
Mr. Rob Schleiter, Florida Economic Development Center, Florida State
Mr. Peter J. Schreuder, Geraghty & Miller, Tampa, FL
Mr. C. B. Sherwood, U. S. Geological Survey, Tallahassee, FL
Mrs. Ruth Sherwood, Tallahassee, FL
Mr. Tom Smith, City of Tallahassee
Mrs. Clara Jane Smith, Tallahassee, FL
Mr. Carl St. Cin, Monsanto, Pensacola, FL
Hon. Cliff Stephens, Southwest Florida Water Management District Governing Board
Mr. Jack Strickland, Gadsden County Chamber of Commerce, Quincy, FL
Mrs. Margaret Strickland, Quincy, FL
Mr. Larry Strong, Senate Ways and Means Committee Staff, Tallahassee, FL
Mr. Doug Stowell, Counsel, Northwest Florida Water Management District Governing
Hon. Bill Stubbs, Southwest Florida Water Management District Governing Board
Ms. Addie Summers, Tri-Rivers Waterway Development Association, Dothan, AL
Mr. Tom Swihart, Department of Environmental Regulation, Tallahassee, FL
Dr. Ken Tefertiller, Institute of Food and Agricultural Science, University of
Mr. Ed Tempest, Office of the Auditor General, Tallahassee, FL
Mr. Charles Thomas, Department of Natural Resources, Tallahassee, FL
Hon. Helen Thompson, Southwest Florida Water Management District Governing
Mrs. Mary Tidwell, Jay, FL
Mr. Henry Trapp, U. S. Geological Survey, Tallahassee, FL
Ms. Vicki Tschinkel, Department of Environmental Regulation, Tallahassee, FL
Mr. Don Turk, Florida Farm Bureau Federation
Mrs. Norma Vannoy, Washington, D. C.
Mrs. Sheila Varn, Tallahassee, FL
Mrs. Barbara Vergara, Southwest Florida Management District
Mr. Sonny Vergara, Department of Environmental Regulation, Tallahassee, FL
Ms. Debbie Waliga, Tallahassee, FL
Mr. Herb Webb, Counsel, St. Johns River Water Management District Governing Board
Mr. Kirk Webster, Suwannee River Water Management District
Hon. Jonathon Wershow, Suwannee River Water Management District Governing Board
Mr. Estus Whitfield, Office of the Governor, Tallahassee, FL
Mr. John Wodraska, South Florida Water Management District
Mr. Bill Albritton, Field Representative, Havana
Mrs. Ann Baggett, Assistant Business Manager, Quincy
Mr. Doug Barr, Associate Hydrogeologist, Tallahassee
Ms. Mary Jo Bedenbaugh, Division Secretary, Tallahassee
Mr. Bob Boynton, Business Manager, Tallahassee
Mr. Ira Brown, Licensing and Permitting Administrator, Perry
Mr. Gary Bussell, O.P.S., Field Assistant, Tallahassee
Mr. Jim Cason, Division Director, Tallahassee
Mr. Line Clay, Water Resource Planner, Tallahassee
Mrs. Gladys Collins, O.P.S., Quincy
Ms. Tavia Copenhaver, Public Information Coordinator, Tallahassee
Mrs. Claire Davis, Receptionist, Tallahassee
Mr. W. A. Duke, Field Inspector, Havana
Mr. Vince Faraone, Assistant Hydroengineer, Tallahassee
Dr. George Fisher, Public Information/Training Officer, Tallahassee
Ms. Libby Hodecker, O.P.S., Tallahassee
Mr. Raymond Jordan, Field Inspector, Malone
Mr. Tom Kwader, Associate Hydrogeologist, Tallahassee
Mr. Warren Lester, Chief Inspector, Havana
Mr. Bill McCartney, Executive Director, Tallahassee
Mr. Rich McWilliams, Division Director, Tallahassee
Mr. Gary Miller, Cartographer, Tallahassee
Ms. Matilde Munoz, Illustrator, Tallahassee
Mr. Bob Murphy, Associate Hydrologist, Tallahassee
Mr. Richard Musgrove, Associate Hydroengineer, Thomasville
Ms. Marcia Penman, Water Resource Planner, Tallahassee
Mr. Chip Perkins, Associate Water Resource Planner, Tallahassee
Mr. Tom Pratt, Assistant Hydrogeologist, Tallahassee
Ms. Ann Redmond, Biologist, Quincy
Ms. Maria Scales, Division Secretary, Tallahassee
Mrs. Angela Smith, Assistant Regulatory Officer, Hosford
Ms. Delinda Smith, C.E.T.A., Quincy
Ms. Chiquita Stewart, Division Secretary, Bristol
Mr. Jim Stidham, Division Director, Tallahassee
Mr. Jeff Wagner, Associate Hydrogeologist, Tallahassee
Mr. Jack White, Facilities Superintendent, Havana
Ms. Carol Williams, Executive Secretary to the Board, Tallahassee
Mrs. Frieda Williams, Data Processing Specialist, Havana
Mr. Ron Williams, Field Inspector, Pensacola
CURRENT ISSUES IN
WATER MANAGEMENT DISTRICT FUNDING
HON. DAN FARLEY, Secretary/Treasurer, Northwest Florida Water
Management District Governing Board, Tallahassee, Florida
.MR. L. M. (BUDDY) BLAIN, Legal Counsel, Southwest Florida Water Management
District, Tampa, Florida
HON. R. T. (TOMMY) CLAY, Chairman, St. Johns River Water Management
District Governing Board, Grandin, Florida
MR. JOHN R. (JACK) MALOY, Executive Director, South Florida Water
Management District, West Palm Beach, Florida
HON. HERB MORGAN, Chairman, House Appropriations Committee, Florida
House of Representatives, Tallahassee, Florida
MR. W. JAMES (JIM) TAIT, Director, Office of Planning and Budgeting,
Office of the Governor, Tallahassee, Florida
For fiscal year 1979-80, Florida's five water management districts
requested $28,074,378 from state funds to support their activities. For
fiscal year 1980-81, the request was for $29,752,894. In June 1979, the state
Legislature passed the appropriations bill for FY '80 and FY '81, granting
to the water management districts collectively the sums of $4,050,550 and
$4,016,550, respectively. This represents a net reduction in funding of
$49,760,172 below the water management districts' request. Moreover, the
total support to the districts of slightly over eight million dollars
represents a state expenditure for water management of approximately 1/20th of
1 percent of the state budget.
Operations, construction, and land acquisition activities of the water
management districts have traditionally been supported, at least in part, by
state funds. During the past legislative session, the funds proposed by the
water management districts for construction and land acquisition were reduced
significantly below the level of the original request. For example, one water
management district received only $25,000 to go in its 30 million dollar
budget for land.
For what purposes and in what amount should the state appropriate
funds to the five water management districts?
"The task force agrees that the state's funding of works of water
management districts should be for projects which have direct benefits to
the state in general and which will not result in the most direct benefits
accruing to limited segments of the population."
"The .Task Force agrees with the concept of state funding of district
activities on a 'needs' rather than on a 'formula' basis."
The above, as well as several other recommendations, were made by the
second of two Task Forces, which, in recent years, have reviewed issues in
water management funding. To date, there has been no apparent impact of
either task force on the current funding situation. Such questions as:
should water management district funding levels be based on (1) individual
district programs? (2) area? (3) amount of water? (4) levels of other
income? (5) legislative lobbying? or (6) the implementation of state
programs? have not been answered.
What is the optimum structure and criteria for water management
district funding in Florida, and how should this be officially
The realities of the water management district budget process are indeed a
complicated "chain" of events. For example, during the past budgeting period,
the following took place:
1) Budget prepared by water management district and adopted by
2) Budget request sent by board to Department of Environmental
3) Budget modified by Department of Environmental Regulation and
sent to Department of Administration.
4) Budget modified by Department of Administration and sent to
5) Recommendation by Governor to Legislature of lump sum amount for
6) Water management districts meeting; agreement made on split of
lump sum amount.
7) Water management district split agreed to by Governor and
recommendation to Legislature modified.
8) House and Senate Appropriations committees prepared own figures
in their proposed budgets.
9) House and Senate Conference Committee met to determine actual
dollars to the districts.
10) Eleventh-hour adjustments made to the Conference Committee
11) Appropriations bill passed by Legislature.
12) Appropriations bill signed by Governor.
13) Water management districts received some 16 percent of the
original request. This sum was 50 million dollars less than the
Is the current state budget process for funding water management
districts working? Why or why not? If not, how can it be improved?
TOMMY CLAY i
Derrill McAteer, who has been a Governing Board chairman for so long, and
Bob Clark, who has also been a chairman, came to the newly formed St. Johns River
Water Management District to give us an orientation session in 1973. Through the
years, I have called Derrill many times and have always received excellent advice
and help from him. I looked at this listing of panel members today, and I saw
"Honorable" before my name and not before Derrill's. That is a real important
milestone in my life.
I want to briefly go into some issues that have been brought about by two |
very important court cases. I am not an authority on water management, but I
have gotten to be one on legal matters. We have a class action suit that has
been certified against the St. Johns River Water Management District. We have
another suit pending; it may or may not be certified as a class action suit.
These suits have raised some issues that directly involve the funding of water
management districts. The reason we are concerned is that we Governing Board
members have been sued individually. I can see myself having to repay one-ninth I
of the tax money we board members have been accused of spending illegally.
The major points that have been raised in these suits is a contesting of
the constitutionality of the law creating the water management districts, and of
the constitutionality of the referendum that granted to one district .05 mill and
1 mill to the rest of us. That is a focus in the suit that our attorneys have
given a lot of consideration. It is something we on the board do not control,
but it is something that can be resolved in the Circuit Court of Osceola County. I
If the decision is adverse to the line of reasoning that our attorneys are trying
to present, it will affect Jack Maloy, Buddy Runnels, and the rest of the
Governing Board members.
Another major point in the suit concerns Chapter 373.503 of the Florida
Statutes where it says: "The Legislature shall finance the water regulatory and
the administrative functions substantially." This word "substantially" has been
dwelled on in both of the pending suits. We took the line of reasoning that what
general appropriations money was given was what we got and thus was
"substantial". But the case against us is built around the point that we broke
the law by spending more than the Legislature appropriated, and that we should
not have spent ad valorem tax funds for regulatory or administrative functions.
All of the other districts have done the same thing and, if it is illegal for us
to do, it is illegal for them to do also.
I am going to make just one other point from the panel charge on state
funding of water management. We, in our district and I think I speak also for
the other districts feel a great need for the continuation .of the Water
Resources Development Account (WRDA) funds. We have a major project in the upper
St. Johns River that covers many of our 19 counties. It is a statewide project
that is of interest to everyone. We have a vital need for the continuation of
WRDA funding to match the federal funds that we can get for this project.
Tommy is trying to tell us we should get this constitutionality issue on
ad valorem taxation resolved before we worry about other financial matters.
Speaking directly to the questions: "For what purposes (and how much
money) should the state appropriate to the five water management districts?"
and in deference to the fine work that the Chairman of the House
Appropriations Committee has done for the water management districts over the
last few years my response is: "A hell of a lot more than they have already."
Let me indicate to you why I feel that way. I have, over the last two or
three years, been impressed by statements by elected officials on the
importance of water to Florida. It is very difficult to pick up a newspaper
in a large urban community in Florida and not read something about water. And
yet, when you look at the amounts the state, local governments, and local
property taxpayers are each putting into solving water problems, the state's
share is not that large. I think there is a great imbalance, but it is not
easily solved because Florida does have other pressing problems. We have
been, for example, extremely concerned about education in the last few
sessions of the Legislature. I think that is entirely appropriate. There are
also major concerns about transportation and about the delivery of health
services, but I keep returning in my mind to a basic question: "What can you
do in this state without water?"
The Water Resources Act of 1972 does say the state should pay a
substantial portion of the funding for regulatory and planning activities
intended to guarantee future levels of economic development, of population, and
of agricultural activity. But I think the state falls short of providing the
water management districts with enough funding to accomplish it. I recognize
that there is not enough money for everything that everyone wants to do, but I
would indicate to you that if water is as important to the future of Florida as
many people seem to think it is, it occurs to me that the state should spend
more than 1/20th of 1 percent of the annual state budget on solving water
Compared to the less than five million dollars that the state will
provide, local taxpayers in the state will probably spend in the neighborhood
of 35 million dollars in taxes for water management this coming year. There is
a great deal of discussion about relief for the local taxpayer. If we are
going to give some kind of relief to the local property taxpayer who is
presently carrying the major burden for water programs in this state, where
will the monies to pick up the slack come from if not from the state? I do not
want to leave the impression that I feel the Legislature has not dealt in a
forthright manner with water management problems. These are not new problems
and the legislators have gone over them in great depth. I think the purpose of
this panel is to provide different funding viewpoints so that people can have a
broader point of view. The final response may be that the cost of water
management in Florida must be provided by the local property taxpayer. If that
is the case, I think it is necessary to delete the language of the law which
requires "substantial funding" by the state.
For those of you who are not familiar with the Water Resources
Development Account, let me say a few words. Years ago, prior to Chapter 373
or the Water Resources Act, this fund was created to carry out the state's role
in a three-party relationship between the federal government, the state,
and the local sponsors of flood control projects. In this tripartite
arrangement, the federal government, through the Corps of Engineers, would be
responsible for the design and construction of projects. The state would
provide funding to match the federal dollars for construction and for public
relocations, and the locals (the flood control districts in this case) would
provide tax dollars to operate and maintain the projects in conformance with
the requirements of the Corps of Engineers. At this point, in our project
alone, the federal dollars in the project are somewhere in the neighborhood of
$300,000,000; the state dollars close to $100,000,000; and local dollars in
excess of $100,000,000. This three-party arrangement has worked extremely
well. We in the water management districts feel that it is appropriate to
continue that relationship. The federal government has not shown an
inclination not to continue it. They have talked about some new formulas for
new projects, but the projects within Florida are old ones, vis-a-vis the new
congressionally authorized projects. These projects were all congressionally
authorized in the late '40's, '50's, and early '60's.
It will be necessary for the state to play its proper role in this
process, or the burden for the projects will have to go to the local taxpayers.
It is a difficult dilemma, and it is not my intent to try to point the finger
at the Legislature or anywhere else. But I do want to point out that there are
two opportunities for funding water resource projects. There is the existing
partnership of federal, state, and local, or the entire program can be shifted
and carried by local taxpayers. I am not aware of a third funding mechanism
that might appear on the horizon. There has been discussion about a "user fee"
for water supply, but that will not apply to flood protection. We might work
out some kind of new formula for water supply, but how are we going to fund
flood protection? The optimum structure for water management district funding,
from the point of view of construction projects, is to continue with the
existing federal-state-local relationship which has worked so well for over 30
There has not yet surfaced criteria to determine what the words
"substantial funding" mean in regard to the regulatory and planning
responsibilities given to the water management districts in 1972. But many
people understand and appreciate the fact that several of the water management
districts developed planning and regulatory programs well in advance of any
kind of formula being worked out because it was felt, in water management
circles, and obviously in the Legislature, that there was a job that needed to
be done and that we needed to get on with it. We are at a point now where the
water management districts are "funding substantially" the regulatory and
planning programs from local taxes. It may be that is how they should do it,
but it also may be that we can come up with a predictable mechanism whereby the
state could provide some additional funding to carry on these programs.
Personally, I feel, from the point of view of the local taxpayer, that so long
as the language remains in the statutes about substantial funding being
provided by the state, it is incumbent on the water management district people
who represent those local interests to try to get state dollars so that those
dollars will not have to be levied in local property taxes. However, once this
language is clarified in the statutes, either to provide a clear formula or to
say once and for all that this program should be funded totally by local
dollars, then I think it is a water management district's responsibility to
get on with the job. There is some sound logic that the beneficiaries of these
programs are the people paying the taxes. But, by the same token, those people
who benefit from these taxes are also the people contributing the major share
of the state's revenue for the state's programs.
In regard to the final question, "Is the current state budget process
for funding water management districts working?", let me say that the water
management districts' work, and the work on water resources, is going forward.
From the point of view of some of us in water management districts and from the
perspective of the local taxpayer, the budget process is not working as well as
it would if the state were to pay a larger share of the burden.
I have gone back and looked at the funding history of water management
since 1949, looking to see if there are any particular things that might have
influenced it, like during the year that Herb Morgan was elected, and when W.D.
Childers came to Tallahassee, and some of these were significant. I have a
chart that I would like to use. What I wanted you to see is that in 1949, when
2Sz0Q00 -WATER MANAGEMENT DISTRICTS
STATE FUNDING I
SOUP CE: MR. BLAIN __
oi u. GREEN SWAMP
epomofoo- -------------- ------- --f-----
$mpoopoa- ----- --^o\ /r-r-----
IJO 195 1 "0 5 w190 1975 9 o0
the Central and Southern Florida Flood Control District was created, the
Legislature appropriated $1,250,000. The second half of that biennium it went
up to $3,250,000; the next year down to $1,625,000; then back up to $3,000,000;
and then it rocked along at the $3,000,000 level. Then the Southwest Florida
Water Management District was created, and immediately we take a dip. After
the Legislature understood what had happened, the figure started to climb and
got up as high as $13,000,000 in 1965. It stayed at a fairly good level until
the Department of Natural Resources was created. We were put under their
umbrella, and funding dropped again. About that time, Terrell Sessums came
along as Speaker of the House, and we were appropriated $35,000,000 for water
management. One of the big reasons for such a large amount was special funding
to acquire the Green Swamp. We had a fellow named Harmon Shields who was
then head of DNR, and when the money crunch came and he was told to cut
back 5 percent of DNR's budget, he took out the money for the Green Swamp.
But, we rocked along anyway. Here is where the other water
management districts became active and functional in 1974. But the next year
we were reorganized, and the Department of Environmental Regulation was
created. We were put under their umbrella, and funding immediately plunged.
We had a little problem then with the Constitution because the other water
management districts did not have the authority to levy ad valorem taxes.
The spending level in 1980 is just about what it was in 1949. In the
meantime, the state's total expenditure for operations went from $173,000,000 I
to $3,000,883,000. The total disbursement from the state increased
tremendously while water management funding has come down. This means we have
done a poor job of explaining the program to the Legislature, to Mr. Tait, to
the Governor, and to others.
The funding mechanism with the three parties the federal government,
local people through ad valorem taxes, and the state through WRDA is a very
unique, healthy thing. In our District, we spent about one third from local
funds, about a third from state funds, and about a third from federal funds.
This is a pretty good balance.
If you ask what is wrong with the law, I would say the law is pretty
good. I think one thing that complicates it is that the Water Resources
Development Account money has been put into DER's operating budget where it is
counted along with the number of positions they have. These are really fixed
capital outlay matters. This money should be transferred out. It should be
appropriated as part three of your water management district budgets rather I
than as part of the general operating fund. This way, you would have some
extra funds you could use to boost the land acquisition program. The years
that you do not have it, you can shrink it, but it will be on fixed capital
outlay rather than inflating DER's budget. That could be amended in the
Constitution very easily. I do not know why that money is in DER's budget. I
think it was kind of a decision to help generate some kind of growth when DER
came into existence. It could still be administered by them, or it could be
administered by the Department of Administration, or just about any way you
want to do it. But we need to continue funding fixed capital outlay projects.
Land acquisition by the water management districts has certainly been
more effective than it has in the Environmentally Endangered Lands Program.
You heard mentioned earlier the St. Johns' suit; it concerns us over at
Southwest Water Management District because the Green Swamp area might be in
that same situation. We have acquired 133 square miles for an average cost of
$95 an acre. One large tract was acquired at that cost. But acquisition has
come to a halt. There has been no strong recommendation for any money for
further land acquisition. I think we are going to have to camp on the
Governor's doorstep to get a more positive recommendation from him for next
In addition, we probably need to go in and actually repeal Section I of
373.503 which contains the ambiguous language that says "substantially fund".
You could strike that entire subsection, and it would not do any violence to
the laws. There is nothing there that you need. As long as it stays in the
law, it is a good point for people to debate. The debate originated in
Tallahassee as to what is "substantial funding". I can see that a good
taxpayer suit might come out of it saying: "Well, it is not being
substantially funded, and therefore you should not spend any money." I think
there should be some money, but it should not be through fixed capital outlay.
Neither should it be through WRDA funds; it should be in the form of grants to
water management districts to assist them in some of their operations: some
support, some seed money, some start-up money, on new programs. The newer
districts have needed this more than the older districts. In addition, DER
could contract with the water management districts to perform certain
functions that might be performed more efficiently on a local level. That
would be another way of funding part of the water management districts'
operations. But do not just delegate the responsibility; go ahead and
contract to fund some of these things. It is not a new thing. It is being
done now on a very limited basis on aquatic weeds and on Lake Jackson.
At one time, it was popular to talk about using user fees to fund all
of this; that is not a practical way to approach it. It is fine to attach a
fee so the person who is getting the permit can pay for the cost of processing
the permit. But then you find that most of the cost has been caused by the
need for additional data, and by the need to protect others. When you say to
some little farmer, "You are going to have to pay a $400, $500, or $1,000
fee," it really gets to be impractical. But there is language in the law that
says you must charge a fee to pay for all of the work. That also needs to be
And, there is the constitutional amendment that granted that taxing
does have a limitation for northwest Florida. I think it is probably
inappropriate to talk about the merits or demerits of that as far as the St.
Johns' law suit is concerned, but when Northwest Florida has a need to support
water management activities through ad valorem taxation, that constitutional
amendment could be passed very easily. It is in the law in such a way that it
could be struck very simply, and it would be something that I believe would be
supported by the remainder of the state.
We kicked around formulas for funding for quite some time, trying to
come up with some means of formularizingg" the activities of water management
districts. We have never come up with any formula that seems to apply to the
needs that you have. It is important that everyone recognize that since the
1885 Constitution was passed, there have been only two times that the people
of this state have voted additional taxes. One was when they voted for Reuben
Askew's corporate profits tax, approved during the general election, November
2, 1971. The other was for the establishment of water management district
taxing power in 1976. Prior to 1976, Southwest Florida Water Management
District had the authority to levy up to 1.3 mills and South Florida up to 1
mill, but in the 68th constitutional amendment these were either curtailed or
grandfathered in, so that other areas could not be granted the same authority.
The people, through the constitutional amendment in 1976, then voted an
additional tax in the northern portions of the state, in Sarasota and Manatee
counties, and in other areas. When people start suggesting that ad valorem
taxes are not generally popular, or that the voters are going to abolish
taxing for water management districts, they really have not stopped to
consider that just three years ago the voters indicated they approved of this
system. This was not an increase in the system; this was to continue what
already existed in two sections, and to allow it to occur in the remainder of
Item three of the panel charge asks, "Is the current state budget
process for funding water management districts working, why or why not, and if
not, how can it be improved?" We have had two Task Forces discussing this
question in the last three years. We also have three separate systems for
arriving at a funding figure: the Governor's, that of the House, and that of
the Senate. And then we have eleventh-hour adjustments made to those systems
in which an agreement is worked out, generally with Buddy Blain, Jack Maloy
and the other water management district people saying what they will agree to.
The one additional note I think I should make on this process, especially with
Herb Morgan present, is that this particular portion of the appropriations
bill is signed by the Governor. There is another aspect of the process, the
veto. But it did not occur in this case. I think, in part, Buddy Blain's
chart is interesting in that it shows that we do have a problem determining
exactly what is appropriate state funding, and what are the areas the state
ought to be concentrating on in the water management districts and in water
I go back now to those two Task Forces. They did reach some basic
conclusions, and those conclusions indicate that the cooperation between the
federal, state, and local governments for funding the construction of certain
kinds of structures in public works projects needs to be reevaluated in light
of the 1972 legislation, and in light of the new mission and the concern about
water management. I do not think we are as concerned now about flooding as
much as we are about the availability, and continued availability, of water.
In state funding we should look at needs and at what we are mandating water
management districts to do. That involves a lot of planning and a lot of
regulation and administration. We should be concentrating on that area; both
of those Task Forces emphasized that.
There is a predominant and major state responsibility to evaluate the
state's participation in the federal and local systems of funding for public
works and construction projects. We ought to encourage the federal government
to reevaluate their system of funding because it does tend to be biased,
perhaps more than necessary, toward the structural approach to flood control
and water management rather than toward a broader, nonstructural approach,
including land acquisition. Perhaps the state's philosophy and theory in its
participation with the other two levels of government should be toward
developing a more rational system of project funding that may be of special
concern to districts, or to some areas of the state. The state would rather
have the opportunity to make a decision between a structural solution like
South Florida has been wanting, or of acquiring more land and maybe not
building quite as big a system of dikes or canals. I think the state does
have an interest in the reevaluation of that federal and local process. There
are some unique benefits that go to local areas that we ought to try to let
local ad valorem taxes pay for because the benefits realized are local.
When you come to the bottom line, I would prefer having a single budget
system rather than a lot of independent ones. I would like to have a budget in
which all of us could participate together in reaching a solution and one into
which the state is carefully fitted.
I told the panel moderator that I had better be last. The reason for
that is I used to be a freshman representative, and I took abuse like being
first on panels. But I learned very quickly that you do not have to do that,
that it is very wise not to do that, and that the preferred position on any
panel is to be last. Do not let them fool you with this honorable crap about
I met Buddy Blain for the first time a few years ago, and I now see that
he is changing from lawyer to planner, and you all can see what is happening to
him. I think you ought to stick to law, Buddy.
I would like to start off by saying that I brought my own chart. It is
not as pretty as Buddy Blain's, but it does say that when I came in as the
subcommittee chairman for General Government, which was handling your budget,
your funding began to decline at a decreasing rate. A careful analysis of the
last four years will indicate that the highest funding position each time has
been that of the House. I have played a small part in that. All of this leads
up to my telling you that basically I am a "whitehat," a good guy, despite what
you may have heard.
Let me respond to several things. One is that I was really intrigued by
the earlier analysis of the water management districts' funding requests that
the Legislature decided to fund. It is the same analysis that is done by every
agency. Each year the total amount appropriated is substantially less than
requested by all of the agencies. There is no such thing as a bad project or
program: everybody has a good cause and a needy program. But somebody has to
make the hard decision. The problem with water management funding involves
several characteristics. One is that water is a resource that is not uniformly
available. It has a lot of demand from a variety of sources that are quite
often competing interests. We have devised a water management system similar
to the local school system in that it is dependent on local funding with a
really substantial amount of local control vested in the Governing Boards, but
which also has federal and state funds involved. The funding question is
similar to that of the school system. There is the natural tendency to say,
"We would like for you to receive the money, but we would like to decide how
you spend it." When the Legislature gives the additional money, the
Legislature has a tendency to dictate how it is to be spent.
We have a unique situation that ought to be continued. There is a very
good reason for the local water management districts operating through local
boards the way that they do. I do not really disagree a great deal with Jack
Maloy's saying that the Legislature ought to provide more funding. The
question is, "What amount can we provide from year to year, and where do we put
it?" Buddy Blain mentioned the huge appropriation in 1974. If I drew a
chart for state funding in 1974, you would see it was large in every category.
This was because there was a whole bunch of money and the Legislature was
looking for places to put it. They even picked up the entire cost of
retirement for state employees. You might have another year like that one of
these days. Maybe, but I doubt it. I think that year is clearly atypical.
You can be assured that it will not go that high in the future.
I really do not like funding formulas. I think that we have pretty
well learned by now, after trying for some time, that there is no formula that
works. I think that what is going to work is what has generally worked before
(whether it has resulted in the amount that you feel you need or not). You
will probably be better off trying to put together the best package, based on
the needs of the state and of your local area, that you can. Figure out what
funding you can acquire locally, and then what you need from the state. Then
let the state decide, through the legislative process, how much of that to
The question is, "For what purposes and in what amount should the state
appropriate to the five water management districts?" There is no way for me
to answer that. It is how much the pressures and the times dictate. I think
there is a growing interest in water problems and resources in our state. As
a result, it may be that you will be in for some better funding. But I will
suggest to you that, if you are, you probably are also going to be in for more
scrutiny. A great deal more justification about your operations, and
everything that you do, will be necessary. I am not suggesting that you
cannot respond to that. I have visited the two big water management districts
in south Florida. I have not visited St. Johns, but I will try to do that one
of these days, I promise. I have, of course, visited Northwest Florida; I I
live in it. I had trouble getting a well permit once. Not really. I am
familiar with Suwannee River because that is a small part of my district. I
think a great deal of what has been done in the districts has been very
responsible. In fact, most of it has. I was impressed during my visit to
South Florida and to Southwest Florida with what they have done. If you look
at it in the context of what their goal and role were when they started, they
have pretty well carried them out. We are in the process of changing the
goals and roles in some instances for those districts, and for the new
districts that have been created.
What I have said is some of my response to the funding problem. We do
not know what we want to do for certain; we do not know what the problem is
for certain; and we are unwilling to bite some bullets in some areas.
Politically, they are difficult to bite.
We know that we have serious water shortage problems in parts of the
state, and we have an abundance of water in other parts. It is pretty hard to 1
get those people who think they have an abundance to believe that there is a
problem, while at the same time the people who do not have much water know it
is a problem. That is why I think the state ought to fund those programs that
are of statewide benefit. We also need to continue to count on that tax base
of local property revenues as being a key element in the funding process
because a large part of what is done will be of local benefit. 1
I do not find 373 that terrible. What happens is that people begin to
interpret things like "substantial funding." I do not like those kinds of
words because I do not know what "substantial funding" is. I can assure you
that the Legislature generally feels that "substantial funding" is whatever we
give you. And the reason for that is we go through that process with
everybody fighting for what they need, and there are lots of needs. The other
thing is that you in the water management districts are not involved in the
total water program of the state. There are programs that impact upon, and
relate to, water use and management in the state that are funded separately
from your budgets that should also be considered.
I will say this about, "Is the current state budget process for funding
water management districts working, why or why not, and if not, how can it be
improved?" The 13 funding steps outlined in the panel charge are the same
steps that everybody else goes through. If we can find a way to improve it
for all of state government budgeting, we will improve it for you. One of the
mechanisms that I think we have embarked upon is a two-year process of
biennial budgets that would allow you to plan better, and to look further
ahead, in budgeting and appropriations. Beyond that, I will be happy to
answer questions and remind you again that your funding has been decreasing at
a decreasing rate.
I was wondering if the local governments are going to be asked to solve
the state's problems and if the Northwest District is participating in the
state's planning and implementation concerning the transmission of water to
other parts of the state. All the fixed assets in the production and
transport of that water will be through areas which will not themselves
benefit but which will be assessed higher property values and will provide
higher revenue sources for the water management districts which, in essence,
do benefit from the sale and transfer of water to another area. How is the
state going to compensate for that, and is the state going to offer other
benefits to excess water areas in order to compensate for the increased
property values and for the potential growth that cannot be realized because
the water will not be there since it will be going somewhere else?
I think there is a bit of a misconception about what we are funding. When
we talk about water management or public works projects that we are funding,
or about participating in funding in general since 1949, we are talking about
major drainage canals, major conservation areas, diking around Lake
Okeechobee, the Four Rivers kind of activities, or the Hillsborough Bypass
Canal. We are not talking about water supply or well fields because those are
financed basically through user charges. What we fund are of a much broader
public benefit. There are some unique benefits to the lands and I think that
is why initial local, and continuing local, funding has always been there.
S That is the button we push when we try to back Jack Maloy and Buddy Blain off
from some of their programs and make them acquire some of their money from
local ad valorem sources.
People from south Florida are not looking to north Florida for their
water supply. If you doubt that, let me tell you for certain that the South
Florida Water Management District has no plans for water from anywhere outside
its own boundaries through the year 2020.
I went to California several years ago to look at the California water
system and found that they had some rather large pipes and ditches for moving
water great distances. They moved it from an area where there was a lot of
rainfall to an area where they had from 7 to 12 inches of rainfall a year. All
of Florida gets as much rain as that wet part of northern California. I do not
believe there will ever be water transported from north Florida down to south
Florida. The problem is that of localized withdrawals where people are
concentrated in a small area; some people have been adversely affected. But
this problem is being taken care of. The real heart of our problem has always
been too much water.
Let me tell you what I told Don Morgan a long time ago when he was
getting started at Suwannee: if he needed to use us as a whipping board to get
people behind him and get his District off the ground, that was fine. But he
knew there would never be any water from the Suwannee River that would be moved
south. He is an expert and he missed a golden opportunity because he used to
be with South Florida and knows how to straighten out those winding rivers.
Had he straightened out the Suwannee, it would have reached down to Tampa.
I cannot sit here and have any of these people think for one minute that
Herb Morgan's statements were self-serving. He has been the strongest
supporter for the funding of water management we have had in the Legislature.
And so long as the sheriff was there to keep reminding him, the decline was not
as rapid. i
He is speaking of former representative and former sheriff from
Hillsborough County, Ed Blackburn. The problem was, I had some money set aside I
for you all this session and Blackburn was the interim director of the Florida
Department of Law Enforcement. I gave it to him.
Thank you all very much for coming.
WATER MANAGEMENT IN FLORIDA
IS IT WORKING?
HON. TOM COLDEWEY, Vice Chairman, Northwest Florida Water Management
District Governing Board, Port St. Joe, Florida
MR. DERRILL McATEER, Chairman, Southwest Florida Water Management
District Governing Board, Brooksville, Florida
MR. DON MORGAN, Executive Director, Suwannee River Water Management
District, White Springs, Florida
MR. ROBERT (BOB) RHODES, Attorney, Tallahassee, Florida
HON. JAMES HAROLD THOMPSON, House Natural Resources Committee, Florida
House of Representatives, Quincy, Florida
MR. JAKE VARN, Secretary, Department of Environmental Regulation,
MR. GERALD WARD, Florida Engineering Society, West Palm Beach, Florida
The Water Resources Act of 1972 (Chapter 373, Florida Statutes) has been
affectionately referred to from time to time as the "sacred cow." This
far-sighted and sweeping legislation, developed largely from the "Model Water
Code," has produced Florida's unique structure to deal with the state's water
resource management issues. Seven years after its enactment, there are some
in the state who feel that the statute should be "opened up" and some points
revisited. There are those, on the other hand, who fear that an attempt to
"open up" the law could result in substantial deterioration of this apparently
bold and effective system.
Has Chapter 373, Florida Statutes, provided an effective way to
manage Florida's valuable water resources?
Are there identifiable problems with the taw? If so, what are the
Water planning, works of the District, consumptive use, regulation of
wells, management of surface waters, artificial recharge, and identification
of low flows are some of the programs of Florida's water management districts.
However, no district has all the programs which are enabled by Chapter 373,
Florida Statutes, and none of the five districts has the same ongoing programs.
I -- -
Should the programs of Florida's water management districts be
implemented because the statute enables them, or should they be
the result of identified management needs? How should these
needs be determined?
In recent months there has been some criticism leveled at the water
management districts on a number of issues which include: the constitution-
ality of ad valorem taxation; local political subdivisions that have no
official role or representation on policy or program decisions; local funds
that may from time to time be spent on state-mandated programs; and the fact
that all who pay for water management do not always receive the benefits. The
nature and extent of these issues seem to say that there is no problem with
the actual water management function of the districts, but that some persons
perceive a structural problem in their concept and organization.
Is there sufficient cause to warrant a reexamination of the
organization and structure of the water management districts?
Can the existing structure, funding provisions, and authority of
the water management districts really be improved?
When you talk about water management in Florida, you really have to take
into account more than Chapter 373. Those of you familiar with the statutes
know that you deal with Chapter 380 when you go through the Development of
Regional Impact process, Chapter 403 in the local pollution control program,
and Chapter 298 relative to the drainage districts. So when you talk about
water management only in terms of Chapter 373, I think you have missed the
real issue because you have to look at the broader scope of water management
activity. When you talk about water management, you cannot deal with it in
isolation. The use of water impacts the land use; you cannot separate the
I think the question you are really asking is: "Are the water management
districts, performing functions under Chapter 373, doing a good job?" I think
the answer to that is unquestionably, "Yes, they are." I think the water
management districts have a good track record, especially if you compare them
with other types of regional agencies. When we talk about managing our water
resources, however, I think the question gets more complicated, and you have
to consider the part of the state with which you are dealing. You have to
realize that what is necessarily so in south Florida is not necessarily so in
the Northwest Florida District. Without question, Chapter 373 is a good,
useful tool to manage and give protection to the water resources of this
state. But in spite of the good job the districts are doing, there are those
among you who are avoiding the issues, and there are other people involved in
water resource management who could be "screwing up the world" on you. I
think the real challenge will be to bring together our whole water management
effort so that the good efforts will not be "screwed up" by those who are
doing the not-so-good jobs.
One of the issues that has to be raised under Chapter 373, and there will
be those who differ, but it is not uncommon to differ with me, is the whole
issue of water supply. South Florida Water Management District's water supply
system is an integral part of that district, but water supply is not an
integral function for the other four districts. If you will accept the fact
that 70 percent of the population of this state resides in the coastal areas
that do not have much water, I think it is safe to say that one of the pressing
problems we will have is what the people who live in the coastal areas are
going to do for water. They will continue to live in the coastal areas, as
will the future citizens of the state who are coming. We can go on shuffling
our feet and hope the problem is going to go away, but it will not. We really
have to face up to providing a potable water supply and to developing a
statutory mechanism for doing it. It is unclear under the present criteria and
language of Chapter 373.
On Question two, "Should the programs of Florida water management
districts be implemented because the statute enables them, or should they be
the result of an identified management need?", I would say that 373 gives you
a number of vehicles to manage resources and that the water management
districts have selectively utilized them, as necessary, in their respective
areas. My answer is that the programs should be the result of an identified
management need; what works in south Florida may not work in north Florida. The
vehicle that makes this possible is the Governing Boards. They are the people
who can identify the problems within their respective areas. They are
appointed by the Governor with that responsibility, and we should leave that
responsibility with them. Let them implement programs as necessary in their
respective areas. If they are not doing the job, then we ought to put people
there who will. The decision that determines who is on the Governing Boards is
made by the Governor, and, if that is the wrong place for the decision to be
made, the legislative process is there to change the law so somebody else can
appoint Governing Board members.
On Question three, "Are there sufficient grounds to warrant a
reexamination of the organization and structure of the water management
districts?", my answer is that organizations do not solve problems; people do.
Reorganization does not solve problems. Reorganization is a classic
bureaucratic solution. The key to solving problems is getting good people in
the organization; good people can overcome the worst of organizational
structures. The best organization in the world will not solve a thing if you
have bad employees in the system. Nine times out of ten, the real problem is an
inability to communicate the various points of view and to bring reasonable
people to the table to talk about solutions. That was a problem when I came to
the Department of Environmental Regulation; we were not communicating with the
water management districts and the water management districts were not
communicating with the Department. I think we are now. In the vast majority
of cases, we now can find common ground on which we can both achieve what we
want to do. The organization's structure has not changed; the people have.
The second part of the question asks, "Can the existing structure, funding
provisions, and authority of the water management districts really be
improved?". Anybody who says they cannot is crazy, because I think anything
can be improved. I think we have a good system, but that does not mean we
cannot improve upon it. There are improvements that can be made. Given time,
we will do that.
My educational background is landscape architecture, and I think generally
in pictures rather than in words like lawyers do. In regard to the main
question, "Water Management in Florida: Is It Working?", visualize, if you
will, two really big Clydesdale horses, each pulling a big wagon that is
harnessed loosely to a relatively fragile chariot with Jake Varn standing in
it. Also tethered to that chariot are three young colts of different sizes,
all running off in different directions and from time to time jerking the
chariot around a little bit. But, essentially, that whole contraption is
moving down the road. Is water management in Florida working? Yes, that is
the way it is working.
I think Chapter 373 is the most comprehensive piece of legislation that I
have ever seen. It provides for a regional agency to cover a reasonably
manageable area for surface water resources. It provides for a local,
appointed Governing Board. It locates the planning responsibilities and, most
important of all, the implementation responsibilities within the same
organization. The ability to put planning and implementation responsibility
together is the key to success or failure of a regional agency.
Are there problems? Certainly, there are problems. Those of us who work
daily with Chapter 373 would like to grind some of the burrs off, but they are
relatively simple administrative problems. We are not talking about reshaping
the tool we have been given, simply honing it a bit.
"Should the programs for the water management districts be implemented
because the statute enables them or because there is a problem?" I think our
board and the other Governing Boards look at legislation, at law, at government
in general, as kind of a nuisance. I do. I hate to go get a permit for
anything. I think the Governing Boards are implementing only those programs
where there is an identifiable problem. To run government any other way is
"Are there sufficient grounds to warrant the reexamination of the
organization and structure of the water management districts?" Generally, the
problem that is mentioned to justify a reexamination is that of an appointed
Governing Board that is levying ad valorem tax. I have been in government,
working for boards and/or commissions, for longer than I care to remember, some
15, 16, or 17 years. There is now no question in my mind that an appointed
board is much more conservative than an elected board. There is not a feeling
on an appointed board that they have to do something, that they have a mandate
from the people to provide or perform, or to do something, just to be doing it.
An absolute disaster would be to elect water management district board members
and turn them loose with a constitutional provision that says, "For water
management purposes." Lord knows what they would do.
"Can the existing structure, funding provisions, and authority of the
water management districts really be improved?" We do not need any legislative
changes other than those little "grinding off" things I talked about earlier,
and they are only important to those of us directing the business. What we
need now, with the comprehensive tool that Chapter 373 provides, is some very
strong executive leadership about where this state is to go. One of our
biggest problems that has been mentioned, in passing, for the last three or
four years, is nonstructural flood control. The term sounds terrific. It came
out of the state water plan, and it flounders around regularly. As you read
the statutes, you will find that water management district boards have the
responsibility to provide flood protection. The "front-end" money for flood
protection has been for construction, such as the Corps of Engineers' dams,
levies, and dikes. There are a lot of people saying that there is now a policy
of nonstructural flood control. That would be nice, except that the people who
are saying this are not the policymakers. The people claiming it is a policy
have been using it to stop some unpopular construction projects. We, in the
Suwannee River, have a unique opportunity to provide a nonstructural flood
control alternative, but there is no state or federal program, no "front-end"
money, no incentive at all to do it. If that is a policy, let the Governor say
it. Let us have the Governor and the districts support legislative funding to
make it possible. I think we need leadership, not legislation.
Chapter 373 of the Florida Statutes is probably one of the most logical
chapters of Florida law that has been enacted. From an engineering standpoint
it is comprehensive, but still very flexible in implementation. There is no
doubt that when the water management districts were created, the Legislature
identified where programs were needed or where they were not necessarily
needed. We have a system in which regionalization is recognized. Statewide
regulation just will not work. The hydrology, the hydraulics, the
environmental differences readily mandate the regional approach to water
management. There is no doubt that 373 needs to be implemented by the
Governing Boards on a needs basis.
In relation to the last question, "Can the existing structure, funding and
authorities really be improved?", there is no doubt there is some fine tuning
that can be accomplished. In general, the structure is ideal; the state gets
the best management bargain from its boards I have ever seen. At their pay
scale, you cannot find a better bargain. Funding is an area for fine tuning.
In all, it is one of the most comprehensive, but flexible, statutes the
Legislature has put together.
Mr. Rhodes, do you think that the Department of Economic Rules (DER) and
the water management districts are doing the job?
I think Jake Varn's "Department of Social Engineering" (DER) is doing its
part. One of the barometers we have to help answer that question is to look at
what happens in the Legislature every year. The Legislature is notorious for
not oiling joints that are not squeaking; Chapter 373 really has not been
controversial. I compare it with a very controversial piece of legislation
that I administered for the first two years of its life, Chapter 380. That
thing was under attack from every direction. In comparison, 373 has been
accepted. It has been well administered, and I think it is here to stay. But
whether or not it has been effective is very difficult for us to assess. What
are your criteria for effectiveness? We have not had another drought like we
had in 1971 and which was the great trigger for consumptive use and Chapter
We did not expect the consumptive use regulation to really test that
particular part of the act. I think consumptive use will certainly be a major
test if we ever get to that point. With respect to Part IV of surface water
management, and speaking as a lawyer who has participated in this regulatory
system, I think it has worked well. It has made a difference statewide. I
reviewed the South Florida District's data for that huge storm they had several
months ago. Contained in those figures is what damage would have happened if
water management had not been there. From a private businessman's perspective,
I say it has made a difference and that it is working.
Chapter 373's mandate to preserve and manage water resources is probably
the grossest delegation of authority to administrative agencies that we have
seen yet. For the most part, the districts have been very responsible in
exercising their authority. But the statute certainly provides a major
invitation to the districts to regulate individual action. I hope we will not
see that. The type of regulation 373 contemplates really lends itself, perhaps
more than any other piece of legislation, to standards, and possibly to the
experiments that are going on. The districts are the right agencies for
issuing general permits with performance standards and for allowing for some
self-enforcement and self-regulation, rather than having the districts
regulating every specific act that may affect the works or the waters of the
district. I wanted to express that concern and to encourage also more use of
The real big problem we have while representing clients in this whole
scheme is the overlap and the inconsistencies among the districts. The water
management districts are creeping, and sometimes jumping, into the water
quality business. I really hope that we will not see that happen. It is time
that the Legislature recognize that it has to place some trust in one agency to
do a particular job and we already have DER in water quality. The water
management districts are in water quantity and management, and we do not need
overlap. We have to believe that a particular agency will do a job and that
its decision will be responsible. If an agency requires some help from another
agency, then let us at least presume the resulting recommendation is valid so
that you do not have to "reinvent the wheel" at each agency level. That is a
serious concern to the people who have to deal with the districts.
Another problem that may or may not exist is something that I have never
really understood. Why should we try to create more independent water supply
authorities that are distinct from our regional water management districts? I
knew that would get your attention. I have not had a lot of personal
involvement on that particular point, but I saw it go through the Legislature;
I was representing the water management districts when it did. Why can we not
have the distribution function be a part and parcel of our regional water
management districts, and allow them to perform that function too? Since they
are planning and regulating, why not distributing too?
He just handed me a loaded gun to shoot myself with.
All of you are going to be interested in some recommendations the members
of the Governor's Resource Management Task Force are going to share with you
tomorrow. They are very concerned about the structure of the districts and
whether or not we should have a stronger regional entity. I am concerned that
we do not have strong enough administration of the Local Government
Comprehensive Planiing Act in the state right now. To jump over that local act,
which is not being administered effectively or fully, and to go to a regional
system scares me quite a bit; we ought to give a lot of thought to that. There
are possibilities of revamping the structure, but what would be a better
structure for water management districts?
This apparently is not going to be one of my better days. Tommy Clay
started out by telling I was not honorable. And then he told you about calling
me up and asking for advice and that now he is being sued three ways. That
advice apparently has not been very good.
Everyone thinks 373 is a good law. It has to be broad because the
legislators wrote 373 pretty much in the dark, and a good number of them will
tell you today that they do not totally understand 373. But it is a good law
because it gave us the latitude to do many things that had never been done in
Florida. It tried to determine what regulations we ought to write for water
supply, and for everyone else involved in the development of Florida. I do not
want to see 373 changed very much or very rapidly. Certainly there are
improvements that need to be made. But we need to proceed very slowly because
we are coming out of the gray areas into the light and the Legislature is coming
There are still some problems with funding. I will make one particular
remark about the task force that Jim Tait alluded to earlier. We sat in that
task force day in and day out, and we made agreements. We left and that was the
last we ever saw of it; the Governor's recommendation to the Legislature was not
even similar to what we agreed on in that task force. I take exception to that.
We made a deal that we would finish the Four River Basin project and the South
Florida project without asking for new construction or starting new projects and
that we would go to nonstructural floodplain zoning and management. But nobody
kept their word. We need to finish the projects that we started in the early
days of our districts, and we need to do those projects as we originally agreed.
We also need to keep our word not to ask for new structural projects to be
funded by the Legislature unless the Legislature itself wants those projects
done. We take real exception to that treatment, and we think that is going to
have to be straightened out in the next session.
I am not sure we should be in the water quality business. DER has air
quality, and I would like for them to keep water quality. Our district does not
want to expand itself in this direction. We need to concentrate on supplying
the people of Florida with water, and we do need to supply them. We need also
to keep the growth confined to the coastal areas. We do not want to do to
Florida what California has done to itself by allowing that horrible urban
sprawl. We must find a way to get water, without depriving anyone, and take it
to the people on the coastlines. I do not want subdivisions spread all over
Florida. I pay an awful lot of taxes. My company pays an awful lot of taxes,
probably the second largest dollar volume in this state. But we are not
interested in building subdivisions or in having subdivisions pressing on us.
We are not interested in seeing power lines, roads, and sewer lines all over
this state like you see in California. It is a personal thing with me.
Flood control and water supply should somehow be under the same authority.
Whether we should do away with the water supply authorities is something I hate
to mention because it is such a problem in our district. The political
animosities that have built up are disgraceful. But I do believe those projects
that are underway in our district and in South Florida have used flood control
in conjunction with water supply. We did not recognize the need for this until
about six or seven years ago. Some of us went to the Congress to ask for, and
we got, a change. The Corps cannot yet help us on water supply, but we are
continuing to work on that.
The Governing Board makeup, if the water supply authorities continue to
exist, must be changed. We have elected officials from one county serving on a
board that takes water from another county. That is an unfair situation because
that elected county commissioner takes care of his constituents and is not the
least bit worried about what happens in that other county. He is worried only
about what makes him a better county or city commissioner, or the best mayor, in
the home area. He should not be on a board controlling a natural resource in
someone else's political district. I am not going to seek election to this job.
Under no circumstances would I run for a water board seat. We who are appointed
members answer to the Governor; he is our boss; he is elected. If he does not
like what we do because the people do not like it, he can change it, and do not
think for one minute that you can get away with doing something the Governor
does not want you to do for very long. He has all the mechanisms to convince us
to do it his way. Anybody who does not believe that ought to try to do it some
JAMES HAROLD THOMPSON
I wish I could comment on everything that has been said about the
Legislature, but we do not have time. Most of it was true and some of it has
been too generous. Bob Rhodes said something about the Legislature being
notorious. He could have stopped right there, but he went on to say that we are
notorious for doing things we should not be doing. We pass a law, and then we
change it. Sometimes we wait a few months until the Governor calls a special
session. The Governor is now considering a special session that is supposed to
take up tax relief. The Tax Commission requested that we raise taxes, and then
I got a bunch of calls from people wanting some more money for salaries. If the
Governor does not back off his idea pretty soon, we might end up bankrupting the
state in this special session. That is the way we operate sometimes.
We do some things that are not too wise, and sometimes we do let ourselves
be pushed into things. Those are probably the biggest fears that we have.
Those are also the biggest arguments in favor of appointing water management
boards, which brings me to the first question. "How do I, as a legislator, feel
Chapter 373, and the basic structure and organization of our water management
districts, are doing?" As a member of the Natural Resources Committee for the
past four years and for one year as subcommittee chairman, I found that there
were very few real problems that could not be overcome. There are some problems
caused by a sort of vagueness in the law, such as what the relationship of DER
is to the water management boards. Some people say we ought to give DER
more authority; others say that we ought to set up more specific guidelines
for management. There are as many different ideas as there are people. I
remember when we passed 373, and it is true that a lot of us did not understand
how it would work. It was a new concept. But it was based on the idea that
it would not superimpose a new level or layer of government, and that was our
biggest concern. We asked, "Could DER, DNR, or some other existing
agency do the same job?" We recognized that Florida was different in various
parts of the state. And it looks like it has been working pretty good,
judging from the fact that we do not change it each session. That is a
miracle in itself.
The second question is, "Should the programs of the water management
districts be implemented because the statutes enable them or should they be the
results of identified management needs?" The question that I get out of that
is, "Just how far should the Legislature, as policymakers, go in saying what
the water management boards need to be doing?" For the Legislature to impose
ideas on this regional concept would be wrong at this point. I hope we are not
neglecting something that should be done and that there is not something on a
statewide basis that we as policymakers for the whole state should be looking
at. As chairman of that subcommittee, I am nervous. I am worried about
whether or not we are properly planning for, and managing, water. The reports
that we get say Florida is going to grow by leaps and bounds and nobody can
really predict how much, but we know that growth brings a need for water. That
makes us nervous. We are trying to review constantly what is going on so that
we can enact any measures that we think are necessary.
The third question is, "Are there sufficient grounds to warrant a
reexamination of the organizational structure?" The folks in the trenches seem
pretty well satisfied about the organizational structure, and about the way we
are trying to manage water quantity and quality in Florida. The Legislature is
going to be reluctant to get involved in any general reorganization. I agreed
with Jake Varn when he said that the organization does not mean that much. Our
water management districts are doing an excellent job.
What is this panel's opinion on a state water board and doing away with
Let me refer back to that picture of beasts and wagons I mentioned
earlier. I think there are some concerns that someone might try cutting those
construction wagons out of the process, leaving them along the road some place.
I think that would be a mistake. If you harness all five of those beasts
(WMDs) directly to that chariot that Jake Varn is trying to stand up in, I
submit two things will happen. Those two big horses will run the legs off the
three little ones before the latter have a chance to grow up, and if that does
not happen, the five horses for sure will run the wheels off the chariot.
When I am called upon from time to time to answer, "What are the problems
this state faces," I usually talk about two. One of them is energy and the
other is water. I have conducted six public hearings in such areas as
Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Miami, Bradenton, and here, all of a sudden, I
am invited to attend a water conference in the metropolitan area of Havana. The
people in attendance here today total more than all of the people who attended
my six public hearings. That is a sad state of affairs concerning the energy
problem. The people in the water business are to be commended for getting the
people out to deal with an issue that is as complex as it is, and where
solutions are required. Lord knows what we could do if we got this many people
interested in the energy problems. I commend you for having so many people
here, because unless you have the people on your side, you are not going to
solve anything. This exemplifies the fact that people working together will
solve problems, and that is why we are not doing anything with energy.
I was wondering where Florida is heading in air quality, and if there is
any possibility of using water quality or water supply to affect air quality?
Where are we headed in air quality? In a circle. I do not know that we
are going anywhere.
California completely forgot about air quality and ended up having to use
all their water quality regulations to implement the air quality act.
Anything California does, I would prefer to do another way. I do not
really understand the relationship between water quality and air quality other
than the fact that water draws the people there. If there is no water, there
are no people, and usually that means there is not going to be any air
pollution. What we are trying to do in Florida now is keep the dirty air where
the people are. We are trying to put that in our Public Service Commission
regulations. Air regulations are so complex that I defy anybody to figure out
where we are going. Regulations are changing so fast we do not know what they
mean, and neither does the EPA. There are problems in south Florida where we
are trying to keep the clean air for the people, and they are telling us we
have got to give the clean air to the alligators and the dirty air to the
people. That is a hell of a state of affairs, especially when you have elderly
people with all types of respiratory problems. Somewhere along the line, we
have to get our priorities squared away.
It seems to me that water quality and water quantity are not as closely
related as has been claimed here. Water quality, as related to pollution, is
mostly a localized problem, while quantity is a regional or statewide issue.
We are not really that different in what we believe, Mr. Schreuder. I
think there will soon be a major push to delegate more authority to the
regional offices of DER in an effort to get those decisions closer to the
applicants. I expect that those regional offices are going to be beefed up. I
think the interesting question is whether or not the water management districts
actually want more authority in water quality matters. It is my personal
feeling that they do not; there may be one that does and four that do not. You
cannot force those districts to assume the responsibility.
it, they are not going to administer it.
If they do not want
I think DER is doing a good job on quality right now. It is a full-time
job. I do think that the regional offices are going to have to take a firmer
look at quality.
I am amazed that everybody, even the opponents and those who do
water management districts, pretty well praise their efficiency. But
to doing too many things, we will destroy our reputation. Do
everything on somebody because they have been efficient.
if we get
I think it is realistic to expect that if the water management districts
are given more authority, then the structure will definitely be reviewed and the
whole ad valorem tax base reconsidered, because the elected-versus-appointed
issue will have to come to the front if more authority is put in the districts.
Those who demand that we be elected to the Governing
things too well in the newspapers over the last 10 years.
boards, especially in the rural areas, is a very misguided
Any other questions from the floor?
Boards have not read
The cry for elected
If not, thank you very much for being
TASK FORCE PERCEPTION
OF WATER MANAGEMENT IN FLORIDA
HON. DAVAGE (BUDDY) RUNNELS, Northwest Florida Water Management
District Governing Board, Destin, Florida
MR. JIM SHIMBERG, Chairman, Governor's Resource Management Task
Force, Tampa, Florida
MR. JOHN R. BUCKLEY, Governor's Resource Management Task
Force, Sarasota, Florida
MS. HELEN HOOD, Governor's Resource Management Task Force,
MR. JOHN ROBERT MIDDLEMAS, Governor's Resource Management Task
Force, Panama City, Florida
MR. PHIL SEARCY, Governor's Resource Management Task Force,
MS. NANCY STROUD, Staff Director, Governor's Resource Management
Task Force, Boca Raton, Florida
In 1972, Florida moved dramatically ahead of the nation in implementing
growth management laws and programs with a comprehensive package of resource
management acts that is unique in its scope and content. This is particularly
true in regard to the organization and operation of agencies entrusted with
the management of the state's water resources. The separation of water
quality and quantity administration and the creation of five semiautonomous
water management districts are arrangements found solely in Florida. Governor
Graham has given the Task Force the responsibility of examining the
effectiveness of the management programs since they were enacted in 1972.
How effectively have the Environmental Land and Water Management
Act, the Water Resources Act, and the Comprehensive Planning Act
been utilized? What has and has not been accomplished efficiently
and effectively under the current system of delegation of water
management and planning authority?
In presenting his charge to the Task Force, Governor Graham indicated
that a number of major issues will face the state in the 1980's. Florida's
population is growing at a rate five times faster than the national average,
and the proportion of the state's populace aged 65 or older is increasing more
rapidly than is the case in the country as a whole. Energy scarcity in the
next decade is an issue that Floridians will have to address in order to
prevent traumatic accommodations in traditional life-styles. And finally,
declining economic productivity, as a state and national problem, must be
treated aggressively by the people of Florida.
What options has the Task Force considered to improve the
administration of resource management activities so these
major issues witt be addressed during the 1980's?
Before we get started, I would like to make a request. Poor Derrill
McAteer was in the barrel all day yesterday and on into the night, so I am
asking that everybody refrain from putting Derrill in the barrel again today.
I did see Jake Varn smile earlier when Mr. McAteer choked on a doughnut he was
This Task Force produces the most paper work of any group I have ever
seen. They have started taking a little heat in different areas, which
indicates they are indeed doing a job.
Some overwhelming reactions have resulted from the Task Force's
activities. I saw Sonny Vergara present some of DER's positions to the Task
Force in Miami. Sonny was so impressed that he left DER and has joined the
St. Johns River Water Management District. Mr. Shimberg, your committee
clearly has had some sweeping effects in government. And let me remind
everyone to watch what you say at this meeting, especially if you are from the
private sector. I questioned this Task Force about the relationship between
the water management districts and DER, and I no sooner got back home than I
had a notice from DER to cease and desist on one of my projects. Please be
careful what you say.
I have the task of addressing the less controversial procedural
questions. The questions I was asked to address are, "How was the membership
of the Task Force determined, and what was the basis for the specific issues
that were distributed for individual committee action?" I was also asked to
talk about, "What work remains to be done by the Task Force, and what will
become of its recommendations?"
The membership of the Task Force was chosen by the Governor, who first
consulted with persons in the private and public sectors for suggestions. He
determined membership in January 1979. The objective was to get a
representative group of people from throughout the state. That seems to have
happened because we have people from development, environmental, agricultural,
professional planning, engineering, and law interests, all of whom have had
some experience in resource management.
After I was appointed to the staff of the Task Force, I consulted with
various people about what issues were important in the state. In the charge
given by the Governor to the Task Force, he asked them to look at four primary
resource management areas including Development of Regional Impact issues,
water management, preservation of agricultural lands, and coastal management.
Specific questions were developed by me, with assistance from others.
Eventually, the Task Force was divided into ten committees to address the
On the remaining tasks and recommendations, I am happy to say that the
work is almost completed. We have prepared reports on the four issues and
presented them to the Task Force. Final meetings will be held at the end of
November during which the Task Force will begin making recommendations. After
the recommendations are developed, a final report will be given to the
Governor for his review sometime in December. In early January, the report
will be prepared in published form for distribution throughout the state.
JOHN ROBERT MIDDLEMAS
Committee Seven's topic was "Integrating Planning and Policy for Water
Resources." I was asked to comment here on: "To what extent are state
planning efforts leading to a Florida water policy that can shape and guide
all water management activities?" Florida actually has no water policy on
which all the water management agencies can adhere and agree. The
Constitution has a very broad policy about the natural resources and water
quality of the state. As well as chapters 373 and 403, Florida Statutes, the
rules of DER generally state the purposes and aims of the state. All of these
are very broad and general and do not constitute a water policy. The
regulations of the DER, DNR, and the water management districts are generally
much more specific. They do not constitute a water policy but make up
specific rules which address narrow problems and provide narrow solutions.
There is a gap between those broad policies of the Constitution and
Legislature and those regulations set by the agencies responsible for
developing water quality and quantity management. I served on the Pollution
Control Board of the Environmental Regulation Commission and, at that time,
noticed that problem. We would often cite, as authority for things we wanted
to do, some broad and general challenges in the statutes, but we could not
refer to a specific water policy particularly addressing water quality. There
has been a gap between the broadness of the legislation and narrowness of the
agency regulation. There have been two efforts to bridge that gap.
One is the 208 Plan, which is actually mandated by the federal
government. Our 208 Plan, at this time, has not been adopted. As I
understand it, the 208 Plan will not have any authority but will function in
an advisory capacity. The other is the State Water Use Plan which DER was
directed to develop under the Water Resources Act of 1972. Phase I of that
plan has been presented. At this time, the State Water Use Plan is still
A second question I was asked was, "Do current planning efforts need to
be better integrated, and, if so, how can this be accomplished?" Committee
Seven has provided options for how this can be better accomplished.
Briefly stated, they are:
(1) Maintain the status quo in which we have planning by the
water management districts, a State Water Use Plan, and a
State Water Quality Plan. The plans would be advisory to the
(2) A state water policy by executive order of the Governor which would
give authority to the Governor's office and make it a more
centralized water policy than we presently have.
(3) Acknowledge the fact that we do not really have a state water
policy and use the regional water policies developed by the
water management districts. This option calls for abandoning
the attempt to have a state water policy and acknowledging
that developing one would be impractical.
(4) Develop a state water policy by rule. At the present time we
only have advisory planning done by DER and the water management
districts. The state water policy would be adopted by the DER
who would set aims, develop planning, and then develop the rule
to attain the policy.
(5) Have the water management districts adopt a water policy, by
rule, for their districts.
Committee Six looked at federal and state environmental regulatory
programs and whether or not the state should seek delegation from the
Environmental Protection Agency for the management of the various programs.
The federal programs connected with water resources were the waste management
program, underground injection controls, dredge and fill regulations, water
pollution permits, and National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES)
permits, and federal and state wastewater treatment construction grants. The
latter is not really a regulatory program but is one that EPA is constrained
by enabling legislation to delegate to the states. In all of the federal
pollution control laws, there is a clause for delegation to the states. The
intention is that EPA set up the programs and turn them over to the states as
soon as possible. There has been a lot of incentive funding available over
the years for states to assume delegation, but Florida has not assumed
delegation on any of the programs. We do have some permitting and some
crossovers, but we have not assumed delegation of these programs. We are now
confronted with a big federal push to turn these programs over to the state,
and the EPA will, over the next few years, be withdrawing their incentive
funding. If the states do not assume the delegation, the EPA will eventually
set the programs up for the states that do not accept the delegation. It
seems to the committee that we should begin to assume delegation of these
programs. The options are to assume delegation, or not to assume it. Not
assuming it has considerable penalty and, in the end, there is only one option
and that is to assume delegation. The committee consequently thought mostly
in terms of what kind of "phasing" we should recommend for assuming
The EPA will not delegate any of these programs to water management
districts. They can only delegate to agencies with state jurisdiction. They
can delegate to more than one agency but only to those with full state
jurisdiction. However, EPA said that it would accept delegation to DER, and
DER could contract with any subagencies it wished. DER would set up the
programs and operate them, possibly under contractual arrangements with
regional agencies. The general feeling of the committee was that delegating
to local agencies is impractical because it would be too fragmented for
dealing with water issues.
The state does need to seek the delegation because we will not have
effective programs if EPA sets them up and operates them. The committee
recommends that the state seek delegation on all the programs as soon as
practical. We did a little prioritizing and concluded DER is in a fairly good
position to set up the NPDES program immediately. In the hazardous waste,
underground injection, and water pollution programs, we should be setting up
programs and trying to meet the requirements of EPA for delegation. There
would be little need for manpower during the year or so that it takes for the
programs to be set up. But once the programs are established, there will be a
considerable need for additional manpower. There could be some crossover of
technical and administrative resources in many of the programs.
Assuming the delegation will be a considerable commitment for the state
in terms of funding and manpower, it is felt by the committee that it should
be adopted gradually. The dredge and fill program is difficult to handle
because the delegation there is only partial. The Corps of Engineers must
retain jursidiction over what has been known as the "waters of the United
States." They can only delegate to the states all the jurisdiction above the
mean high water line. This remains a problem because we cannot clearly settle
on where that line would be.
No one knows much about the wastewater treatment programs. There is 100
percent federal funding for planning on this program, and it would probably
continue for a couple of years. This one should be considered last since it
is not a regulatory program and is one that will take considerable effort and
have the largest demand on very skilled manpower.
One of the things we identified is the need for job descriptions that
will allow sufficiently high salaries to attract well-qualified people. The
state is not competitive with EPA and even less so with industry. It will be
very difficult for the state to find people to work for the salaries we now
have to offer. We will be recommending that a good look be taken at the need
for upgrading these positions.
Thank you, Helen. I agree with you about the salaries, particularly for
the Governing Board members.
I am also representing Committee Six, and I would like to expand on some
of our recommendations. We established priorities, saying the state should go
ahead immediately with the NPDES program, and with hazardous waste, water
pollution, and clean air, and then contract grants for wastewater treatment
plants. The last priority we assigned was for dredge and fill permits. We
felt that, because of navigational servitude laws and some other factors,
those would certainly be tied up in federal court.
We felt in the delegation of federal powers to the state that we will
have to observe a general principle that is applied to all federal and state
relationships. In some ways, you can compare it to foreign affairs. It would
be useless to attempt to deal with anything other than the capital in the
country of Colombia because Bogota does not speak to Medellin, and Medellin
does not speak to Barranquilla except to collect taxes, and they, in turn,
will not speak to each other or back to the capital. I think the same
principle applies here in Florida and in all of the 50 states. The federal
government can grant powers only to a state agency. The state agency can work
some contractual arrangements with the districts, or whatever, to carry out the
functions. But, as in foreign affairs, the federal government will talk
only with the state agency, not with the subagencies.
Committee Five, focusing on "Water Quality and Water Quantity
Administration," also involved a noncontroversial subject. I am standing up
so I can see better. Stanley Hole just offered me his glasses, which reminded
me of what someone once said, "Getting older is really an issue of mind over
matter. If you do not mind, it does not matter."
The questions I was asked to answer are:
(1) Are there important weaknesses in the present system of separate
quality and quantity administration?
(2) Should the regulation of water quantity and quality matters be
centralized? If so, with whom?
(3) Can counties assume the responsibility for administering parts of
water quality and quantity regulation?
(4) And, is the water supply issue being adequately handled?
Remember the questions because here are the answers:
(1) Yes, but it could be worse.
(2) Number two has two parts: (2a) Yes. (2b) Undecided.
(3) In some cases, to some extent, at some time.
(4) Not really.
Are there any questions? If not, I will go on to the other questions:
(1) What options have been proposed?
(2) What is the position or preliminary recommendation of your
The answers are:
(1) Practically all options have been proposed.
(2) It is a surprise.
I would like to recognize Chuck Littlejohn of DER who has provided staff
assistance to the committee. He gave us the "straight" versions of the viable
options to be considered and answers to questions we asked.
Now, let me address the questions. Number One was, "Are there important
weaknesses in the present system of separate quality and quantity
administration?" The very strong feeling that has emerged from all parties is
that we do not want to create a negative tone; Florida is far ahead of other
states in water management. We want to emphasize that what we are trying to do
now is look at the problems that still exist, and to make something that we
think is relatively good even better. We tried to point out some of the
weaknesses for which clarifications are needed in program responsibilities.
The need for this has arisen because there is not a clear state water policy to
which everyone is subscribing or from which everyone is getting direction.
Question Number Two was, "Should the regulation of water quantity and
quality matters be centralized? If so, with whom?" We have proposed six
(1) The status quo, which usually means, "Let's live with what we
have." But we are here because we do not want to live with
what we have. The status quo option includes recommendations
for improved coordination and continued selective delegation
of water quality areas by DER to the water management districts.
The water management district Governing Boards would remain
autonomous. But we are suggesting some improvements and closer
(2) Conflict resolution by the Governor. We will do the best we
can under the system we have, and when we cannot handle it or
get the answer, we will send it to the Governor and say, "Governor,
what do you think?"
(3) Strong DER supervision. This is a status quo approach, but
with improvements. Supervision would need to be strengthened
by some legislative clarification to say more specifically what
we mean in these authorities, who is going to do what, to whom,
and when, and how.
(4) Strong water management district supervision. Again, this is
a status quo approach with improvements. The water management
districts would have their authorities and supervision strengthened
through legislative clarification.
(5) Consolidation within DER of the regulatory functions of water
quality and quantity.
(6) Consolidation within the water management districts of regulatory
Question Three asks, "Can counties assume the responsibility for
administering parts of water quality and quantity regulation?" Three options
were presented that the Task Force is now considering. The first is the status
quo, with improvements in communication and directions. The second was, "Let's
just eliminate them." But, if you read the Task Force's recent report and look
at the table on local programs, you will see the amount of dollars some of the
local areas are putting into some of the efforts in the state, and you will
realize that this elimination is not going to be acceptable because we need
that local assistance. We are working on some refinements for the third option
which will expand the delegation of regulatory programs to local programs on a
selective basis, based on qualification and abilities.
Question Four asked if the water supply issue is being handled adequately.
We had five options:
(1) Improve and expand the regional water supply authorities.
(2) Abolish the regional water supply authorities and provide state
financial support to local governments. In other words, let the
local governments solve the water supply problems, though those
water supply problems may be regional in nature.
(3) Create a state water supply authority. The general thinking
on this was that the authority would be under the Governor and
(4) Utilize water management districts to provide water supply on a
(5) Create regional resource development districts. This would
transfer permitting activities of the water management districts
to DER and have the water management districts be the developers
of water supply and providers of services on a regional basis.
It represents a separation of regulation and operation, with
regulation being done by DER and operation being accomplished
by the water management districts.
Thank you, Mr. Searcy. I know Chuck Littlejohn did a tremendous job;
however, I do question him about his bias because when it came time for reference
to the water management districts, he referred to "the other five represented
agencies." How much of that was bias, I really do not know.
As chairman of the Task Force, I would like to say that the Task Force owes
a great debt of gratitude to the water management districts, their executive
directors, staffs, and many of the board members. The Task Force has had so many
meetings that I have lost count of the days in meetings; perhaps only Nancy
Stroud knows. In many of the meetings, representatives of each water management
district have been of great aid and assistance with reference to trying to
educate us about the issues, particularly in regard to water. All I can say, in
all sincerity, on behalf of the Task Force, is, "Thank you for all the help."
When Governor Graham conceived the idea of the Task Force, he did not charge
it to dream up more legislation on top of all the existing legislation, but to
examine the environmental and land use laws of the state to see if they are
working to solve what would appear to be the problems of Florida in the 1980's.
If they were not, we were to come up with recommendations to the Governor, and
possibly to the Legislature, about how a situation may be created that will
better meet the needs of the people of Florida in the 1980's.
About a month ago, US News and World Report contained an article wherein
America in the year 2000 was visualized. By the year 1990, it was projected
that Florida would be the fourth largest state, exceeded only by New York,
California, and Texas. Whether or not this happens, there is going to be
considerable growth in Florida during the coming decade. The real issue is not
to decide whether or not we want that growth, but to try to figure out how we
are going to create a situation in which we will be able to solve the problems
caused by another two or three million people in a way that will allow Florida
to continue to be a livable place in the future.
Perhaps the reason I ended up as chairman of the Task Force is because, as
pdrt of the legislation passed in 1972, there was created something called the
ELMS Committee, which established the concept of "Development of Regional
Impact" in areas of critical state concern. There were 15 people on that
committee, and Governor Bob Graham and I were members. It was a little easier
to sit around Tallahassee in 1971, 1972, and 1973 and think about creating
grand new concepts and laws, rules, and regulations when nobody really knew if
they would work or not. I find it much more difficult today to look at what we
have on the books and to determine if it is working properly. If it is not, we
must determine how we can make it work better. It is more difficult because we
run into, and I say this with all due respect, a series of already entrenched
bureaucracies. There was little planning in Florida back in the 1960's and
early 1970's. In fact, the Division of State Planning did not even exist in
1972 when some of this legislation was passed. We did not have 11 regional
planning councils in the state, and we barely had some of the five water
As we have begun to look at the various options, we have found that people
start to confuse "looking at options" with "making conclusions." The minute
you say that there are six possible answers, some people think that in merely
stating the question you have come up with the answer. This has gotten the
Task Force into a lot of trouble with certain agencies, but what we have tried
to do is look at all possible options in order to make what we have today work
even better. If the Task Force has stepped on toes, or has gotten certain
people worried, we will just have to see what happens. Probably what will
happen is that the Task Force will come out with a lovely report in a blue
cover, Ms. Stroud says, "green," which may, like other reports, end up in a
One of the areas that one of the more active committees, chaired by Art
Harper, has spent a great deal of time on involves the future role and
structure of regional agencies. In some circles, certainly not here, when you
talk about the word "regional," people equate regionalism with all kinds of
horrendously bad things and say that you are creating another level of
government. As members of the water management districts know, in Florida
today there are regional levels of government in a number of areas. It may be
an invisible level to some extent, or a level which is not well understood or
appreciated by the citizens whom we are all trying to serve. We have regional
government in the water management districts, regional planning councils,
regional health planning agencies, and others. The trouble is that parts are
overlapping with each other or going in two or three directions at the same
time. The area in which the Task Force has gotten into the regional issue has
to do with the question, "Who should be the reviewing agencies for the
Development of Regional Impacts?" These are required for large developments
which affect the health, safety, and welfare of citizens of more than one
county. When the Land and Water Management Act was passed in 1972, it was
decided to delegate authority to the regional planning councils to review the
DRI's and to make recommendations to local governments. The program has been
operating for the past six or seven years. We examined it and came up with
five options. Incidentally, a better name for this Task Force could be the
Option Task Force because the Task Force seems to delve in a series of options.
The possibility which received the most comments, letters, etc., was this
option: The Governor could legally say the reviewing agency for DRI's, instead
of being the regional planning councils, should be the water management
districts. He could do this by merely signing an executive order, without any
legislation. The option did not really receive any strong support from any of
the water management districts. I think it is only fair to indicate that in
only two incidents, or possibly three, could the water management districts be
geared up a short space of time to do the reviews. I am not saying that the
Task Force was lobbied or pressured by the water management districts to select
The Task Force did receive strong pressure from the regional planning
councils, and particularly from local governments, the State Association of
County Commissioners (and many county commissions individually), all indicating
the Task Force should not take reviewing authority away from the regional
planning councils and give it to the water management districts. The single
biggest reason for opposition concerned the question, "Who can better serve the
interests of the people of Florida in a given area, elected public officials or
people, such as Governing Board members or members of this Task Force, who are
appointed to do a specific job?" There are many differences of opinion on
that. If you are strongly in favor of the elected public official viewpoint,
you will say that if it is done any other way, you are depriving the people of
a voice. That could not in any way be true in the case of reviewing the DRI's;
the ultimate decision is not with a regional planning council, water management
district, or any regional agency. The ultimate decision is with elected public
officials, namely, the county commission or city council before whom the
development comes. I do not know what the final recommendation of this Task
Force will be. I do know that in the area containing the greatest amount of
knowledge and expertise in Florida, and represented by the people attending
this meeting, it is obvious that when an application is made for a large
development, it goes to a regional planning council. Even if in most, if not
all, instances regional planning councils have solicited the opinion of the
water management district in question, there would appear to be some problem
with the situation when the expertise lies in the water management district as
to how a given development might affect water management and related things.
The regional planning council, then, merely puts that recommendation in the
file drawer and substitutes its own "expertise" in the water management area
and forwards that on to the local government. I think that in this and similar
areas, this Task Force will come up with recommendations for some consistency.
In other words, if the law vests with you the management over water and related
things and it is with you that the knowledge and expertise lies, yours is the
expert opinion. And your report should be presented to the ultimate
decision-makers before their decisions are made.
Along the same lines, the Legislature has allowed cities, counties, and
other entities to do things that were never made mandatory. The Legislature
says counties can have zoning and land use controls, but only if they want
them. An exception is the so-called Local Government Comprehensive Planning
Act which was actually a recommendation of the ELMS Committee. It mandates
that every city and county develop a long-range comprehensive plan by July 1,
1979, but most of them have figured out how to get an extension. It is too
early, perhaps, to say how this has worked, but there is a similarity among
comprehensive plans by local governments, regional planning councils, water
management districts, and the Development of Regional Impact process.
Everything is sort of on an optional basis. It is not required, for example,
that local plans be consistent with regional plans. There is also a provision
on the books that mandates the state adopt a state plan, but what has been
produced so far is a series of little books.
All this inquiry could lead some people to the conclusion that we are in
terrible shape in Florida. The fact is, we are not in terrible shape in
Florida. Florida is in as good a shape in water management as any of the
states in this country. It is obvious that many things could be improved and
many things can fit together better. That is what the Task Force has spent its
time trying to do. Hopefully, if the Task Force can figure out how all these
pieces can be put together, and can present a coordinated, consolidated
recommendation that is meaningful and not too long, to Governor Graham sometime
between now and the end of the year, then the Task Force might have
accomplished a little something. If any of the participants at this panel
discussion can suggest exactly how to do that, the Task Force would appreciate
hearing about it.
I was delighted to hear John Robert Middlemas take off on one of our
favorite subjects that there is no state water policy. Mr. Middlemas, how
specific, statutorily, should the state be? We have gone to the trouble of
picking out all of the policy statements in the statutes and in Chaper 373 that
relate to water, and they make up a page and a half of one-liners. How much
more specific do you think that should be, or should it all be recodified and
brought together in one section?
JOHN ROBERT MIDDLEMAS
Part of the problem with our situation is just what you mentioned. We
have planning done somewhat at the state level through our State Water Use
Plan. Our water management districts are doing some planning, and when
planning indicates a need for policy, it is done in regulations usually, and
you just made a list of them. There is no policy, just a conglomeration of
regulations, rules, and statutes.
How specific should a statewide plan adopted by statute be? It could be a
generalized plan, but still somewhat more specific than the statutes that now
exist. A generalized plan could give authority to the water management
districts to develop the most specificity in order to meet the varying regional
needs of water quality and quantity management in the state. There needs to be
a policy, how specific I cannot say. Jake Varn is dealing with a problem in my
area right now. There is a private mariculture operation that wants to lease
300 acres of prime marsh and bay bottom to be diked and used for their own
personal gain. I do not think there is any policy that Jake can refer to for
guidance. Mariculture is one of those romantic industries that is going to
feed the hungry hordes, perhaps. Jake must be torn between the idea of
developing this new industry that offers promise of providing a great source of
protein, and of having to sacrifice 300 acres of prime bay bottom and
marshland. We do not have a policy for that. I think that type of thing
should be included in our state policy. For instance, what should the state
policy be toward mariculture and what should the state sacrifice to help this
industry develop? We need a state policy to govern this type of thing.
One thing which becomes obvious over and over again is that Florida is
such a diverse place. The problems are different everywhere. I would guess
that, although there is some similarity in every one of the five water
management districts, they face different problems. This makes it difficult,
not only in water management but in every management area, to develop state
policies that will be applicable and right for all 67 counties. I see no
reason why the diversity that exists among the various areas in Florida will
not continue for all time. I hope it does. That diversity obviously affects
the development of a statewide policy.
Mr. Shimberg, how many pounds of paper has the Task Force generated?
We do not have a scale.
I think we can be proud of our water management today, and it does not
hurt at all to take a look at it. I would like to note also that the water
management districts and their relationships with DER have improved
tremendously during the last year.
We are not very smart in Northwest Florida, but we learn quickly. We
talked earlier about the user fee in regard to water. Our Governing Board met
last night around 12:00 in an emergency session and we would like to say this
to the other water management districts: In the year 2020 you are going to ask
us to pipe our water south. As we learned yesterday from Representative
Morgan, our user fees will increase at an escalating rate.
WATER MANAGEMENT IN FLORIDA:
THE VIEW AT THE NATIONAL LEVEL
HON. HOWARD ODOM, Northwest Florida Water Management District
Governing Board, Marianna, Florida
MR. CLYDE S. CONOVER, U. S. Geological Survey, Tallahassee,
MR. JOHN CUNNINGHAM, U. S. Department of the Interior, Washington,
MR. CRAIG DeREMER, U. S. Department of the Army, Washington, D. C. I
MR. RICHARD C. TUCKER, President, American Water Resources Association,
MR. RICHARD (DICK) VANNOY, U. S. Water Resources Council,
Washington, D. C.
Owing to the unique nature of the state's climate, topography, and aquifer
systems, water management issues in Florida have often been considered unique
in many ways. In other ways, Florida water issues are perhaps not so unique. |
For example: serious groundwater drawdowns exist in many popular coastal areas;
saltwater encroachment, either actual or potential, is a constant problem in a
number of localities; and seasonal water supply problems of serious proportions
occur in parts of the state. Other states certainly experience many of the
Florida has a long history of concern for water problems, as evidenced by
its water management activities that date back as much as 400 years and, I
somewhat more recently, by its unique system of regional water management
districts. Although most Floridians generally seem to feel that the state's |
water management strategy is effective, a perspective from the national level
would be helpful in evaluating Florida's efforts and perhaps investigating new
concepts that have worked successfully in other states.
How does Florida's system of water management, and the accomplish-
ments of that system, compare with those of other states? Based on
the experience of other areas, how might it be improved? I
Over the past months, considerable attention has been directed to the
national approach to water issues. This has been evident in the Office of
the President, both houses of Congress and, consequently, in many federal
What are the major national issues in water management and what are
the most likely means of their resolution? What particular effects are
these issues likely to have on water management perspectives in Florida?
Also, during past months, significant emphasis has been given to the
organization of federal agencies concerned with natural resources.
Given the currently emerging national water perspective, what is the
optimum organizational structure for water management on the federal
level? What should be the priorities of such a structure? What roles
should it assume, or continue, versus water management activities
historically carried out by the states?
I heard what was said about leadoff panelists yesterday, but there is one
advantage in being first. I am like the leadoff hitter; I don't have to make a
home run, just get on base.
I do not think there is a coordinated view on water management at the
national level. We have lots of different views, and I do not think we ever
will have a coordinated view. There are a bunch of agencies in water resources
management and water quality control; they all have their own missions and are
continually trying to reach a consensus on a national water policy. I think
there is the same situation on the state level. I notice you have the DNR,
DER, the water management districts, and you have local governments.
In regard to the first question, "How does the Florida system of water
management and the accomplishments of that system compare with that of other
states?", I did not think I was an expert on the Florida system of water
management until I listened to everybody here yesterday. After listening to
that discussion, I have decided I am an "instant expert" on water management in
Florida. With that 24-hour background, I will make a few comments. I am not
sure what the accomplishments of the Florida system are, but the system itself
looks really good. I think Florida is way ahead of most states. On a scale of
one to ten, Florida has got to be somewhere around an eight or nine. I am
particularly impressed by the water management district concept, and by how
much authority they have.
You have the five water management districts in place, and in that way you
are ahead of a lot of states. California, for example, which has pretty good
water management laws, is trying right now to get some new laws that would
establish 11 basin authorities somewhat like your districts. It was a lot
easier to do five years ago than it will be now, because there is a tremendous
amount of power at the local level in a state like California, and it is hard
to do things there on a regional level.
As I understand them, the water management districts in Florida are
basically regulatory authorities. In this nation, we think mostly of
regulation in regard to pollution and, while that is important, there is a very
deep need nationally, and in each state, for water quantity regulation by
somebody. The federal government does not want to get into that business. Let
me draw from President Carter's water policy message of June 6, 1978, the
following charge to all the task forces working on water policy: "Federal
water policy cannot attempt to prescribe water use patterns for the country,
nor should the federal government preempt the primary responsibility of the
states for water management and allocation. For those reasons, these water
policy reforms will not preempt state or local water responsibilities." This
is not just a political thing. After all, who wants to get out there in the
front lawn and meet the enemy head-on and tell him how to regulate his water
supplies? We certainly do not. We would just as soon sit back and advise and
give you support, and let you do the fighting in the yard. I think the
authority is where it should be. It should be either at the state level, as it
is in some states that have really strong regulatory control of water quantity
and permitting, or the authority should be at a regional level within the
state, where it is in a lot of states. But in most states, there just is not
anybody in the water management business, and that is a problem.
I noticed that the water management districts have authority over ground
water and instream flow. I also noticed that they integrate some flood control
authority along with water resources regulation, and I think this is certainly
a step in the right direction. Giving the authority to appointed officials is
proper when the subject is fairly technical.
I think the big problem in water management on the national level is the
question of how to control the problems of growth, of how to keep on supplying
water, and of controlling growth in an orderly fashion. Certainly somebody has
to have permitting authority if you are going to have control. Let us say that
we have on the national level a very large problem with water overdrafts. If
you read the Water Resources Council's Second National Water Assessment, it
lists the states which are overdrafting water. There are a great many of them.
There is a total overdraft of something on the order of 15 million acre-feet
per year, which is about one and a half times the flow of the Colorado River.
It is something that can get very much out of hand, and the states and the
local people will have to address this problem.
Question two asks, "What are the major national issues in water resources
management?" We are involved in a national water policy reform effort that
started with President Carter's speech of June 6. We have task forces just
like you have in this state, but we have 19 of them. I think you would call
them subcommittees of your one task force, but we call each of the 19 a task
force. We put out reports, some of which I brought and placed out in the lobby
for distribution. Each task force eventually comes up with some answers, and
we are trying not to stop at the report submission stage. We are moving on
into implementation and regulation, trying to put into effect the reforms the
President has suggested. The four areas of reform are (1) planning
efficiencies, (2) closer enforcement of environmental regulations, (3) water
conservation, and (4) federal/state cooperation. This is not a policy of
revolution but one of gradual reform. We do not intend to change the basic
structure of the federal water management agencies. We will still have all
those agencies we have always had, but we are hoping to work a little closer
I would like to emphasize the water management program the President has
directed to be implemented through the Water Resources Council (WRC). The U.S.
Water Resources Council is a small agency, created by statute, that includes
all of the federal agencies that have major water policy, planning, and
implementation programs. At the federal level, there are (depending on which
ones you count) 19 to 25 major federal agencies that have significant water
programs which are funded to the tune of about 10.7 billion dollars a year. The
Water Resources Council endeavors to bring together those federal agencies in
terms of policy and program implementation coordination.
The purpose of the National Water Assessment is to take a look at the
water supply and water needs of the nation, and to make projections for the
year 2000. The WRC also has a grant program. President Carter, in his federal
water policy message in 1978, emphasized that the major responsibility for
water management and planning should rest at state level, rather than at the
federal level. To assist and to enhance that effort, he proposed a 50-million
dollar grant program to the states. Twenty-five million of it is to assist the
states in the development of water management programs, and there is another
25-million dollar thrust in water conservation technical assistance at the
state level. These monies are permitted for passage to local units of
government and to the water management districts, as determined by the state.
At the 50-million dollar funding level, Florida would, assuming an
approvable program, receive about 1.5 million dollars. At the current
appropriation level of 20 million dollars, Florida would receive about .5
million dollars which can be passed through to local units for implementation
of this program. Knowing a little bit about the implementing legislation for
the water management districts and about some of the programs that each of the
five districts has, I can say that, except for the works of the district and
your construction efforts, the grant program would be perfect for what you are
doing in the development and implementation of your water management plans. In
fact, I would think almost all of your activities and authorities would be
eligible for funding.
I am certainly not an expert on the comparison of state management
philosophies or structures, but your law is certainly unique. I know of only
one that comes close to it. Nebraska has 24 "natural resources districts" that
have certain implementation responsibilities, but their law is not as
encompassing as the Florida law.
The Water Resources Council's efforts through the grant program are by no
means a federal endeavor to stereotype the type of state organization. In
fact, the intention is quite the contrary. The purpose of the program is to
assist the state in developing a water management strategy or program suited to
each state. There will certainly be some minimum program requirements, but,
aside from that, there will be no attempt on our part to dictate some sort of
A great deal of time has been spent over the last year, by the Water
Resources Council, in implementing some of the President's directives flowing
out of his national water policy. Three or four of the major programs were
assigned to the WRC. I already mentioned the state water management program
that was assigned to the Council for implementation. The Council also has been
assigned to do the revisions to "Principles and Standards." I do not know if
all of you are familiar with the "Principles and Standards," the so-called
"Manual of Procedures," but any of you who have to interface with federal
agencies and their implementation planning and project development know that
"Principles and Standards" are guides for federal planning of water and related
land resource projects. The WRC was directed to amend its existing "Principles
and Standards" to include considerations of conservation and of the development
of nonstructural alternatives to any structural alternatives proposed in a plan.
The "Principles and Standards" revisions, along with a "Manual of Procedures"
that will help develop a consistent process for definite cost analysis for and
amongst all of the federal agencies, are about ready to be issued. The WRC met
yesterday to approve the plans. That was phase one.
Phase two will involve taking a look at integrating urban and community
impact analysis requirements into the "Principles and Standards." In our "Manual
of Procedures" there will be some consistent set of processes for environmental
quality evaluation. A portion of this, the Independent Project Review, is
something that got us into a great deal of hot water. The President wanted the
WRC to take a look at any construction agency reports proposing construction
before the reports went to the Office of Management and Budget and to the
President. In other words, the Council would attempt to make a consistent
evaluation of proposed project reports. He proposed that implementation be
through an executive order. The Congress said, "Don't you dare do that." The
President said, "Do it immediately," and Congress said, "We will kill you if you
do." So we are sitting there with rooms full of reports. If we spend one dime
on that function, lightning will strike immediately. The Corps of Engineers and
others have been very fortunate in being able to say, "We do not have the
proposals; the WRC has them. So bring all your wrath down upon them." And
people do that very well, as I would if I were in their position. In short, the
Independent Project Review Program is sitting there awaiting some organization,
and there are strongly differing opinions concerning the viability of the
I first want to say it is a pleasure to be back in Florida. We had the
American Water Resources Association national meeting in Orlando in the fall of
1978. It was a super meeting. Florida's section, probably our most active and
progressive nationally, did a great job hosting that meeting.
I would like to focus most of my comments on the first of our two questions.
I asked my assistant to keep the motor running because I hate to go into another
state and start talking about how they are running their water resource program,
but I do have a couple of thoughts I would like to share with you. One is that
Florida has been doing a fantastic job generating statewide interest and
discussion about water resources. In many other areas of the country, this is
not the case. The classic national water programs that have been in existence
for many years have, in the last five or ten years, either died or gone away. As
a consequence, we have been in a regulatory mode through the EPA programs and the
Corps, the Bureau, and the SCS. Many of the old programs have not been
generating a lot of local and state interest. In this void, Florida has
succeeded in keeping water resources as a major issue. I think it has had to,
because water is so important to the state.
I think Florida has also done an exceptional job in bringing attention to
water resources and regional water issues at the local and regional levels. The
state has not maintained a state and federal kind of communication or
posture. I think the public is probably a lot more aware of water issues in
Florida, and it is probably because of the water management districts.
The districts have also done a lot to bring together the ground and
surface water relationships. We all know that ground water and surface water
are related and that we need to look at the two as a whole system. It is
amazing to me that very few people elsewhere recognize that fact. We recognize
it in special technical studies, but in regard to national policy and national
water resources planning, and in spite of all the works that have been done, I
do not think we are doing a very good job of making it known. I believe the
water management districts have been able to bridge that gap.
It appears that the districts need to take a special look at the
relationships between water quantity and quality. I do not propose that the
water quality and quantity relationships need to be addressed by the same
agency or within the same regulatory framework, but they do need to be looked
I have been persuaded, by people both inside and outside of government,
that the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and the whole issue of
hazardous waste and toxic substances will be much more critical nationally than
is the Water Pollution Control Program. I know industry is much more concerned
about it, mainly because the cost of cleanup will far exceed that for water
pollution. I think the people of Florida are the ones to resolve how they run
their own programs. In that context, I would urge you to look very carefully
at how you are planning and regulating the water quantity/water quality
The second issue relates to Florida's intention to seek expanded economic
development. I have heard from various people on trade missions and so forth,
that it is best to present a united front. I know Virginia, Alabama, the
Carolinas, and many other states are doing that. I do know from secondhand
experience that people looking at Florida from the outside do find a little
different focus on water resources when they talk to different water management
districts. This is probably a plus. It is a manifestation of regionalism, but
it is also a weakness in that people studying the state do not discover a
consistent policy relative to water resources. I have heard from two or three
people who have been intimately involved that this is something they would like
to see the state and the water management districts try to develop.
There are many national issues, only two of which I would like to focus
on. One is conservation; the other is planning versus regulation. In regard
to conservation, it was really interesting when there was a major fire at one
of the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission's water treatment plants a
couple of years ago. It knocked out a major portion of the whole Maryland side
of the Potomac River, with some 600,000 residents affected. A call immediately
went out to conserve water. That day they experienced the highest water
consumption in the area's history. People thought that when water conservation
was being promoted, they should fill up all their jars, take showers, wash all
the clothes they could, water the lawns, and even fill up their tubs so they
would be "conserving." This was an honest effort. People thought
"conservation" was to get as much as they could, and to hoard it. One of the
major lessons learned through that experience was that we will have to tell the
individual homeowner exactly what we mean by water conservation, and how he can
conserve water. I believe the water management districts are in an excellent
position to provide that kind of guidance through both public participation and
education. I personally do not think it can be done as effectively by regional
agencies at multistate levels, by federal agencies, or even by state agencies.
The water management district concept is "super" in that regard.
In regard to the planning versus regulation issue, I think it took
hard-line national legislation for us to really get our "skit" together in the
area of environmental protection. However, I am convinced that the way to go
in the future is not to continue with a regulatory and permitting mentality for
handling resource problems. I am concerned that we have allowed planning to be
divorced from the making of decisions. Over the long term, if we are really
going to do a good job managing resources, we have to get away from a strict
regulatory and permitting mentality. We must put planning and regulations
together. That does not necessarily mean it has to be by the same agency or
budget process, but the two have to be coordinated. The federal government,
because it has strong laws and agencies charged to implement those laws, is
going to push for a regulatory approach, and it will fall on the states and the
regional agencies, such as the water management districts, to push for planning
and alternative forms of regulation. That will not come from the federal
I want to provide a water resources perspective a bit larger than the
Corps' agency viewpoint. I work primarily with the Public Works Committee and
am aware of some of their feelings. In other words, some of the things I will
express do not necessarily represent the Corps of Engineers or the federal
executive branch: they may represent as well some congressional feelings.
The rules for water and water use are different when it comes to political
realities. For example, the physical rule of hydrology says that water flows
downhill. The political reality is that water flows to money. Congress is
where the money comes from, and Congress determines how water is being
developed nationally. The same holds true in your state program.
Some of the water problems in Florida are unique and your system is rather
unique, but the management techniques you develop are applicable throughout the
nation. Conflicts over the movement of water from region to region within a
state are very typical. California has terrific problems because of that, and
most other states have similar problems to a lesser degree. As far as your
system of water management districts goes, you have a well developed program.
Some other states have many additional powers and responsibilities. Texas, for
instance, has the power to make contracts for projects directly with the
federal government, while other states rely on their localities to carry that
I agree with what Richard Tucker said about the water quality and quantity
interface. It is a critical problem faced by almost all the states. While you
may not want the same agency to deal with both problems, it is vital that
whatever agencies are working on them do coordinate their efforts constantly.
We are trying to do that at the federal level. I was listening to the
discussion this morning about the state water use plan, about how desirable it
is to have an overall state policy. Within a state, there are very good
reasons for having localized policies. But on the federal level, it is of
great aid to know what kind of overall policy the state has that will aid in
the "prioritizing" of projects, or to help understand what kind of funding
levels are applicable for what kinds of projects. The Corps of Engineers, for
example, has what is called the Section 22 program intended to provide
technical aid to the states. One of the requirements of it is that there be
either a state water plan or one in development. This is done to ensure that
the money expended is on those technical needs within the established
priorities of the state. I do not think this excludes the plan's having
regional orientation and policies, but there needs to be at some level an
overall agreement on what problems need to be addressed.
The Florida water management districts and their rules are outstanding and
should serve as models for other states. In the years ahead, you are all going
to be faced with the implementation, refinement, and evolution of your
programs. You need to find out what works and what does not and to be able to
adapt rather quickly. It is going to be very frustratingg" and there will be
problems, but you should keep in mind that you are already doing something
while most of the states are not. Therefore, you are way ahead of them. In
the future, water issues are going to outweigh energy issues, and I think you
are well on your way to addressing the issues.
One suggestion on how things could be improved: you need to educate
everyone possible about federal programs. Some states, such as Ohio, have
developed liaison personnel who deal with various federal agencies or programs.
Florida, or the districts, could also develop such a program. The Corps of
Engineers has an interagency exchange fellow down here at the Northwest
District. He is Dave Kenyon from our Washington offices. It is a good
program. Arrangements that bring to your agencies a person who is following
the federal programs are something you will want to consider in the future.
The question of a national water policy has been considered for years.
Some people say there has been a void because there still is no national water
policy. I believe there has been a national water policy for 150 years or
more, but it has not been stated in one succinct document. It has developed
and changed as the water needs for the nation have developed and changed.
There is a need, as expressed by the Executive Office and by the Congress, to
more succinctly state what is the water policy, to draw the line between state
and federal responsibilities, and perhaps to start redelegating some of the
responsibilities to the states. The impetus for this comes from some programs
that are not working very well. For example, from the time the Corps starts
planning one of our federal projects until we get construction, can take
anywhere from 15 to 25 years. The time needed has doubled and tripled in the
last ten years as a result of a lot of different factors; frustration caused by
the delays is part of the impetus for change.
There are specific national issues in which there may be some changes.
Water supply, single-purpose water supply development, and degradation of water
supply delivery systems currently are being considered by Congress and the
Executive Branch. Some new areas may soon become key national issues. The
main impact on Florida will be a different national distribution of limited
funding resources. Florida and the water districts need to be concentrating on
their priorities so you will receive your share.
I would like to touch briefly on the last question of the charge, which
everybody has been managing to avoid. It concerns the optimum organizational
structure for water management on the federal level. Obviously, it is what
exists, with some modifications and improvements. There have been proposals
concerning forming a Department of Natural Resources which would combine the
water agencies and other natural resource agencies. President Carter, in his
water policy announcement, directed that the possibility be examined, and there
was developed within the administration a tentative Department that would draw
on everybody from NOAA, Commerce, the Corps, Department of Army, Forest
Service, and SCS from Agriculture. It would be centralized pretty much within
the current Department of Interior. For a number of reasons, including some
higher priorities of the President, and including congressional distaste, the
President decided not to press for this Department at this time. That does not
mean that there is any less interest in interagency coordination and in making
the water programs consistent. The changes that are being planned for the
Water Resources Council, whether it be Independent Water Project Review, a new
independent chairman, or centralized authority over the "Principles and
Standards" and their implementation, hopefully mean that there is going to be a
more consistent approach from the federal level. In association with that is
the probability of more delegation to the states in a number of programs.
There are also a number of congressional initiatives for new approaches to
water policy and projects. Senator Domenici from New Mexico and Senator
Moynihan from New York have introduced legislation that can totally change the
water program of the United States. Instead of having it on a project by
project basis, they would divide the money (which in the case of the Corps is
about two billion dollars a year) based on population, water use, per capital
income, and land area, and they would run the water program similar to a grant
program. States would list their priorities for projects, and a pot of money
would be used. This would change the distribution of money nationally.
Florida would receive up to twice as much funding as it does now. The South as
a whole, however, is cut by one fourth or one third. The big winners would be
mostly in the northeastern states. Senator Mark Hatfield of Oregon also has a
bill which tries to differentiate between those projects which lie within a
state and those which are interstate. His bill attempts to provide more state
responsibility over things which are a single state's project.
I think water management in Florida is far and above that in any other
state, including those states that have been in water management for years.
The latter are primarily in the arid West where there is a real water shortage.
They operate primarily on a prior appropriation basis which means that manage-
ment of water resources is more or less in the hands of a state agency.
In Florida, since we do not have a prior appropriation law, we have kind
of a "mugwump" of riparian rights and common law under which everybody owns the
water, with the emphasis on giving everybody all the water they need. I think
Florida is setting a precedent in taking the management approach they have.
The water management districts were established on a water resource basis with
the boundaries approximating surface water hydrologic basins. It was also
brought out earlier that, by virtue of the water management districts being set
up as resource management agencies and because the Governing Boards are
appointed and not elected politically, a lot of the water management
approaches and decisions do tend to be resource oriented.
The other important thing in the water management districts in Florida is
that water resources as a whole have been integrated. There has been little
discussion of the "management of ground water" or the "management of surface
water;" it has been the "managing of water." Part of this has come about
because the water management districts in Florida are new in an age when it is
generally recognized that we must consider the total water resource, not simply
surface or ground water. In the West, they were interested in surface waters
early in the game, and that was what they managed then. Later, they discovered
ground water and tried to combine management of ground and surface waters, but
the blending was not entirely satisfactory. Ground water and surface water in
Florida, in regard to hydrology, are very hard to separate. That was the
experience of the old flood control district in southeastern Florida. It
started out as a flood control district, but they saw that their canals and
other works had a very direct effect on ground waters. It was not long until
they recognized they could not be just a surface flood control district and
that they would have to deal with ground water. Specifically, they became
involved with ground water because of saltwater encroachment into the aquifers,
brought about by the uncontrolled canals. When they put in salinity control
structures, they became involved both in ground water and in water quality.
The water management districts have come to recognize that water quality
is a big part of their management strategy. The simple act of permitting a
well takes into account water quality. The permitting system has to involve
well construction because an improperly constructed well can allow saltwater
encroachment into the aquifer or some other form of water quality degradation.
In short, water quality has become a major concern of the districts.
I would like also to mention the various programs of the U. S. Geological
Survey. The Geological Survey is fundamentally a fact-finding agency with
three sources of funding. One is what we call the "Federal Program" which
operates without any contributions from other agencies. The second source is
through the "Cooperative Program" you are all well acquainted with because we
work with you for the financing of the program. The third source of funding is
from other federal agencies who need our expertise and who pay us 100 percent
of the cost. Of these, the Federal Program is growing at a far greater rate
than is the Cooperative Program. During the last three years, it has grown
five times as fast as the Cooperative Program which is just barely holding its
own. Part of the reason for the increase in the Federal Program is the current
national interest in energy which is focusing particularly on coal resources.
Other things which are important, particularly in Florida, are temporarily
overshadowed by the energy crisis.
Some of the Federal Programs are of direct interest to Floridians. An
example is the Regional Aquifer System Study of what we call the Floridan.
"They" want to call it the Southeastern Limestone. If any of you have any
influence, see if you can get "them" to call it the Floridan Aquifer System.
It is a very good program that provides the dollars to make a regional
assessment of a major aquifer. One of the greatest deficiencies in our program
has been our inability to take a broad regional view across political or
administrative boundaries. This regional aquifer study will consider water
quality and will develop a model for regional water management decisions.
Another federal program we are benefiting from in Florida is the River
Basin Water Quality Assessment Program that selects unique river basins for
prototype quality studies. Our Apalachicola River Basin Study is restricted to
research rather than to solving problems, which is the case with the other
selected basins. On the Apalachicola, we will look at the source of the
nutrients in the river system and evaluate their role in the estuarine system.
I hope this will be only a first phase in the study.
Another federal program benefiting the state is a system of water quality
monitoring stations on the river systems. We have, I believe, 38 stations in
Florida which provide a good assessment of water quality.
And finally, I think our Cooperative Program is the most visionary in the
country. We have trouble keeping the funding level up because the other states
say we are spending their money. The water use program that we work with the
districts on is an important part of this program. A sophisticated evaluation
of water resources must include human effects on the water system. We must
know how much water is being used and where if we are going to determine the
Thank you, Mr. Conover. Are there any questions from the audience?
TOM PRINT am wondering about the status of Senator Jackson's legislation; he was
trying to get a federal land use planning law implemented.
There is not such a bill in consideration at this time.
That is correct. It has been three or four years since he made a big push
that almost got the bill passed. Since then, however, support seems to have
eroded. A national land use plan does seem to be at least on the back burner,
and perhaps you will see some of the policies come out through other laws
rather than in a single national law.
TOM PRINT!r. Vannoy, you mentioned that the federal agencies responsible for water
management have an annual budget in excess of ten billion dollars; you also
mentioned that there is emerging a federal emphasis on water conservation and
on nonstructural alternatives for water management. Can you comment on what
percentage of that budget is devoted to this new federal emphasis and some of
the problems you see emerging because of the new directions?
I do not know how much of that 10.7 billion may be directed towards those
thrusts now. We think, and the water policy study concluded, that redirecting
the emphasis toward conservation would be beneficial because conservation
generally is the most economical source of supply. It is proposed that
opportunities for conservation be considered in the basic planning. It is also
proposed that nonstructural alternatives be considered. This does not mean
that structural alternatives cannot be recommended, but a nonstructural
alternative must at least be considered. The effect of that is positive in
that it will provide a broader range of alternatives to consider in any plan.
I am reacting in part to a comment made yesterday about the fact that there was
no state or federal incentive for nonstructural funding.
The Corps was using nonstructural alternatives even before the President's
Water Policy Initiatives. We are developing new regulations, and have a number
of publications, that try to define what the nonstructural alternative rule is
and how we are going to implement it. One of the big problems is cost-sharing.
Historically, structural flood control has been funded 100 percent by federal
sources while nonstructural solutions have been varying. The President's
cost-sharing recommendation is to make all water projects basically a 20/80
percent split with federal funds making up the larger share.
Is the Corps planning to go into the water supply business nationwide?
The issue of single-purpose water supply is one that is being investigated
by a task force of the President. It is also a consideration in the current
omnibus bill for water resources in Congress.
I would like to make a final comment concerning the government moving into
the water supply area. I think they will be very cautious. A lot of agencies,
particularly the Office of Management and Budget, are not willing to start
another big public works program. We have enough trouble raising money for
Thank you, panel members. It has been a pleasure having you with us.
This annual meeting is adjourned.
o dotlaweUd Acuida
Oal/e* /tanagleement qiAicd
Route 1 Box 3100
Havana, Florida 32333
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