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NORTHWEST FLORIDA WATER MANAGEMENT DISTRICT PUBLIC INFORMATION BULLETIN 82-1
SIXTH ANNUAL CONFERENCE ON
WATER MANAGEMENT IN FLORIDA
OCTOBER 29-30, 1981
Tallahassee Leon County Civic Center
NORTHWEST FLORIDA WATER MANAGEMENT DISTRICT
PUBLIC INFORMATION BULLETIN 82-1
Henry C. Lane, Chairman
"In recognition of his personal and unselfish
commitment to the citizens and the water re-
sources of northwest Florida, and for his
dedication and leadership as Chairman of the
Governing Board of the Northwest Florida
Water Management District."
GEN. HENRY C. LANE
well deserved and loving recognition of a man
who served this State and his community and
nation with great distinction over many years.
We were fortunate to have a substantial
amount of that service directed toward the
activities of effective water management in
our State. Mrs. Lane, on behalf of the North-
west Florida Water Management District and
all who knew and loved your husband, I
would like to present this plaque to you. MRS. HENRY C. LANE RECEIVING
PLAQUE FROM GOV. GRAHAM
Governor Bob Graham:
Tallahassee Leon County Civic Center
October 29, 1981
ANNUAL CONFERENCE ON WATER MANAGEMENT IN FLORIDA
Tallahassee-Leon County Civic Center
Thursday, October 29, 1981
11:30 a.m. 1:00 p.m.
12:45 p.m. 1:15 p.m.
1:30 p.m. 2:45 p.m.
3:00 p.m. -
6:30 p.m. 8:30 p.m.
Friday, October 30, 1981
9:00 a.m. 10:15 a.m.
10:15 a.m. 11:45 a.m.
Keynote Address by Governor Bob Graham
Panel 1 Water Supply for the Future: A
Question of More Water or Fewer People
South Florida Water Management District
Panel 2 Regional Water Supply Authorities:
Bane or Blessing?
Southwest Florida Water Management District
Address by B. Joseph Tofani
U.S. Water Resources Congress
Panel 3 Water Use Priorities: Competition
Suwannee River Water Management District
Panel 4 Structural vs. Nonstructural Water
St. Johns River Water Management District
JeU4/Auke~( eAW e ida
Route 1, Box 3100, Havana, Florida 32333
J. Wllam McCartney (904) 487-1770
Exeue Die January 18, 1982
In 1976, the Northwest Florida Water Management District held its
first Annual Meeting. It was arranged primarily to discuss issues of
interest in our District alone. Even during that first small gathering
in the rain at Wakulla Springs, however, the potential to involve all of
Florida's water managers and to publicly address resource management
issues of statewide concern was obvious. Water managers from around the
State quickly recognized the need for a regular forum to discuss common
problems and solutions and to get experts and policymakers from other
realms more involved in water management. Each year after 1976, the
panel topics became more comprehensive and important while the list of
guests and panel participants became more impressive.
The 1980 Annual Meeting was, in our opinion, the very best we
would be able to do. In the weeks following it, we considered ways not
only to continue the meetings but to continually improve upon them. The
most promising way to do that, we concluded, was to acknowledge that the
Annual Meeting really was a statewide water conference. Accordingly, we
changed the name to the "Annual Conference on Water Management in Florida"
and petitioned each of the other four water management districts to take
the very demanding responsibility for arranging a panel discussion. Each
accepted the challenge with great enthusiasm.
The new arrangement has been successful beyond our greatest
expectations. We sincerely appreciate the Governing Board and staff
efforts that went into this Conference and which resulted in these excellent
panel discussions. The Annual Conference can still be improved, and we will
welcome your suggestions, but we know we are on the right track.
TOM S. COLDEWEY DAVAGE RUNNELS WILLIAM C. SMITH
Chairman Port St. Joe Vice Chairman Destin Sec./Treas. Tallahassee
W. FRED BOND MARION TIDWELL CANDIS M. HARBISON R. L. PRICE, JR. BLUCHER B. LINES R. BERNARD PARRISH
Pensacola Chumuckla Panama City Graceville Quincy Tallahassee
GOVERNOR BOB GRAHAM
SIXTH ANNUAL CONFERENCE
ON WATER MANAGEMENT IN FLORIDA
TALLAHASSEE-LEON COUNTY CIVIC CENTER
October 29, 1981
It is a pleasure to be invited back to speak with you again this year.
In the past, I have had an opportunity to share some thoughts, and to benefit
by your wise counsel, on the directions which you at the water management
District and the State level should focus on a sound water policy for Florida.
I would like to continue that dialog in the context of the considerable
changes in the nation's political and economic climate and in the challenges
which these fluctuations represent for each of you and for our State govern-
Florida is fortunate in that it has a well-equipped capacity to respond
to the challenges through such achievements as effective State and regional
agencies, landmark environmental legislation and, most recently, our "Save Our
Rivers Act." But most importantly, we are fortunate to have men and women of
the caliber here today, and particularly those who represent our five water
management districts, to provide the leadership and the public confidence,
credibility, and education as to the steps that we, together, need to take in
order to protect, conserve, and make proper use of our most valuable resource,
the fresh water of Florida.
In essence, what has happened in our State and in our nation is that we
have moved from a period of abundance to one in which there is going to be a
much greater necessity to attend to the proper use, conservation, and
effective and efficient management of our more limited resources. Our task is
going to be to respond to this new period with creativity and to assure that
the vital needs of the public are met. No greater need exists than that of
providing a sure and pure source of water.
The public has sent a clear signal to government that waste and excess
are no longer tolerable, and that is a message which I endorse. At the same
time, federal responsibilities, including the need to preserve our environ-
mental resources, are shifting to the states and to regional and local
governments. One of these shifting responsibilities is going to be for water
management. Florida is no stranger to such alterations and changes in
national policy. We have, since the turn of the century, in the administra-
tion of Governor Broward, turned from a state in which the greatest emphasis
was on an excess of water to one today in which the greatest concern is, and
will continue to be, water scarcity and its proper use.
Each of you is in the challenging role of offering more for less in the
face of this scarcity. I'm confident you will succeed, and I pledge my
continued personal support in your efforts. We have ample evidence of these
challenges. Florida is experiencing the most severe drought in recent
history. The Suwannee is only a small stream of clear water, and less so
after the "raid" made by the Southwest Florida Water Management District. The
St. Johns is a fragile shadow of a great river. Large, barren sandbars line
the bed of the Apalachicola. Lake Okeechobee yesterday dropped to its all-
time low for this time of the year. Surface water throughout the State is at
an all-time low and ground water is below normal in many areas.
In this condition of jeopardy, we are about to enter the dry season. The
next several months will bring an unparalleled critical water situation for
the people of Florida. At the same time, the federal government has deter-
mined that Florida leads the nation in number of hazardous waste sites
threatening the purity of our drinking water. This determination, which
resulted in part from Florida's aggressive identification program, is one
which demands a strong commitment of resources and energy.
My reason for reciting this partial list of water concerns is not to
mimic the afflictions of Job. I believe, however, that by acknowledging the
problem, we are in a much better position to develop solutions through prompt
and efficient actions. Fortunately, Florida has been wise in providing the
machinery to take such actions. You here today carry a major responsibility
to determine that Florida will retain its historic description as an earthly,
sometimes awesome, paradise, and not as a dry desert peninsula.
Water management districts offer the greatest opportunity to meet these
difficult challenges. Florida has the best water management law in the
nation. In fact, only one other state, Delaware, has a comprehensive water
planning and management program. The districts are hydrologically and
politically well defined, and their boundaries were set with intelligent
recognition that water purity and availability are not functions of county
lines or municipal boundaries. You, at the district level, have done an
outstanding job in responding to the drought. Water use restrictions in the
South, Southwest and St. Johns River districts have been effective in reducing
the impact of the water shortage. The Florida Department of Environmental
Regulation and the districts provide a sound basis to build a stronger
resource management system for Florida.
The major strength in water management in this State is in the
consumptive use permitting and the management and storage of surface water
permitting. I encourage all water management districts, particularly at this
time when we face a pending escalation of water shortages in Florida, to
implement consumptive use permitting to enable us to handle water shortage
problems and protect our water resources. We must recognize that droughts are
an aspect of Florida's natural system, particularly as the demand for water
increases. With a spirit of anticipation, I encourage you to participate
fully in land use planning and decision making that will affect Florida's
future decades. An opportunity for such participation exists. Regional
planning councils had their law amended in 1980. Part of those amendments
provided that regional plans must be consistent with water management district
plans. Each of you should be actively involved in the development of those
plans so that water resources receive full cooperation and coordination. I
was pleased with the conference that was held at the end of 1980 which many of
you participated in with members of the regional planning councils. I sense
an increased spirit of recognition of the commonality of our goals and
responsibilities between the water management districts and the regional
planning councils. I encourage that spirit, and commit myself to continuing
to see that all the efforts available from our office, and from the Department
of Environmental Regulation and the other State agencies, will be available to
you to see that that partnership succeeds. At the same time, I also encourage
you to become more active with local governments as they prepare to amend
local comprehensive plans. Despite the fact that such participation by water
management districts is optional, you should also develop criteria for
floodplain management to assist local governments with their land use
planning, zoning, and building regulations. Critical environmental decisions
are now being made at the local level, and you can contribute to the soundness
of those decisions, as has occurred through the work of the South, Southwest,
and Suwannee districts.
As an example of the kind of cooperation which is now underway, the
Charlotte Harbor Committee, which was appointed to study the Charlotte Harbor
area for purposes of determining whether the area should be designated as one
of critical State concern, provides an example of the active involvement of
water management districts with local and regional agencies to preserve the
freshwater supply. Derrill McAteer, the chairman of the Charlotte Harbor
Committee and former chairman of the Southwest Florida Water Management
District, provides an illustration of the key relationship between water
management and effective planning at the local and regional levels. The South
Florida Water Management District is providing an invaluable data base by
completing a comprehensive ground-water plan for the multi-aquifer system of
Lee County. The district is also providing data to monitor wells in Lee
County in order to determine the quantity and quality of ground water. In
cooperation with several local entities, the district is locating and
investigating abandoned wells and overseeing their plugging to protect
freshwater resources from saltwater contamination. The district is holding
water conservation workshops in the Charlotte Harbor area to help local
governments develop strategies to deal with local and regional water supply
programs before and after drought conditions. These are just some examples of
interagency cooperation which move us toward the common goal of preserving our
The most significant new resource available to you is the "Save Our
Rivers Act." I am here today, in part, to thank you for the efforts which
were extended for this important piece of legislation. Its enactment would
not have occurred had it not been first: the recognition of the need; second:
the close cooperation among the leadership of the five water management
districts; and third: your effectiveness before the Legislature. It is our
responsibility to see that this important new resource is used effectively. I
will be in close contact with the chairpersons of the five water management
districts to ask for a continual report on what steps are being taken to
implement this program, and of what assistance, including assistance in the
upcoming legislative session, we might need in order to see that this program
meets its full potential.
I want to know when each district will be in ownership of vital wetlands,
river'properties, and recharge areas that are so essential to the continued
abundance of pure water in our State. As you assess your district's
implementation of the "Save Our Rivers Act," I encourage you to bring to my
attention any administrative or statutory changes that you believe will be
helpful in improving the Act. We will give the highest consideration to these
recommendations. We cannot delay in bringing this property into public
ownership. Since the Act went into effect, $3 million have been accumulated
for this purpose. It is estimated that by July 1, 1982, there will be $15
million available for acquisition under the "Save Our Rivers" program. No
better opportunity exists to ensure that development which necessitates water
protection will pay the cost of preservation. It is essential, as you work to
hasten the acquisition of vital areas, that this is accomplished with the
prudent management for which the districts have been known. I am gratified to
learn of the voluntary cooperative efforts by the districts and the Department
of Environmental Regulation to develop acquisition procedures that are uniform
and sound. The "Save Our Rivers Act" is, in part, a test of the State's
integrity in purchasing lands for the public. Your role in meeting this test
is absolutely indispensable. It would be a most damaging event, in terms of
the public's confidence in our State government and in your district's ability
to provide the quality of public leadership and public integrity, if this
program were not carried out with the highest standards of good management and
unimpeachable integrity. I know that you share those goals with me and have a
commitment to see that they are accomplished. If the "Save Our Rivers Act" is
successful, and I am confident that it will be, we should be able to divest
ourselves of many of the age-old ditching and diking and damming approaches to
management of water in this State.
The savings to taxpayers that will come from this shift to natural
systems and away from capital-intensive man-made projects is in keeping with
sound fiscal conservatism. In recent months, I have written the United States
Army Corps of Engineers and told them, and our congressional delegation and
other members of Congress, of our State's interest in giving non-structural
projects equal consideration with structural projects for funding. It makes
no sense to say, as the federal government has in the past said, that federal
funds are available to pour acres of concrete but do not exist for the
purchase of wetlands in water recharge areas.
Another significant sign of progress in State water management is the
adoption of the State Water Policy. I wish to commend the spirit of
cooperation which has existed among the water management districts, and
between the districts and the Department, that have helped achieve this
important goal. This new policy finally gives Florida a framework for
protecting our water resources and encourages the use of natural and non-
structural water management systems. This will enable nature to do what it
does best, and it will better preserve the water on which we depend. It is
our responsibility now to move forward with the implementation of the State
Few environmental subjects inspire more public concern than the
presence of wastes which are a hazard to the water we drink. When the EPA
last week published its list of 114 hazardous waste sites eligible for federal
assistance under the Super Fund, 16 of those sites were in Florida. It is
important to remember that the inclusion of these Florida sites on the list is
in large part a result of determined efforts by the Department of
Environmental Regulation. The Department began its work with the understand-
ing that it is to Florida's advantage to identify these sites in the interest
of public health and welfare, and in order to maximize our opportunities for
federal cleanup funds. Even the $1.6 billion Super Fund, however, will be
inadequate to clean up the nation's hazardous waste sites. As a result,
vigorous State enforcement action and mandatory cleanup programs will also be
needed, and such action is now underway by the Department of Environmental
Regulation. On the 16th of this month, DER adopted rules for cradle-to-grave
management of hazardous wastes. These rules set standards for the generation,
transportation, treatment, storage, and disposal of hazardous wastes in our
State. In addition, the Hazardous Waste Policy Advisory Committee, which is
headed by former State Senator Buddy MacKay, is evaluating these problems and
programs and will make recommendations to our office and to the Legislature
for consideration in 1982. The potential for contamination of our ground
water by these wastes is a serious one we all share. I am proud that Florida
has initiated an aggressive response to this threat and that this response
will continue to be a priority for all of us.
Bill Safire, the political columnist with a talent for words in spite
of the fact that he was a speech writer for Claude Kirk, and maybe that is not
in spite of but because of his service to Claude Kirk, has a phrase in
response to tedious government topics. The phrase is "MEGO," and it stands
for "My Eyes Glaze Over." I can imagine for some of you, and certainly for
many of the taxpayers we serve, that when we talk about things as intangible
as water policies, comprehensive plans, and policy documents, that to many is
a "MEGO." Our job is to transfer these necessary programs and plans and
policies into the real world of action and to communicate effectively with the
public whose water resources are entrusted to us for management and
protection. We must act with caution, spending the public's money with care
and with the knowledge that water is the most precious source of Florida's
beauty, quality of life, and economic progress. This is no easy assignment
that we share. We have done a fine job under difficult conditions. These
challenges will continue.
There is a statement about an approach to government which was best
articulated by the former Speaker of the House, Terrill Sessums, who claimed
the only way you got action in government in Florida was to have a crisis; and
if you couldn't depend on somebody else to create the crisis, you needed to
start one of your own in order to create an environment for change. Ladies
and gentlemen, we do not have the luxury of waiting for a crisis, or of
creating a crisis, in order to deal with the effective management of our water
resources. We cannot wait until the tap is dry to reach a point when we will
be prepared to deal intelligently with the preservation and proper use of the
most vital resource in our State.
It is our responsibility to educate the public as to the importance of
the actions, and in some instances, of the sacrifices through financial
commitment and compliance with the regulatory schemes that are going to be
necessary to assure our and future generations of Floridians that we will have
an adequate supply of pure drinking water. Most importantly, in all of our
actions, we must continue to respect the fact that the water resources we
manage are a part of a natural system, a natural system of which each one of
us ip also an active partner. It is not assistance from which we can stand
hopelessly distant. The protection and preservation and life of fresh water
in Florida is a reflection of, and will be the determining factor in, the
preservation, enhancement, and quality of life for each Floridian.
WATER SUPPLY FOR THE FUTURE:
A QUESTION OF MORE WATER OR FEWER PEOPLE
HON. STANLEY HOLE, South Florida Water Management District Governing
HON. JACK DURRANCE, County Commissioner, Alachua County
MR. ALAN GOLD, Attorney, Greenberg, Traurig, Hoffman, Lipoff, Quentel &
HON. MAGGIE HURCHALLA, County Commissioner, Martin County
MR. ED KELLERMAN, Vice President, Ray L. Hart & Associates
COL. FRANZ ROSS, JR., Chairman of County Commission, Charlotte County
MR. HARRY A. STEWART, General Counsel, Broward County
The 1980-81 water shortage produced much publicity, some hardships and
more than a few concerns regarding whether this year was a freak drought
event, or whether central and southern Florida had outgrown its water supply.
Even with the safeguards for protecting the resource, the salinity
content of coastal water supplies increased, crops burned and water-dependent
businesses suffered. Lake Okeechobee dropped to its lowest recorded level and
local governments faced a whole new set of problems in enforcing conservation
Since the passage of the 1972 Water Resources Act, water management
districts have had the ability to permit consumptive use and surface water
management. The districts' roles had been limited to assuring the water use
request was for a reasonable-beneficial use, did not impact existing users and
was in the public interest.
New concerns began emerging that transcended the current water
shortage, however, including: Was it fair to allocate new uses at a time when
existing users were required to conserve? Should all users be cut back
equally, or should businesses that relied on water be allowed to maintain a
higher percentage of use? Had district and local governments done their jobs
planning for water shortages, growth needs and water supply facilities? Had
the water management districts been too liberal in issuing permits?
How could the relationship between the water management district
and local governments be better defined so as to protect the
water resources while supplying water to meet the needs consistent
with land use plans?
Should local governments begin to develop water supplies using
advanced technology (reverse osmosis, wastewater reuse, etc.) or
should they rely on augmented regional water resources to meet
demands now and in the future?
Would it be practical, feasible and/or desirable to rely on water
as a limiting resource in terms of growth and what roles should
the water management districts, local governments and water sup-
pliers play in growth decisions?
When first presented with a question of more water or fewer people, the
answer seemed pretty clear to me. The obvious answer is fewer people.
Unfortunately, we are not going to be able to deal with that. Florida is
growing. My county is one of the fastest growing in the nation. My
experience in that county is in dealing with land use issues and growth
control, and attempting to protect the environment and the quality of life (if
you can believe that Broward County has a quality of life).
In 1977, the Court, in a Moviematic Industries Corporation versus Dade
County case, addressed the issue of whether the preservation of an adequate
drinking water supply is a legitimate objection of zoning regulations. Zoning
regulations, of course, are one of the primary tools of growth control. The
Court answered for the first time that "yes, preservation of drinking water
supply is a valid consideration in the exercise of police power." Moviematic
is a very strong case to support that position.
The Water Resources Act was passed in 1972, but if there ever was an
important year for water management, it was in 1979 when there were two very
important cases decided. The Fourth District Court of Appeals decided the
City of Boca Raton versus Boca Villas Corporation case that dealt with a
40,000-dwelling unit cap that the city had established. The city had listed a
number of reasons as to why they thought 40,000 units were all that the city
could allow; one of the theories to support it was what they called "the water
crop." They wanted to limit the population based upon a budget of rainwater
that fell within the city limits. And the Court found that the record clearly
established, and this is the dictum that I find very important for the water
management districts, that water resources can and ultimately will be managed
regionally. They found that the cap established by the city, predicated upon
this preservation of water resources, was unnecessarily drastic to an area
water resource issue.
The other case that was decided in 1979 was the Village of Tequesta
suit. This case found that the right to the use of water does not carry with
it ownership of the water underlying the land. The Water Resources Act of
1972 recognized the common law right to water under the land, but it provided
for a two-year transitional period during which owners could come in and get
permits. The only right to water, as I see it in Florida, is a permit right,
not a property or a common-law right. What the Tequesta case stands for is a
permit right. The case seems to say that if you have a reasonable use of your
property and you use up the supply, you have not damaged potential users. It
is sort of a race to the water supply, or first come, first served. In that
case, there were some very interesting dictums written by Judge Atkins. He
found that the legislation limiting the right of ownership to the use of water
is in itself no more objectionable than legislation forbidding the use of
property for certain purposes. He equated the management of water to zoning,
and zoning has long been with us as a growth control tool. I believe the
coming of age of water management and the use of water resources as a growth
control tool took place in 1979 with those two cases.
The Tequesta case also raises several questions that are on our panel
charge. One of those is, "Should a water management district allocate new
uses when existing users are requested to conserve?" The Tequesta case's answer
to that question is an unequivocal "no." The Tequesta case stood for the
proposition that there is a first come, first served rule for the ground-water
aquifer. The City of Tequesta was using just about all the available ground
water when Jupiter Corporation came in and attempted to put down a well.
There was no more available water. Jupiter had to go into the deeper aquifer,
and the Court found that there was no property right violated.
The other question is whether or not all users should cut back equally.
This is a problem that each water management district faces in a water crisis
and is asking for conservation. This question is certainly more difficult to
answer than the first. How do you allocate uses to existing users? Should my
grass die while some farmer's lettuce lives? That is something that you are
going to have to look at from a purely economic standpoint. In the fern area
in Volusia County on a very cold night, many domestic wells are without water
because of the pumping of water to save the ferns. It drops the aquifer level
35 or 40 feet -- below the 90 feet that the domestic wells are drilled. They
are sucking air and the fern industry is protecting their ferns. When you get
that drastic, there is a difference in being without water and in having to
conserve water. I can let my grass go dry a little longer, or I can flush a
little less, but I cannot do without water altogether.
Based on existing laws, it is not only feasible but mandatory that we
begin to rely on water to limit growth. In a very recent case in Martin
County, an applicant came to the Court asking that a site plan be approved and a
building permit issued. The Fourth District Court of Appeals noted a county
engineer's report that said there was no viable water supply available. Noting
that, the Court said, "In view of that report, the County had no choice but to
deny the application." That is still another recent case saying that water is a
limit to growth.
How do you use water as a growth control tool? I suggest that the
directors of the various water management governing boards must first take an
inventory of the resource. In order to deny growth, you must know what you
have and what it can be used for, and a study to show what the damage would be
if it is overdrawn. Local governments should also use that information to
develop a plan to determine what uses and what densities can be supported in a
particular area. They have got to. be able to show that it can support the
density and not only that the supply is there, but also that the quality would
be maintained. We do not want to say that the last person in ruined it for
I know of no jurisdiction in the United States that requires a govern-
mental entity to augmentthe natural water supply for'any developer. The
Tequesta case is right in saying that it is on a first come, first served
basis. When we find that the natural water supply will not support any further
growth, I believe that if growth takes place, the developer and the newcomer
should pay for it. I see the water management districts as a keeper of the
funds. Local government should plan to grow and operate within the funds
available. When new funds are needed, whoever places that demand on the system
should provide those new funds to develop new water resources with new
I know that I cannot get my desire, and that would be fewer people, but
I believe that with the water management districts and the local government
working together, they can develop a plan for growth that will not only
protect the supply but also the quality of water.
The first question is, "How can we better define the water management
system?" and I think that the definition that we have now for the water
management districts is sufficient. What needs to be done is for the local
governments to more aggressively move toward coordination and cooperation with
the water management districts. When I first started this job, there was a
lack of cooperation and coordination. My natural inclination was to jump the
other guy; I tended to blame it on Southwest Florida Water Management
District. When I got into it more, I found the fault was entirely with the
county government. With that as a beginning, we began to coordinate and
cooperate more with Southwest. We recently agreed that one of the problems we
had was not keeping each other advised. For instance, Southwest would issue
well permits and the developer would begin to work, and we would know nothing
about it. On the other side of the coin, we would start work on a development
that was not of sufficient size to warrant attention by the regional planning
council, but it would be of interest to Southwest. Now we advise them as
quickly as we can on construction.
The pressure to build is tremendous, and it is pretty hard for five
county commissioners to stand against that tide, particularly when you realize
the political aspects of the situation. Of course, the State has within its
authority three different abilities to control growth. As an example, there
is the Land Sales group (Division of Land Sales and Condominiums, Florida
Department of Business Regulation) that issues permits for large developments.
A recent example that we had was in Rotunda West. They wanted to open up some
4,000 or 5,000 additional units that had been planned way back, and Land Sales
authorized the expansion. We were concerned because we knew that Rotunda West
was having a difficult time supplying water to what was already built. We got
in touch with Land Sales, and they came down to discuss the situation with us.
Land Sales said that they had been assured by the developer that by the time
they opened the area in 1983 or 1984, water would be available. I do not
think there is a good enough crystal ball to assure that a water supply will
be available three or four years ahead. We are working very closely with Land
Sales, and they are keeping us informed on the intentions of developers in our
area. This has really helped us reduce the pressure put on by developers;
they know we are in contact with Land Sales. Additionally, there is the
Department of Environmental Regulation with the authority to grant permits for
sewer plants. By controlling the permits for sewage plants, the State has an
ability to actually control growth.
An area that needs more exploring is the concept developed by the water
management districts about regional water supply councils. We approached this
rather gingerly at first, but the more we got into it, the more we realized
how necessary such an organization is. We have three coastal counties plus
the inland counties and all the parochial aspects of the problem. The three
inland counties have the water, and we need the water because we have the
population growth. What they fail to understand is that the majority of
people that come to Florida come not to run boats. They come for the sun.
When coastal areas reach a point where they have absorbed all they can, people
that come to the sun are going to move inland. Inland counties are soon going
to be in the same situation that coastal counties are now. We also have the
problem of growth in the agriculture and cattle industries in the inland
counties. When we sit down to a steak, we should consider how much water it
takes to develop a pound of steak. If you include the water needed to grow
corn and the water the cow drinks, you have some 3,500 gallons in one pound of
steak. There is no county in the State that is going to be free from growth
unless it is controlled by a coordinated effort of state and local government.
We need to develop technology to improve the reverse osmosis method.
If we get the same technology in water that the oil companies had to develop
when oil began to run short, we will be able to overcome the cost of
processing water. We thought for a long time that the United States had
sufficient oil to take care of all of its needs, but we all know now that the
use of oil outran production. The same situation is faced by the people of
Florida today. We are rapidly getting to a point where our recoverable water
supplies will not take care of the population.
The conservation of water is the most difficult part of the problem.
People are going to use water to the extent they can. We all recognize the
problem, but we need to present this problem in such a way to the public that
they will have the same concern that we have for it.
We might take a little bit of heart in the midst of this complicated
problem by reflecting for a moment on what is happening at a national level.
You read about acid rain in the Adirondacks and Colorado where these vinegar
downfalls are killing fish. You hear that a fourth of the nation's water
supply comes from the underground aquifers. And, as you well know, an aquifer
takes millions and millions of years to become usable and it can be depleted
in decades. The Ogallala aquifer that serves six states out west will be
depleted in the next 40 years. These problems are nationwide. Another rather
frightening thought to me is that the problems probably are not going to be
solved by hydrologists, by preachers, or any number of different kinds of
experts. Problems are going to be solved by politicians. But reflect for a
moment on our national posture: we have 70 congressional committees on water,
with no agreement and no policy. Even though many of us are quite concerned
about Florida, at least we have a framework here to come to grips with
In Florida, we still have the ingredients for disaster. About every
six minutes, there is a family of four that become permanent Florida residents.
A thousand people a day are becoming Florida residents. We all need to be
reminded that we are dealing with a rather fragile ecology. About four feet
of sand over some swampland is what we have, and we have competing political
units that are going to be addressing this problem.
We have the people down in south Florida and the water up north. With
every complicated problem, there is one good, simple answer, and it is always
wrong. A simple answer would be to either do away with people or to take the
water down south, but simple answers actually are not viable. At the outset,
we need to recognize they are not viable and that we cannot consider water as
an isolated planning tool. We must put in place a well-reasoned, rational
plan that will project the future needs for various localities. It must be
one that we can tie our legal positions to, and we need the water management
people to identify what water sources are available. We need to be able to
identify the values for various water uses. There are a lot of people in the
southern part of Florida that think there is unused water they can come up
here and take, but there is no water in Florida that is not being used. When
you take it away, you do damage. We do not have a highly sophisticated
appreciation for the extent of this damage. We need to gather data that can
be more easily understood and explained. We are going to have to bring the
water management boards, regional planning councils, and local governments
into rather close working relationships. Interchangeable appointments on
these boards are almost a necessity, and it pleases me very much to have the
Governor recognize the reality of not isolating water as a single management
tool. The problem is complex and there is a collision of values. I do not
know what value to put on a good fishing hole. I do know that about
38,000,000 people flee from the north each year to come down to the magic of
Florida. Some of the magic is this water visioned by many as not being used.
The skill with which we join together to document what our future needs are,
and to recognize the damage that is done when we disturb a fragile ecology,
will determine the Florida of the future.
Do any of you doubt that water is a limiting resource on development in
Florida -- not the limiting resource, perhaps, but certainly a limiting
resource? Anybody who is in the development business and is trying to get a
development permit from the South Florida Water Management District and wants
to start pumping water next week realizes that water is a limiting resource in
Many of you will remember ten years ago when that great discovery was
first made. Many of the people who were concerned with the general thing that
is called "the sophisticated complexity of the ecological web," which is
sometimes also called "keeping those people out so that won't mess up
Florida," discovered that water was a good way to do it. It was a great
discovery. It led to great conferences that started with the drought. The
drought got worse and worse and the Everglades were dying. South Florida was
dying, and there were big conferences, and everybody said "we have got to do
something about water." That was ten years ago, and here we are again. We
are doing it again in the same way, and how many of us will be here ten years
hence with another drought and the great discovery that we have got to do
something about water in south Florida? Let's hope we get through next
spring. It will certainly be educational for those of us who are dealing with
it. It will probably be followed by a good hurricane and it will rain for
four or five years, and at least 99 percent of the public will forget.
When the question was first asked, Bill Storch simply said, "No, water
is not a limiting factor. It is a matter of how much you are willing to pay
for it. Go find something else besides water to limit growth." With that, we
slid away to other interesting concerns. We began to look at "hardware"
solutions to water problems. We began to raise the levels of Lake Okeechobee
again, and in a much more sophisticated and, perhaps, more well-meaning way,
we began to do the same things we had done before the drought.
But here we are again, and I think that is going to be the pattern in
Florida before we find a solution. In this next ten years, we are going to
make a step forward, but it will be the drought ten years from now that forces
Florida to find the solution to its water problem. In the meantime, I am
concerned about my local community. I would like to find some solutions for
it even if we do not find any great solutions for Florida.
I do not believe that reverse osmosis plants can support the life-style
that people come to Florida for. We cannot afford to produce Florida water
instead of finding Florida water. You can use reverse osmosis water in certain
situations, perhaps for Dade and Broward and some of the other impacted areas
of Florida, but I do not believe that we can cover the State of Florida with
people at those densities and afford to produce water and end up with anything
like a reasonable economy or community.
In regard to the question, "How can the relationship between the water
management district and the local government be better defined?", I would like
some definition of that so that each local government can decide the question.
You can recycle wastewater through the electric plant, through the garden,
through the bathtub, through the wastewater plant, and round in all\sorts of
lovely circles that can work if you are willing to pay for it, and if you are
willing to live that way. I like wet places. I grew up in wet Florida. I
remember Dade County when you could not go anywhere without a boat in he 1947
flood, and I do not want Florida to become a dry place with produced water.
You may choose that for Florida and that is perfectly all right with me If you
can still give me my choice. In the next ten years, the only solution will be
local choices for local communities. What can the water management district
do about that? A lot of things. We can use something that we have been
hesitant to ask for. Local government needs to aggressively pursue the things
that the water management district can give us.
The current allocation system is an "Alice in Wonderland" situation. I
was in the water management district last spring during the drought and heard
them telling a gentleman that he had to close down his business because there
was a 25 percent cutback and there was nothing they could do about it. And
then they got to the normal approval of the staff recommendations, and one of
the members of the water management district Board looked up and said, "Where
are we going to get the water we are giving all these people?" There was a
sudden hesitancy and they decided to put the new requests all off for two
months. I presume they were duly issued two months later. And now we are
getting in the situation again where we will put everybody off until perhaps
next July, but what is going to happen next July? Hopefully, it will rain
again. The question of simply saying, "he who will ask in a reasonable way
for a beneficial use permit can have whatever is there" is not going to solve
From one local government viewpoint, the thing we can use most is an
inventory. Tell us what we have. It need not be an expensive or
sophisticated inventory that takes 20 years -- at which point we will have
studied the demise of the resource we were inventorying. Tell us what a water
problem is and let us use zoning, land use, and all the other powers that we
have in local government as one of the limiting factors in deciding land use.
There is one other area besides an inventory: tell us what we have and make
us face the facts. You might tell us what it will cost if we decide to
produce it. You might also tell us what kind of world we live in, but it is
probably our political job to know that.
The other thing you might provide is software. I sat in another
meeting where we discussed the various solutions to the drought, and I
recognized that there were no solutions when we were actually in the drought.
You try cloud seeding or deep well injection because if it works, it works,
and what else is there to try? We were also talking about the fact that lawn
watering is the bane of existence of anybody interested in wetness in south
Florida. If you could take all of the lawn waterers and rush them off
somewhere, you would not have a problem. It is not simple to say we will not
allow people to water lawns because people will kill to water their lawns.
They call us, not you. We are the ones that have to enforce that ordinance.
We need to look at some software from those water management districts which
have the technical expertise to give it to us. Tell us how to plan and
restrict a development so the whole piece of land is not bare. I can show you
one 100-acre development that has twice the water use of an adjacent 100-acre
development. One of them was entirely cleared and it will be totally watered
for the rest of time. It will have double the water use of its neighbor, which
left some palmettos. We have almost educated people to the fact that
palmettos are not evil and they do not breed rattlesnakes. If we can get the
kind of software package that shows that if five or ten percent is left in
native vegetation and not watered, it will be much cheaper and provide
happiness for everybody because the developer will not have to pay the cost of
clearing, landscaping, and watering. Those are some of the things you can
give us. If the water management district will give local government the
choices, inventory, and the technical backup, then we can either botch it or
not, and we can find out in what sort of place we live.
You may say this is a parochial approach and that this does not answer
the question because water is regional. Water is also very local. There are
some large regional concerns, but when you get down to it, a very small local
area or a single county can stay happily wet while the county down the way can
I bring a different perspective than some of the other earlier
speakers. We have a complex problem that is really statewide, and yet we have
management districts by drainage boundaries. Your underground source of water
probably has no significant relationship to the geographical boundaries of the
district. I think we are going to need a lot of cooperation between the
The role of the management districts should be to develop to the utmost
all basic natural supplies. We have an average of 55 to 60 inches of rainfall
every year over most of Florida. South Florida gets a little bit more than
some. Consumptive use throughout the State is 3.5 inches maximum. Where does
the rest of our water go? A large part of it is lost through evapotranspira-
tion, but there are better than 17 inches remaining that we have available to
control and to use. As much as 10 to 15 inches of rainfall go to salt water
through runoff and through ground-water seepage.
I am satisfied that the engineering technology is available to better
utilize rainfall. The management districts are working hard in that area.
They are new agencies in the field of development and preservation of this
beautiful rainfall that we have. They really have not had their inventories
completed for any length of time, but they are doing a lot of work in that
area. I think we are going to see a more positive emphasis on the part of the
management districts to conserve and develop the supplies that we do have
available. I am suggesting that water supply need not be a limiting factor to
growth. The knowledge and the wherewithal to utilize the rainfall can be made
available in a relatively short time. Let us use our energy and resources to
make sure we have a lot of water.
Some areas of the State have less water than other areas. I am not
going to suggest that we bring water from Rainbow Springs down to southern
Dade County or that we ignore the possibility of diverting some of that fresh
water that runs out to the ocean to areas where it can be economically
practical. We do not need all the fresh water that goes to the sea. We do
need a certain amount of fresh water to keep the estuaries happy, but this can
be properly managed. I encourage the management districts to devote their
energies and efforts to making available the water supplies that are needed by
the local communities. Local communities have to be told we have so much
supply available. I think that is an ongoing and effective tool for local
government, but I would like to believe that the local political climate must
be the ultimate control for growth. If the people in one area do not want any
more growth, let those people say there will be no more growth. I hate to
hear it said there will be no more growth because we cannot supply the water.
Being an engineer, I like to think that we are smart enough to develop the
water supplies to meet the needs of the State of Florida without damaging the
If Harry Stewart says there ought to be less people, then I guess
everybody would expect me to say there ought to be more water if we are
willing to pay the price. But I cannot give you, anymore than Harry can, such
a simple explanation to such a complicated and emotional problem. I can bring
you some concerns from the private side. One of the great concerns that the
private side has is to hear some county engineer say, "I'm sorry that site
plan cannot be approved because there is simply no viable water supply here."
What is fact and what is fiction? I think that the State of Florida has made
significant progress in addressing these crucial issues which have so many
ramifications and implications for our personal freedom under the federal and
My premise is that local government should not be permitted to limit
its growth solely on its own evaluation of water supply. I believe, as the
Second District said in the Pinellas County versus Lake Padgett Pines case
(which recognized that water was vital to human existence and that water
resource problems vary from one region to another), that it is desirable
to have these determinations made on a regional rather than a county or
I am very concerned about the potential for arbitrary action based on
incomplete facts or planning. Harry Stewart mentioned the case in Boca Raton.
Boca Raton wanted to limit its growth and tried to do so on a water-crop
theory. The Court, in a landmark decision for which everyone waited for
years, indicated something which I think is very important. It said, "Water
resources will not depend upon a budget which Boca Raton or other cities may
impose, but rather will depend upon hard social choices involving agricultural
priorities, environmental demands, quantity of water used in various sectors,
and the cost which society is willing to pay."
There are unresolved issues which directly relate to southeastern
Florida's water demands and resources. A cap predicated on preservation of
water resources is a preliminary and an unnecessarily drastic solution to an
area-wide problem. What we have now under Chapter 373 and under our Local
Government Comprehensive Planning Act does not go far enough to address what I
think is a substantial act of intergovernmental coordination on this regional,
vital issue affecting all of us. On one side of the ledger, we have Chapter
373. We have a commitment and a mandate for the Department of Environmental
Regulation to prepare a State Water Use Plan. We had a State water use
policy adopted recently under Chapter 17-40 of the Florida Administrative
Code. We have water management district plans prepared pursuant to Chap-
ter 373 and t at Administrative Code chapter, but what is the interrelationship
between those plans and the plans of local government? Is there a clear
relationship whereby one of those plans mandates what the water budget will be
for a particular area? Is there a requirement that regional water supply
authorities prepare coordinated potable element plans for the various cities
or counties uhder its jurisdiction, pursuant to the Local Government
Comprehensive Planning Act? There is not.
One of the real failures we have is not listening to what the Local
Government Comprehensive Planning Act actually says. A mandatory element is
the preparation of a future land use element, and there is also a mandatory
element for potable water. The statute says very clearly that this element
must be correlated to principles and guidelines for future land use and must
indicate ways to provide for future potable water requirements. The statute
says this element shall describe the problem, needs, and general facilities
that will be required to solve the problem. The act is very clear in saying
all these elements must be coordinated and consistent. The act also expressly
states that the coordination of local government plans with the comprehensive
plan of the region and of the State shall be a major objective of the planning
process. Local governments have been sorely deficient in meeting the inter-
governmental coordination element of their comprehensive plans. Lip service
has been paid to that element. The result is little or no real coordination
with the State Water Plan, or with the water management district plans.
This is contrary to the intentions of the State legislature in
Section 373.198 which demands coordination and cooperation between municipali-
ties, counties, water management districts, and the Department of
Environmental Regulation in order to meet the water needs of rapidly
urbanizing areas in a manner which is reasonable and beneficial. I am going to
propose today that this be corrected and that local governments, by amend-
ment to the Local Government Comprehensive Planning Act, be mandated to update
the potable water element in order to meet specific criteria in that new
legislation. Regional water supply authorities should also have to join
together to meet the mandate of the Local Government Comprehensive Planning
The criteria used is not that difficult. It is already set out in 373
for the preparation of the State plan. It is applicable both to the water
management district portion of the State plan and to the local government
portion of the district plan. Part of the criteria should be a determination,
utilizing the criteria under 373.036, of the water budget for that area of the
plan. Within that water budget, there should be clear and definitive
allocations of water uses for competing land uses so that we can deal with what
it is we really mean to talk about at political meetings. If local government
wants to limit growth on the basis of water availability, it should be part of
its potable water element and justified with factual data. Local government
cannot do this in a vacuum. Water management districts should be given greater
authority to help local governments coordinate this goal and to help the State
of Florida implement its State plan and State water policy.
In considering this new potable water element, the water management
districts must really look at their water budget for the district. They have
to consider the extent to which this water budget should be allocated to meet
the plans of local government. They should consider how additional water could
be allocated and what alternatives are available, what the impacts are, and
what the costs are in an economic and an environmental sense. They should
set forth clearly the financial alternatives to help local government meet the
needs of its population and future water resources. They should also consider,
to the extent that it is reasonable under the State plan and as already
provided for under the State water policy, the transport of water across
district lines. Local plans should be made consistent with the water
management district plans and with the State plan. This should also be
commented upon by the regional planning councils because they must make their
plans consistent with the water management district plans.
We are talking not only about water rights, but about basic human
rights. Before any of us assumes the responsibility for determining who should
and should not come, we must know that our decision is based upon the best
facts that we can make available, and upon the most reasoned decision which can
be offered. This is the essence of our constitutional protections, and if we
begin to sacrifice this at a local level, we will have to deal with these very
One of the serious deficiencies in our Local Government Comprehensive
Planning Act is a lack of any real enforcement. In fact, comments and
suggestions may be given by agencies and they can be ignored or subject to
whatever challenge somebody may give by filing suit. I think that enforcement
for comprehensive plans adopted by local governments should be mandated through
the State Land Planning Agency and that their office should be augmented. I
think there is a duty to enforce comprehensive plans in a meaningful way.
Mr. Chairman, before we end, I would like to make a couple of remarks.
I am reminded of an old adage that says, "There are liars, there are damned
liars, and then there are statisticians." I would suggest that may also apply
to hydrologists. I have seen hydrologists come in to tell us that we are out of
water and then have the hydrologist on the developer's side say we have plenty
of water. The case I spoke of where there was no viable water source did not
involve Mr. Gold because Alan comes in with two engineers, three hydrologists,
a gaggle of planners, and at least one economist, and they can prove that there
is plenty of water.
The water management districts do not have to tell us that we have a
problem; they have to tell us the extent of the problem, and what the supply
is. When we get a challenge from local government and we deny a development
because of a lack of water or any resource, we have got to be able to back it
up in court. We get yanked into the courthouse, and the developers put on the
same dog and pony show that they put on in front of the planning commission.
I put on the same dog and pony show that the commission staff puts on
and we lose a lot. You have got to be able to show that the problem exists.
You cannot just say we do not have a viable water supply; you have got to show
that it is the limiting factor. You must show that there is going to be damage
to that resource if this development goes forward. You have got to have a
fairly detailed study because the developer who owns 200 or 300 acres down in
south Florida (which is probably now selling if it is under water most of the
year, for about $150,000 an acre) has an investment and he is going to spend
the bucks. He is going to bring his people in to fill the room; they are
going to have all the pretty pictures and the hydrologists. If we are sitting
up there saying, "I just do not believe there is water there," I can guarantee
you that the development is going to take place. You have got to be able to
identify, as Alan has pointed out, what is fact and what is fiction, and you
have got to be able to back it up with expert testimony. We need the water
management districts to help supply that expert testimony.
I want to thank the panel members for being here and contributing to
this and Sandra Close for the coordination work in putting in on.
REGIONAL WATER SUPPLY AUTHORITIES:
BANE OR BLESSING?
HON. BRUCE SAMSON, Chairman, Southwest Florida Water Management
District Governing Board
MR. GERALD A. FIGURSKI, Attorney, Pasco County
MS. JEANETTE HAAG, Attorney, Withlacoochee Regional Water Supply
MR. GENE HEATH, General Manager, West Coast Regional Water Supply
HON. STANLEY HOLE, Governing Board Member, South Florida Water
MR. TOM LAWTON, self-employed
MR. DALE H. TWACHTMANN, Administrator of Tampa Water Resources & Public
Works, City of Tampa
Chapter 373, Florida Statutes, provides that a regional water supply
authority may be developed for the purpose of developing, storing and
supplying water for county or municipal purposes in such a manner as will give
priority to reducing adverse environmental effects of excessive or improper
withdrawals of water from concentrated-areas. The regional water supply
authorities are formed voluntarily by interlocal agreement entered into by the
affected local governments. An authority may levy ad valorem taxes, acquire
water rights, exercise the power of eminent domain and issue revenue bonds,
upon the approval of the electors. To date, two regional water supply
authorities have been established: the West Coast Regional Water Supply
Authority serving Pasco, Pinellas and Hillsborough counties, and the
Withlacoochee Regional Water Supply Authority serving Hernando, Citrus,
Marion, Sumter and Levy counties.
Has the regional water supply authority administrative system
proved to be of benefit in meeting the challenges of developing,
storing and supplying water for county and municipal areas
while reducing environmental damage?
What is the most desirable composition for the board of a
regional water supply authority?
What are the implications of allowing regional water supply
authorities' boundaries to extend into more than one water
management district? Should this be allowed?
What are your thoughts on these alternative administrative
systems which can serve the needs of regional water supply:
a. Water management districts acting as water supply authorities;
b. A State water supply authority; and
c. Regional water supply authorities being allowed to directly
serve private utilities?
The idea for regional water supply authorities originated in the
Southwest Florida Water Management District 10 or 12 years ago. I helped
originate them, and now I guess I must serve a continuing penance.
We came up with the idea because we could see that St. Petersburg was
going to send a water pipeline up into Pasco County; Pinellas County's water
system was going to send a pipeline up into Hillsborough or Pasco County; and
the City of Tampa was going to send a pipeline up into northern Hillsborough
or Pasco County; and we could envision these spaghetti-like mazes of pipelines
all going northward. The only sensible answer was, and it was my plan, that
the water management district become a water supplier. My thinking was that
if a water management district were to build a dam, it would have provided
water from the dam to municipalities. We were buying a lot of land for flood
control purposes and had the very intelligent idea of putting in well fields
on the land, so why shouldn't we be in the water supply business? It all made
quite a lot of good sense, but it was awfully hard to do.
Once the Southwest Florida Water Management District got in the
regulatory business, we felt we needed to get out of the water supply
business. We had to form a regional water supply authority. And it has done
an excellent job of being the wholesaler that finds new water supply sources
and eliminates the competition of several purveyors going after it. You have
only one group that goes after the water, and everyone else contracts with
that group for water. I believe it works fine.
I have been convinced that the water authority is the answer to the
problems we have in south Brevard. In our area, tomorrow arrived yesterday as
far as our water situation is concerned. We are in serious trouble from both
a quality and a quantity standpoint. An even more serious problem is that you
cannot get nine or ten communities in a county to work together to resolve a
water problem. It is going to take some funding and some work outside the
county, and I think that a water authority is the only thing that will pull
these various interests together to solve the problem.
From an environmental standpoint, I believe that it protects the
environment, but that is almost incidental because the water management
districts have as one of their charges the protection of the environment. You
are not going to get water in this quantity without a consumptive use permit.
The environment is thus considered.
It was on June 10 last year, about 9:33 in the morning, that the South
Florida Water Management District somehow became, in effect, a water supply
authority for the Florida Keys. The District has been reasonably successful
in meeting the challenge of supplying water for a particular service area with
minimal environmental damage.
I was talking to someone about this session and I read the title,
"Water Supply Authorities: Blain (as in Buddy) or Blessing." They did not
blink an eye because that makes sense too.
We have developed a 45-million gallon per day capacity facility, and we
did it in five years. It actually came on line in four years, was ahead of
schedule, and within the budget. Last year, we provided 16 billion gallons of
water to our customers, primarily in St. Petersburg and Pinellas County, and
in Pasco County by way of Pinellas County.
The panel charge said nothing about economics, but it is critical to
the performance of a water supply authority. Our average cost to our
customers per thousand gallons is 380. Our rate has increased about two
percent this year, and our administrative cost is approximately 1 per
thousand gallons. As far as environmental damage goes, we have spent $2
million on the environmental assessment studies, monitoring, and the ongoing
monitoring facilities. That is about 15 percent of the cost of the total
project. With the scale of our operations, that cost has not been inordinate.
We have an excellent opportunity to solve problems ten years in the
future. Our knowledge about water resources in the Tampa Bay area has
probably increased on the order of five-fold so we are about 500 percent
smarter than we were ten years ago. That does not mean that we are smart
enough to be able to predict what will happen 20 years from now. The
knowledge we have has come primarily because a regulatory agency and a
development agency such as ours, got together and had a common goal to be
approached from different perspectives. The common goal was to protect the
resource, and that has been accomplished. The contribution of the authority
has been to lessen political turmoil and to allow the technological people to
go about learning and not setting a priority or providing a political
solution. If you force technological people to set that kind of priority,
they will fail because that is not in keeping with their expertise.
Credibility in the eyes of the public is also destroyed when you get into that
kind of situation. The emphasis is on expertise in the technological areas
where it belongs. The policy decisions are left to others.
I also wanted to mention that we started by considering that local
governments would develop and implement independent sources of supply. But
when there are independent plans going forward, conflict is inevitable.
The authority has a regional water supply plan for 40 years. We are
currently updating that plan, and what we are looking at is something that
fits into the long-range plan and which can be implemented. Every three to
four years, we go back and look at our master plan.
I am the attorney for the other regional water supply authority. We
have not yet gotten into water supply, but our authority members from Sumter,
Citrus, Hernando, Levy, and Marion counties are firmly committed to the idea
of the regional water supply authority.
Our water supply authority was founded out of the concern that when
people to the south of us ran out of water, they thought you could just keep
going north. When you run out of water in Pasco, you drill for it in
Hernando; if you run out in Hernando, you go to Citrus; and then to Levy. It
is really a very narrow view of the problem. We were also shocked by the
Withlacoochee Regional Water Management Study that came out of the Southwest
Florida Water Management District. In that study, they indicated how to spot
the water-rich areas in our counties and how to ship it down to the water-
needy counties of Pinellas, Pasco, and Hillsborough. That was a wonderful
study if you were living in Pinellas, Pasco, and Hillsborough, but it was
terrible if you were living in our five counties. The problem with the study
was that it did not address what water those five counties would need in the
year 2020. We began then to formulate our own regional water supply
authority, and not necessarily as a block to coming up into our area. There
are some of our members that believe that it should be blocked. Mostly, we
felt, however, that if you are going to plan on a statewide basis, then you
should also look at the area you are taking water from.
We went to Congress and got them to authorize a $300,000 study for a
water inventory in our five-county area. We need to know what our supplies
are so we can adequately plan for our future growth and also how to approach
the problem if someone else beyond the five-county area needs water. That
study is coming to an end, and we are very optimistic about what it is
showing. It is, for example, going to point out some 19 or 20 demand areas
that we need to address immediately. We are one of the few governmental
entities that finds itself in front of a disaster that is coming. Rather than
having to react to a crisis and then start planning, we are ahead of the game.
If we get some assistance from the management districts and an emphasis on
regional planning from the state level, you are going to find that the
regional water supply authority concept is not so scarey.
West Coast was born out of the water wars and out of adversity. Our
water authority was given birth out of a cooperative feeling to plan for the
future. It can be done. We have to convince our management districts, if
they are not already convinced, that it is not so bad an idea to have regional
water supply authorities. We do need to get away from individual water plans
to a larger concept of regional planning. Keep the elected officials and
counties involved because we are the people who, when you run out of water,
"they" will be coming to for answers. We will be getting into the water
supply business within the next couple of years. We have our hydrologists and
engineers, and we feel that we are ahead of the problem.
Mr. Samson, you have now heard five speakers in favor of the regional
water supply authority. I guess five to one is not a bad score.
Although I served with the "heathen" as an assistant county attorney
in Pinellas County for three years, I am the attorney for Pasco County and
have been for almost four years. Pasco is one of the three counties that make
up the West Coast Regional Water Supply Authority. To a large extent, Pasco
County has been supplying Pinellas County with water. Pasco has been feeling
that it has been giving more than it has been receiving. Those of you who
are familiar with West Coast Regional know the conflicts and the water wars
that we have experienced over the last several years.
The key word is benefit: Has this regional water supply system been of
benefit to Pasco County? The question can be answered in two manners. From a
theoretical and long-term perspective, the answer must be that the regional
water supply authority can be of benefit because it can attack problems of
supply from a regional perspective and without as great an effect on the
environment, fragmentation of efforts, duplication, or waste. It can tie
together an area with loops of pipe and be able to act quickly in times of
emergency. I cannot be opposed to that because I guess it ranks along with
motherhood, apple pie, the American way, hot dog, and the Chevrolet.
However, I would still like to present to you the second approach which
says the answer depends upon your perspective. The merits of West Coast, the
only active regional water supply authority in the state, or the benefit of
any regional water supply authority, does not really depend upon the merits of
that particular institution. It depends on how the community perceives that
particular institution in terms of previous interactions and rewards. The
question is not whether a regional water supply authority administrative
system is of benefit, but to whom that regional water supply authority is of
If you look at the facts in any particular area and see that (a) all
parties have indeed worked together before on common issues and concerns,
(b) those experiences in the past have been mutually rewarding, and (c) today's
service is being provided to all and all are receiving rewards, the answer is
that the regional water supply authority administrative system has proved to be
of benefit. If, on the other hand, there is no history of previous interaction
or rewards, then the answer has to be in the negative. To make my point, look
at West Coast Regional. There is between Pasco and Pinellas, and probably
Hillsborough also, no previous history of good interaction on common concerns
and problems. The next question is who is the water serving, who benefits, and
who is rewarded. Throughout much of the history, or during all the history of
West Coast Regional, it has been Pinellas County that has most greatly
benefited. St. Petersburg has also benefited, but probably more than anyone
else, it had good, cheap water to start with. It needed some but not as much
as others. Hillsborough and the City of Tampa are just beginning to use West
Coast Regional Water Supply Authority. Pasco County is receiving water by
virtue of a contract between Pinellas County and a private, wholesale
distributor called the Pasco Water Authority. The water came from the central
part of Pasco, looped down into Pinellas County, then up to the West Coast of
Pasco County. For a long time, this has been a thorn in the side of people in
Pasco County. Only now is Pasco County considering signing its first contract
with West Coast Regional in order to allow that agency to develop and operate
the well field that exists in Pasco County.
The reaction of each county or city has to be predicated on its need for
water. Without need, there is no reward. Without rewards, you must conclude
that there is no benefit simply because it is not mutually rewarding. There is
no benefit to Pasco where water is being withdrawn; if there is any damage to
the environment, that damage is obviously occurring within Pasco County. As
Pinellas and other partners within the West Coast Regional family have been
developing and utilizing water, Pasco has been a virgin territory. People who
own property there see their water going away. Pasco is just going through the
process of developing a Water Element which will probably be adopted later this
year. Pasco's engineer and hydrologists have suggested that the point has been
reached where greater consideration needs to be given to limiting exportation
of water outside of Pasco County. But it continues to occur, and not only
can Pasco say that for the past there have been no benefits, they can also
say that they are having problems with the future. From Pasco's perspective,
there has not been good interaction. There is less representation from Pasco
than from the other areas, but Pinellas and Hillsborough argue there is equal
representation based on population. We have not, except through the private
authority, received water from the regional authority. Pasco residents are
worried about their future water needs, and West Coast Regional has probably
been dysfunctional in terms of bringing the area together. For Pasco, the
regional water supply authority system has not proved to be of benefit.
Whether or not that conclusion changes will depend on the regional water
supply authority providing benefits for Pasco County. Pasco will probably
sign that contract with the regional authority and the benefits will begin to
One of the best things about groups like regional water supply
authorities is people like Gene Heath who approach the development of water
in a very professional and straightforward manner. However, the true test
will come when the regional water supply authority and Southwest Florida
Water Management District must, for the first time, face the question of what
happens when Pasco, or West Coast Regional on behalf of Pasco, goes to the
District and say there is no longer any water in the area and that you will
need to transport water from Hernando, Citrus or LEvy. Will West Coast
Regional and its members at that point give up their sources of water in
Pasco County so that residents of Pasco can have cheap water, or will Pasco
continue to watch its water go south while it must pay for water from some
other area? When that question is answered, Pasco will be able to answer
whether or not West Coast Regional's administrative system is of benefit to
The most desirable composition of the Board has been a much debated
item concerning the West Coast Regional Water Supply Authority. We have two
major cities and three counties represented on the Board. This first
authority got put together by the impetus of those five governments because
they were the five major purveyors of water. Each of the boards of county
commissioners chose to select a member of its own body to sit on the
authority board. The Mayor of Tampa appointed me (the only non-elected
official on that Board), and the Mayor of St. Petersburg has served.
Although it is much criticized because it carries forward political wars
going on between those governments into the Regional Water Supply Authority
arena, this is one of the few times we all sit at one table. We enjoy each
other and we get along even if it is from time to time tenuous. There are
conflicts, but we have accomplished things because we were there. I do not
see anything wrong with the system. Having elected officials on the Board is
extremely valuable because they become the spokesmen to explain the problem
to their own Board. It is not like hearing about what went on from someone
who is from another tier of government. Conflict has, in our case, bred
From a local standpoint, I could support an authority appointed by
elected officials of the municipalities and the counties involved. I am a
bit sensitive, however, because I live outside the municipality that serves
me. None of us has a voice in the service, quality, price, or any other
aspect of it. Only if you live within that municipality can you put your
hand on the guy that is deciding your fate. In some way or another, I would
like to have the Authority be responsive to me.
I think the elected officials should appoint representatives and the
representatives should not hold public office.
I am very satisfied with the Board's composition. Another motto I
like is "Elected officials who are kept in the know, enable you to keep
projects on the go." Having elected officials at the Board table
accomplishes that because the elected officials are in control of our local
utility systems that distribute the water. They are the ones who every year
vote on the rate increases for water. We have to go to them to enter into
any contractual arrangement whereby they pledge revenues to the bond issue
which is going to build any type of utility facilities.
We believe in elected officials being on the authority because things
happen more efficiently that way. We are funded by our member counties, and
it is not difficult to go before a member county asking for funding if one of
their county commissioners is actually on that water authority. There is a
feeling in our five-county area that if the taxpayers are paying for it, they
ought to have an elected official looking after the purse. We have a problem
with appointees; if they are being appointed by the elected officials, that
is one thing, but if they are being appointed by someone other than a local
elected official, you have a problem with people responding. People can
respond to elected officials who go wrong: they don't vote for them again.
Politicians, and I mean that in the best sense of the word, are best
tuned to very controversial, political kinds of topics. Even though Pasco
County has only one-third the population of Pinellas, the representation
should be equal in number because Pasco is the supplying county. That
contribution needs to be recognized. As the rewards grow, greater cohesion
will hopefully develop. It can lead to equal representation based on
Our next charge is, "What are the implications of allowing regional
water supply authorities' boundaries to extend into more than one water
I really don't know how to avoid it. Ground-water boundaries are not
the same as surface water boundaries. It would be more convenient for an
authority to be entirely inside one water management district, but it isn't
If the coast is going to live and survive, we are going to have to
move water from the inside out.
The boundaries of the water supply authority should follow the water
supplies. We might have to look at the water management district boundaries
When our authority was created, it was intended that the needs of the
three-county area could be met from within the counties and without causing
adverse effects. We were supposed to spread out the pumping and not have
concentrated withdrawals. Matching needs with resources was the purpose in
setting up the authority.
The State Water Policy speaks to this subject. It encourages
development of local and regional water supplies within the district. You
should maximize the use of the water resources locally. We have learned a
lot in attempting to do this.
One of the things that happened to the Withlacoochee Regional Water
Supply Authority when it was trying to get formulated was that three water
management districts said, "Wait a minute. This is going to be terrible
because you are going to fall within three different districts. Our basin
board lines are sacrosanct, and don't you dare do that." Water supply isn't
based on the basin concept. Ground water has nothing to do with the boundary
lines for the management districts.
We do lie in three water management districts. If all the districts
were uniform in their approach to consumptive use permitting and rules and
regulations, what difference would it make if a water authority fell in three
of them? Since our inception, asking for financial assistance or help from
the management districts always produces the same answer, "You are in three
management districts, and we do not want to do something here that is not
done in another." We would like to see uniformity within the management
districts. They serve a critical function, but let's make them uniform.
What are your thoughts on these alternative administrative systems for
the needs of regional water supply: (a) water management districts acting as
water supply authorities; (b) a State water supply authority; and (c) region-
al water supply authorities being allowed to directly serve private
Water management districts acting as water supply authorities
originally seemed to make a lot of sense. We were building flood control
facilities and making our lands available for well fields. This is still a
great idea because we want to make multiple use of flood control lands, and
those are good places to put well fields. It made a lot of sense originally
to have the water management district be the regional water supply
authority. But when the Water Resources Act in 1972 gave the water
management districts regulatory authority, the situation changed. In the
Southwest and the South Florida water management districts, the regulatory
effort is now a major activity. When we first started, the building of flood
control works and doing water conservation were the major efforts. Regula-
tory is almost as big or bigger now than all of those constructed works.
Therp i'~a conflict of in iin the water eing both
a a er ulator becau h
emselves. It would not e appropriate to move the regulatory effort to the
epartmen of Environmental Regulation. The regulatory effort cannot be that
far removed from the people being regulated.
A state water supply authority is as bad as statewide regulatory
authority; it is just too far removed and does not operate as efficiently as
the water management districts can. A regional water supply authority being
allowed to directly serve private utilities has got some interesting twists
to it, but I really do not think the regional water supply authorities, as
wholesalers, should ever be in the water treatment business. Cities and
counties with water purveying capabilities want to be in the treatment
business. If you remove the control of treatment from the county or
municipality, then the people who want to complain about their water bill or
water quality cannot go to their local government.
The water authority should control water from the well head to the
faucet, and the water management districts can never get into something that
detailed. They are having enough trouble with Chapter 373. In regard to a
State water supply authority, I think the Department of Environmental
Regulation needs to establish policies that guide us but that will be enough.
When the day comes that you really get arrested for taking a bucket of water
out of the Suwannee, then I guess we will need a State water supply
authority to protect us all.
On water supply authorities being allowed to directly serve private
utilities, I say "from where else would they get their water?" As to the
level of treatment, I am not hung up whether you want to give them raw or
treated water. I have seen it work both ways. On a State water supply
authority, my answer is "no."
Water management districts are water supply authorities whether they
like it or not. Any water management district concerned with environmental
issues, surface water management, or recharge is a water supply authority.
Most of the water supplies in Central and Southern Florida are subsurface
waters, but they are directly influenced by the surface water. Because you
are adopting rules saying how much water can run off, you are also adopting
rules saying how much water is going to be left and, thus, water management
districts are water supply authorities.
Whether you want to carry it to being the supplier of water to private
or public utility companies is a local question, but the districts are very
close to being the true water supply authorities. Rather than asking if the
water management districts should act as a water supply authority, it should
be, "Should the water management districts act as a water management
The statute, as presently written, prohibits us from local
distribution. We were created for the purpose of developing, storing, and
supplying water for county or municipal purposes; that has been interpreted
to mean that we would not directly supply private industry. We can provide
water to a private utility, but we have to first go through a municipality or
the local government.
On a State water supply authority, I think government agencies should
be built slowly and go through growing pains. More importantly, we have
statutes that provide for orderly water and utility development. We have
legislation for the water management districts, water supply authorities, a
State water policy, and the Department of Environmental Regulation, plus the
regional planning councils. They can work together to resolve and properly
manage and develop water resources. We have got everything we need.
We do not see serving private utilities as a problem. We see our
function to be serving counties and municipalities, and we feel that we can
do whatever is appropriate to get water to private utilities. We are not
interested in treating water or in distributing the water right to the
household. We want to supply raw, potable water.
We ought to see if a regional water supply authority works first
before adding another level of State government such as a State water supply
authority. The regional water supply authority is in existence now. You
know who your representative is and it is on a local level where the water
On the question, "Should water management districts act as water
aupply authorities," we have got to keep in mind that there is a big
difference between regulating and being a consumptive user. How can a
management district regulate itself? That would be a terrible burden to
place upon a district. They need to be the regulator, to tell the local
governments what they can do, and to give us guidance and support for local
management. That is what they are there for, and that is what they should
You need to separate regulation from supply, and the closer a
regulating or a supplying agency is to the people and to local concerns, the
better off you are. A State water supply authority would be too far away.
As I work with my board of county commissioners and watch what flows out of
Tallahassee, I get concerned about anything that goes on up here. If you
love the law and you love sausage, you should not watch either one being
On allowing supply authorities to directly serve private utilities, my
response is, "no, because water supply is limited." It ought to be managed
by government. One might argue that private utilities can do a better job,
but ultimately counties and cities get involved in taking over the systems by
acquiescence, condemnation, or purchase of the private utilities. That, we
found, is an expensive proposition. Western Pasco County was being served by
a private wholesale water authority that had a contract with Pinellas County.
The water came out of central Pasco, looped down into Pinellas, and then back
to the west side of Pasco County to the private utility. When the citizens
of Pasco County decided they wanted the county in the business, they adopted,
by referendum, a bond issue. The county ended up condemning both the water
authority's interest in their pipeline and their interest in the water supply
contract with Pinellas County. Evaluation and condemnation was $15,500,000,
but we settled it for $10,500,000.
I was one of the group who worked on the 1974 legislation providing
for regional water supply authorities. We considered carefully whether or
not the supply authority could supply water to private utilities. The
problem we saw was that if there is a wholesale supplier bringing water to
private utilities, there was a danger that the Public Service Commission
would establish jurisdiction over the rates of retail water. There are
periodic attempts at legislation which would give jurisdiction to the Public
Service Commission over the regulation of governmental water suppliers who
furnish water to private individuals or to utility companies. Is there not a
real danger that supplying private utilities with wholesale water might
involve regulation by the Public Service Commission?
The regulation that would probably result would be upon the private
utilities. The water supply authority's role is to bring raw water to the
utility. We have a number of private, non-profit water companies attempting
to serve some of our coastal areas and they are running out of water. We see
the need, whether the county or the water supply authority does it, to bring
water to those companies. What regulations they are under when the water
gets to them may be something the water supply authority should be concerned
with because it might impact on our responsibility.
We do not have regional water supply authorities in our district at
this time, and it is hard for me to believe, with all the good things I have
heard here about regional water supply authorities, that the House of
Representatives two years ago passed a bill to abolish them.
South Florida Water Management District is in the regional water
supply business with the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority. Is the fox
guarding the hen house?
I think it is but because of the character of our Governing Board, the
makeup of our staff, and the concern our district has for management of the
resource, I think it is fair and it works well. Our District was the first
to apply constraints against itself (as a utility) even when the best thing
for that utility would have been to sell all the water it could.
I am a resident of imperial Polk County. We are on top of the
Would you advise me, as a resident of Polk County, to go along with
the idea that we, as a water-rich county, become a partner in a regional
water authority with counties such as Charlotte, Manatee, and Sarasota?
I advise you to put down every well you can and to start selling water
to them under your jurisdiction.
When people ask me today what to do, I say participate and work with
the authority. If it were 10 or 15 years ago and we knew the Tequesta case
was coming, I would have recommended then that they find some rich sugardaddy
and put down every well they could to capture that water and sell it. Be
your own producer.
I don't think the issue is who ought to provide.water. Gene Heath is
an extremely competent manager. My board members feel they can trust him.
That is not the question. The question is, "when the time comes that
counties such as Pasco, Citrus, or Hernando do develop water needs, will the
regional authority have cheap, local water available?"
We appreciate all of you being with us today. Thank you for your
B. Joseph Tofani
U.S. Water Resources Congress
The State of Florida is to be commended for establishing water
management districts. We all recognize that water problems, solutions, and
attitudes not only vary in different regions of our country, but they vary in
different parts of a state. There are several types of water management
entities. Geography, population needs, and other factors dictate the type of
organization that is best suited to address the water problems of a particular
Events in recent years clearly indicate that the federal government is
retrenching in its traditional role in the development and management of water
resources. The states and other entities must take up the slack, and your state
and districts have a head start. Funding will be the major problem. Methods
must be found to raise the necessary funds to provide for our water needs. Some
states are blessed with revenues from other sources to help pay for water
management, but many states must rely on taxes.
I am sure you learned a great deal about your problems during the short
period of time you have been in existence. You are working on problems and
solutions that you believe are in the best interests of your district and your
state. However, I am sure you recognize that there are other areas and other
regions of our nation that must have their opportunity and freedom to solve their
problems in their best interests. After spending my career in the national
arena, I must address water problems and solutions from the federal or national
First, let me say a few words concerning the Water Resources Congress. As
a result of the 1971 merger of the Rivers and Harbors Congress, which was
established in 1901, and the Mississippi Valley Association, which was founded in
1930, our organization is the oldest national water organization in the United
States. The Congress is dedicated to the conservation, development and proper
management of the nation's water and related land resources. Being national in
scope, its activities encompass a diverse sectional, regional, and functional
spectrum. Our membership includes state and local government agencies and
subdivisions, regional and local associations, industries, water transportation
and shipping interests, financial institutions, agricultural groups, professional
people, merchants, civic groups, and individual citizens. We have seven major
areas of concern, as follows: water resources management; water for
transportation and commerce; water for energy and industry; water quality and
water supply; water for food and fiber; water for fish, wildlife and recreation;
and flood plain and coastal resources.
Our association presents testimony to congressional committees on bills
of national interest. We participate in White House conferences on water
policy, monitor legislative activities by visiting committees of Congress, and
maintain close ties with federal agencies. During President Carter's review
of the Principles and Standards, the Water Resources Congress was chosen as
the clearinghouse for all the water agencies.
At our 1981 annual meeting in St. Louis, the Board of Directors
concluded that we should concentrate our efforts in three areas. These are
the modification of Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, the modification of
the regulations to require municipal and industrial use of water from federal
projects to develop water conservation programs as a condition of new water
supply contracts, and the modification of the Endangered Species Act.
With regard to Section 404, we are seeking modification of the Act so
it does not require a permit for every water hole in the country. We are
putting together a coalition of interests and organizations to assist us.
Meetings have been held with many national organizations, and the response so
far has been encouraging, although we know it is an uphill fight. The
struggle is worthwhile when one hears horror stories concerning the cost and
time required to secure a 404 permit. We have contacted the Administration
and requested that during the review of its regulations, Section 404 be given
priority. They granted our request and advised that results of the
Administration review will be completed by the time of our annual meeting in
Houston, Texas, on February 1, 2, and 3. We also made our wishes known to the
appropriate committees of Congress, and they have promised us hearings on the
modifications of Section 404.
With regard to the modifications of the conservation regulations, the
White House has agreed to give priority to review of those regulations. The
Endangered Species Act expires next year, and we will soon begin work on our
proposals for the modification of that Act.
I would like now to focus on water resources development, conservation,
and management from the national viewpoint. With 46 years' experience in
water resources, I have witnessed many changes that are usually associated
with accomplishments. This has not been the case during the past several
years, and it does not look promising for the immediate future. The water
program seems to lack purpose and direction, and it has been going steadily
downhill. Regardless of the ever-changing pattern of life in our nation, one
fact remains obvious: we will always require water and we can expect uses for
water to increase in both place and time. And water development, conserva-
tion, and management programs must keep pace with the changing demands of a
In today's climate of high inflation, need for a balanced budget, and
increased expenditure for national defense, our water program faces a period
of marking time. Perhaps we can turn this period to our advantage by
concentrating on the urgent need to develop a national water program. With
history to guide us, we can avoid past mistakes such as the piecemeal
solutions that have been the trademark of settling every water crisis. We
must continue to provide and improve facilities for existing water needs as
well as to provide for the future. We cannot rely solely on conservation,
defined by some as "less demanded, less used." We must practice true
conservation, which is wise use. In carrying out our federal water program
down through the years, we have placed too much emphasis on benefit-to-cost
analyses in making decisions and have failed to set adequate goals and
objectives for our water program. The legislative products of the 1960's and
1970's, such as Clean Water; Wild Rivers; Scenic Rivers; Trails, Fish and
Wildlife; Endangered Species; and many others all were accompanied by new
ground rules. There was no benefit-to-cost analysis, but rather there were
total programs with goals and objectives. We should take a page from these
legislative acts which did not authorize programs in a piecemeal fashion, but
authorized real programs.
We are very fortunate in this country to be blessed with sufficient
water, but we face severe problems of availability and distribution in certain
regions and times. But nature does not run out of water or plan for the wise
use of water; people do. Poor planning coupled with poor programs has
contributed to many of our present problems. Is it not time to plan and
develop a water program to meet our requirements?
Thus far, I have attempted to establish the necessity for a total water
program. What about a solution? Several actions dating back to the 1920's
may contain the answer. In response to the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1925 and
1927, the Army Corps of Engineers prepared a series of comprehensive river
basin reports that were the basis of a water program to meet the needs of that
time. These reports did not concentrate on policy but were planning reports
intended to develop total river basin programs. In the ensuing 20 years or
so, the Corps completed almost 2,200 comprehensive river basin studies which
provide the basis for much of the development we know today. These studies
were successful because they developed a program in keeping with the urgencies
of the time. Another approach to river basin development came in the late
1950's, when the Senate Select Committee on Natural Resources suggested that
river basin development for all water uses could be achieved through river
regulation by federal reservoirs. Flows could be released during dry periods
to improve the quality and quantity of stream flows. In 1961, Congress
included a provision in the Federal Water Pollution Act which authorized the
incorporation of quality control capacities in federal reservoirs. This
section went out the window when the Clean Water Act was passed in 1972.
Other concepts of river basin planning included Level A and Level B studies
and so on, but none met with any success because the procedures were too
complicated, and too many agencies with too many leaders were involved. The
308 concept of the Corps of Engineers was a good one. The river basin studies
could be reviewed and updated to develop a water program to provide present
and future needs. Today's water problems are more complex, but we also have
better tools for comprehensive solutions.
There should be a lead agency responsible for river basin studies that
would use input by the federal, state, and local governments and by private
agencies. A wealth of material is available as a starting point. We should
also develop the policies and mechanisms to implement the program. There is
no doubt that the federal government will continue to participate in one way
or another in water resources investment. The agencies that plan, construct,
and operate projects should be members of a policy board headed by an
independent chairman appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate.
The chairman should be accompanied by an advisory group representing state,
local, and private entities. The responsibilities of the organization would
^^^^ ^.^ ^^^ ___ __^^^^ ^_^^ ^___ __ ^^^ ^^^ ^^^ ^^^i
be to review the basin programs, set priorities, recommend who should build the
project, and who should pay. In no way should this organization become
involved in the operation of the federal, state, local or private agencies. I
am sure other structures for a policy board could be effective, but I believe
that the composition of a water policy board depends on who pays the bills.
The Water Resources Council was established in 1965 to perform these
general functions described above; it was not successful for many reasons.
First, the Office of Management and Budget appeared to have veto power over the
actions of the Council. In addition the secretaries of the departments on the
Council did not have the time to spend or an interest in the Council. That is
the principal reason I do not believe the secretaries of the departments should
be members of the proposed policy board. The assistant secretaries for water
of the several departments, or from the states, should be members of the policy
board because they have the responsibility for water resources, the time, and
the interest. Perhaps the principal reason for the failure of the Council is
that it included too many agencies with little or no responsibility in the
water resources management field. These agencies participated in making
policies on matters over which they had no involvement, little knowledge, and
no interest. I think Congress has recognized this, and at the present time
there are several bills working their way through Congress for a water policy
board with responsibilities similar in concept to the one I proposed. The
Administration, however, is opposed to a council or a policy board mandated by
legislation with an independent chairman and a state and local advisory board.
The Administration attempted to abolish the Water Resources Council and in its
place has created a Council on Natural Resources and Environment composed of
the departments of Interior, Agriculture, Transportation, Energy, Housing,
Urban Development, Environmental Quality, Justice, Office of Management and
Budget, and a representative from the White House. The Secretary of the Army
would also be a member of the Council when water matters are discussed. The
Council would be chaired by the Secretary of Interior. In my opinion, the same
fate will befall the President's Council on Natural Resources and Environment
as befell the Water Resources Council.
The keys to a successful water council or water policy board are: 1) an
independent chairman who can devote full time to the agency and, 2) an advisory
board to provide the local viewpoint. Members of the board must be able to
spend time on water resource problems, solutions, and policies. The policies
developed by a board must be approved by both the executive and legislative
branches of the federal government. This would eliminate a great deal of the
friction that has occurred over the years between the two branches. The
President's Council on Natural Resources and Environment intends to replace the
current Principles, Standards, and Procedures, issued by the Water Resources
Council, with its own flexible guidelines. The proposal for the repeal of the
Principles, Standards, and Procedures was printed in the Federal Register on
September 11, 1981, and the interested public was invited to submit comments by
October 13. The President's Council has also issued a two-page paper entitled,
"Summary of Proposed Policy Positions." The thrust of Administration policies
is that guidelines be flexible and have one objective: national economic
development. Only one plan could be recommended--the one with the greatest
economic benefits. However, the secretaries of Army, Agriculture, Interior,
and the chairman of the TVA could recommend an exception to the plan if the
Council approved it.
The Administration is currently reviewing policies on upfront financing, cost
sharing and discount rates. There is no doubt that the present Principles,
Standards, and Procedures are too complicated, rigid, and cumbersome.
However, we have no indication as to the thrust of the upcoming Administration
The new guidelines, the new cost-sharing procedures, and the federal
role in the water resources field have been developed and presented to
Congress, to states, local entities, and the general public for comment at the
same time as the repeal of the Principles, Standards, and Procedures was
proposed. The Administration policy is aimed at 100 percent cost recovery, or
100 percent upfront funding, for water projects. While I believe that cost
sharing by beneficiaries, states, and others is a fact of life, it should be
phased out so that non-federal entities have sufficient time to develop
mechanisms to assume the responsibility they must assume if the federal
government is retrenching from the water field.
In summary, I would like to emphasize there is no doubt that state and
local governments will assume more and more of the responsibility and of the
cost of water resources development and management. We cannot forget that
water is the backbone to survival and prosperity in this nation. We must find
ways to finance our water requirements. We are surviving the energy crisis
because we have an outside source of supply. I know of no way we can survive
a water crisis because there is no possible way to obtain water from a foreign
source. We must plan well if we are to meet our ever-increasing water
requirements. Each day finds new and increased uses for water. We are
blessed with sufficient water, but we know it is not always in the right place
at the right time. We must develop as well as conserve. Most importantly, we
must manage our water resources. We must review existing development as well
as our management techniques to help keep pace with changing requirements. We
must all work together.
We've become too involved in the details of water programs instead of
in the development and management approaches. We have spent too much time on
the nuts and bolts and overlooked the goals of water programs. I believe that
during this period of marking time we should review the requirements and
develop a water program to meet those requirements. The details that we have
been so concerned with for so many years would soon fall into place. Time is
running out, and we are not making full use of our water resources while our
nation and population continue to grow. Water resources development and
management are not only lagging, they are grinding to a halt.
Our people and country will surely suffer if we do not soon produce a
program for the development and management of water supply to meet the needs
of this nation.
WATER USE PRIORITIES:
COMPETITION OR COOPERATION?
HON. JONATHON WERSHOW, Secretary/Treasurer, Suwannee River Water
Management District Governing Board
MR. WES ATWOOD, Manager of Environmental Control, Florida Phosphate
MS. MYGNON EVANS, Florida Citrus Mutual
MR. ARTHUR FINNEY, JR., Director, Pinellas Water System
MR. GARY GURNTO, Environmental Relations Department, Reedy Creek
MR. JOHN MILLICAN, Environmental Control Manager, Buckeye Cellulose
MR. DON TURK, Director of Public Relations, Florida Farm Bureau
This has been a year of drought for the State of Florida. Ground and
surface water levels have dipped to historic lows in many parts of the state.
All of the water management districts have called for mandatory cutbacks
and/or voluntary reductions in the use of water. When the present drought is
broken, it will only be a matter of time before another drought is
experienced. The variability and unpredictability of rainfall could combine
with a doubling of population by the year 2000 to produce severe environmental
and economic hardships for the state unless a rational management approach is
taken to assure that water is allocated to those uses that are considered to
be the more reasonable and beneficial.
What is the perspective of your organization on the availability
of water supplies locally and statewide?
In the event of competition among various users for available
water supplies, are present consumptive use regulations adequate to
properly allocate water?. If not, what improvements might be
Is the interbasin transfer of water a viable alternative to mitigate
possible future water shortages? Is there a need for a statewide
water supply system?
What allocation priorities should be established in the event of
severe water shortages?
Are voluntary water conservation measures adequate or should
consumptive use permits have explicit water conservation measures
as a condition of granting the permit?
In the Suwannee River District, we have a small tax base and receive
very little money from the State of Florida. Consequently, we do not have
enough money to pay experts to help write our consumptive use rules. We
invited all these experts up here to give us all the information we need to
set our priorities.
All of us here are representatives of types of reasonable and
beneficial users. The determination we must make, however, is which of us is
the most beneficial -- be it agricultural, industrial, municipal, or recre-
ational. We must make such a decision and accept the fact that we have
conflicts. The problem is to resolve the conflicts in a satisfactory and
cooperative spirit. If we cannot do it, someone else will set the priorities
for us. That is most often accomplished by legislation, and with due respect
to our friends in the Legislature, that is not always the most deliberative
body. Their decisions often reflect the passions of the folks back home, and
those passions may change from day to day.
The major users of land and water are in conflict in Florida. The
names of the local skirmishes were listed by the Governor in his remarks
yesterday. What is our water supply in Florida? This coming Monday, the
president of the Florida Farm Bureau Federation will address the Farm Bureau's
Annual Meeting. In his address, Mr. Couch will refer to the growing conflict
over land and water uses in Florida. He will state: "Nowhere in the State is
the water supply unlimited. Conservation in water use must be the number one
priority of people and agriculture." He will also call for stepped-up
research in developing better crop irrigation and urban water control
As agriculture intensifies its production in order to feed a growing
population on a shrinking land base, water will become more critical because,
as some of you know, food is not miraculously made in the back room of Publix
or Winn Dixie. The consumptive use permitting program has been adequate to
benefit municipalities, agriculture, and industry, but agriculture does
foresee a growing conflict between food production and the urban appetite for
water. We, as an industry and an organization, have been working toward the
recognition of the right of property in the granting of consumptive use
permits. We feel that reasonable and beneficial use can be made of the water
under a piece of property and that a prejudice should exist against an
off-site use. Our concern is with the large municipal well fields. Most
often agriculture sees itself as a tax-paying, on-site user and recharge
facility as opposed to an urban concrete drainage system that draws its
drinking water from a neighboring county.
We do not see interbasin transfers as the solution to our water
shortages. That is a cop-out. We should first address the problem of better
management and conservation practices before we consider piping water to the
problem. For example, we need to examine the capturing of rainfall to raise
the level of Lake Okeechobee.
We do not see the need for a state water supply system or a state water
board. The water management districts should take this responsibility. We
have, with the districts, a framework for addressing water problems. City,
county, and regional water supply authorities will not be able to handle
individually the problems of water supply for a growing population. They are
jealous of each other, are often underfinanced, and tend to be feudalistic in
their approach to water supply. Let the water management districts be the
water management and supply entities in each basin. The cities and counties
can then buy water at cost from them. Perhaps then we can remove some of the
conflicts from water supply. The comment was made yesterday that this may be
like having the fox guard the hen house, but at least you will know who is in
charge. The problem now is that you have several roosters in the hen house,
each fighting to be king of the roost, and nobody is doing what the rooster is
supposed to be doing. We should also remove extraterritorial eminent domain
from the cities and counties and put that function with the water management
We need priorities. Certainly drinking water is at the top of the
list, but so is agriculture and food production. You can only survive on
water alone for a limited period of time. The sugar industry is already
facing these hard decisions. Just recently, they went to the South Florida
District to ask for their share of the water for the start-up of the
harvesting of this year, and next year they will worry about whether or not
they will have enough water to even plant a new crop.
We need realistic assessments of what the water needs are for the
various competing uses. Agriculture is working on this with IFAS (Institute
of Food and Agricultural Sciences), and we are encouraging the use of more
drip and low-volume irrigation and the recycling of water whenever possible.
Drinking water and agriculture must be at the top of the list of priorities,
followed by home and industrial uses. I was pleased to hear the commissioner
from Charlotte County recognize the need for water in agricultural production.
That is a very good sign in terms of cooperatively working to solve the
Voluntary conservation is adequate in a non-severe situation, but as a
long-term response, it is not adequate. Conservation must be a condition for
consumptive use permitting -- particularly for large users such as
agriculture, municipalities, industry, and the leisure business. Conservation
should not be a yearly inconvenience. It must be a new state of mind
involving a new baseline. Any use above that baseline must be justified as
reasonable, beneficial, and in the public interest. We must give our
attention to measures such as the use of grey water, land acquisition,
application of treated effluent, siting of electric generating plants on
salt water, and the use of water-saving devices in cities and in homes.
The Martin County commissioner said yesterday that she did not want to
live in a manufactured environment. I, as a Florida native, do not either,
but the time is long past when that question was on the agenda. If our
population continues to grow in Florida, it will be a question of manufactured
water or no water at all.
Many of us are beginning to recognize the need for cooperating in
arriving at solutions to the problems. The conflict between north and south
Florida, industrial and city, agriculture and whomever, is a fact of life. We
have to deal with it, but we have got to generate a spirit of cooperation and
work out answers to the problems that all of us can live with. Looking at
the panel questions, I believe that if anybody feels he has got a good answer
to all of them, he really does not understand the questions. They are
difficult and they are ones that we will have to answer quickly.
We agree completely with the Suwannee District that water supplies are
adequate for current and future planned use. That does not mean we can go out
and use water any way we want to, but instead it means that we have to plan to
use and conserve it. The plans the district has made appear to be ones with
which we can operate. Statewide, the question is much more difficult. The
assets of the State, which make it so attractive and which precipitate the
growth, result in an overdemand on the water supply which has to be dealt
The problem, as I see it, is that water recharge is a local phenomena.
All of us receive about the same amount of water. The "recharge" area for the
coastal areas is out in the Gulf of Mexico or in the Atlantic Ocean. That
does not mean they do not have recharge; it means that the expense for
treating their water is different. All of us have to look at the water we
have locally and plan to treat it so that it meets our needs.
In the Suwannee District, we do not have consumptive use regulations.
You can contribute that to the fact that in north Florida we are somewhat
backward, and we hope our friends down south will bear with us, but we do not
apologize. Many of us like it that way, but we are recognizing the need to
catch up, and we are going to catch up in the area of using water wisely.
Conservation does not mean no use; it means wise use. In the development of
regulations, traditional rights need to be recognized. These include the
right to use water beneath one's property consistent with the statutory
requirements for beneficial use, public interest, and an absence of
interference with presently existing legal use.
Is the interbasin transfer of water a viable alternative to mitigate
possible future water shortages and is there a need for a statewide water
supply? California is an excellent example of the problems that you can have
transferring water from one area to another. The transportation and political
problems associated with transferring water from one basin to another are
cause for concern. What is going to happen to the water levels, to water
available for wildlife, fish, vegetation, and to the estuaries? These
questions have not been answered and they deserve careful consideration.
Our company practices sound conservation. In the last ten years, we
have begun reusing of water as much as possible. Every gallon of water we take
out of the ground is used about seven times before we discharge it. As far as
we can tell, ours is the best-used water in the district. Consumptive use
regulations need to encourage reuse and recycling.
Are voluntary water conservation measures adequate or should
consumptive use permits have explicit water conservation measures as a
condition for granting permits? Voluntary control has not worked in many
areas in the State. Does the information that we collected from LANDSAT and
other information-gathering resources give us what we need to write a good
consumptive use regulation? In north Florida, we are in the early stages of
developing water regulations. There is a lot of pressure in north Florida to
deal with the situation because of the crisis condition in the rest of the
State. We have had members of the district staff and the Department of
Environmental Regulation over to examine both the uses we have for water and
the conservation measures that are in effect. Cooperation to us is a byword
and it has been since I have been at the plant. The questions need to be
dealt with openly, and we have a lot of confidence that the staff at the
Suwannee District will develop something that will meet our needs and the
needs of all the people in the district.
As a resource, water should be properly managed, and there should be
cooperation among all the users in regard to where the environment, the
aquifers, and the surface waters can be protected. There are water-poor and
water-rich areas, but there is a surplus of water within the State of Florida.
All the studies indicate that there is not a shortage of water, and that if it
can be inventoried and properly managed, all the uses required by agriculture,
industry, and domestic will be satisfied and there will also be sufficient
water for the environment.
In many instances, the sources of water are not located within areas of
greatest growth. When a new resident moves into Florida, he does not study
the hydrological conditions where he is going to settle. We are then faced
with the situation that instead of bringing the people to the water, we must
bring the water to the people. And that is proper. In advocating the
transfer of water, we do not believe that the people in a water-rich area
should be deprived of water needed by them. The legislation addresses this
problem to some extent in Section 373.1962, F.S., that created the regional water
supply authorities: it says that water taken by a water authority would not
deprive people in the supply area.
Water is a resource of the State and should be managed by the State.
We also believe that the resource should be governed by hydrological
principles and not by politics. Transportation of water should be based on
the availability of surplus water and hydrological conditions and not on
political considerations. You can successfully transfer water across county,
water management district, and across watershed boundaries if you manage all
the waters in the State by hydrological principles.
How do you accomplish management and remove it from politics? We
propose that a board of non-political persons be created to manage the water
resources of Florida on the principles of hydrology. This non-political board
should have a staff of engineers, hydrologists, and other professionals and
would have the goals: (1) to supplement the existing water needs of the water
purveyors or water authorities; (2) to inventory the water resources of the
State; and (3) to inventory the water recharge areas. We are not protecting
the recharge areas of Florida, and we are going to have to move before it gets
too critical. This board should be permitted to purchase or to protect the
recharge areas, and it should have the responsibility of determining available
surface water and permitting the transfer from water-rich areas to water-poor
areas. The board should also be delegated responsibility for allocating the
surface water and for transporting it from one area to another. Such a board
would not dilute the responsibilities of the water management districts. The
water management districts would still have responsibility for protecting the
resource and environment through consumptive use permits. Creating such a
non-political board to control the transfer of surplus water should put to
rest forever the political concerns of transporting water across boundaries.
The alternative to this positive type of management is to go up to the
State line and build a fence to prohibit any more people from coming into
Florida. Possibly, some of us who have moved into the State should also
leave: we could empty this room this morning if we did that. The other
alternative is to strive for a zero birthrate in the State of Florida.
We believe that the consumptive use permit is a vital part of managing
water; the remarks I am going to make are limited to the Southwest Florida
Water Management District. The Governing Board and staff of this district
take into consideration the hydrological principles of the aquifer or of the
surface water in issuing consumptive use permits. We believe the district
has adopted rules that, when applied to consumptive use permits, will be
adequate. They are able to address the problem of competition between users
and, by applying the hydrological conditions and conservation and management
principles, they will be able to issue permits that will be equitable to all
concerned. The other water management districts involved in adopting rules
and regulations for consumptive use permits should copy them because they have
some good rules and regulations.
There has to be a priority on the use of water during extreme
shortages. The water for individual use has to be the first priority, but
water required for livestock or any other living thing should also be included
in that priority. After that, economics has to be considered in the allotment
of water. In regard to the statement yesterday about eating lawn grass or
eating lettuce, let me say that if you go to some of these women and tell them
you are going to let their grass die, you are not going to have any lettuce to
eat because they are going to let you die. Some of these people think the
grass is the prime thing. If you think you can take the water away from the
people to irrigate lawns, you have got a real problem.
On the question of voluntary water conservation measures, I am not sure
you can simply ask someone to do it and succeed. In the recent water
shortages during which the water management district told us to decrease our
usage, the Board of County Commissioners of Pinellas County made it mandatory.
We can move rather quickly, and we found that when we did it this way, all the
citizens wanted to help. We reduced our uses more than the 20 percent set for
us by the water management district.
I worry about making citizens part of consumptive use permitting
because a lot of times they pass rules and regulations that cannot be enforced
and they want someone else to enforce them. We in the water industry do not
have any more people to enforce these rules and regulations than the State
agencies do. I do not believe that conservation should be part of the
consumptive use permit.
Eminent domain is a very touchy subject in regard to a water purveyor.
We do not think eminent domain has to be taken away from the water people. I
know of no case within our three-county area where eminent domain was used to
obtain a well field. St. Petersburg bought their land in Hillsborough County.
Pinellas County bought land for the Cross Bar Ranch well field and we pay
taxes every year on Cross Bar.
By training, I am an aquatic biologist and I have problems with these
interbasin transfers. I am also a native Floridian and an official of a local
government drainage district.
We have a lot of people living in the coastal areas. The water supply
is not there and it will not be there in the future. Water levels are
dropping. Every year we trot out our hurricane contingency plan but the
hurricane does not come. Everybody looks very skeptical and asks when are the
Consumptive water use regulations are a necessary first step. They
allow an inventory that will identify the users and the regulated categories.
Now someone should total up the water availability and what is being used and
what these permits will allow to be used during the next 10 to 20 years.
Drought is not a new thing in Florida. If you look at old rainfall
records, you will see we have an eight-foot deficit in water levels over the
last 15 years in Central Florida. What has been imposed on us over the last
ten years is rapid population growth. If you believe the statistics, it will
continue to be imposed on us. Voluntary measures have worked quite well in
some cities in central Florida. Some of the cities have realized 35 and 40
percent water reductions when the voluntary restriction was 15 percent. They
can work. I try to find a parallel with the energy crisis. Every day in the
paper we either have a crisis or we do not have a crisis. Do we or do we not
have a water crisis? We have water restrictions for several months and then
the restrictions are lifted, leaving the public confused. Any reasonable
person knows that energy is a limited resource, but when we look at the oceans
and see all that water, it is hard to believe that water may be a limited
resource. Usable water may be the key: do we have the available water and if
it is not usable, what is it going to cost to use it? In Monroe County, for
example, it can be extremely expensive to get a water supply.
In the South Florida Water Management District, they require that you
provide water conservation plans. They ask if you have a water reuse plan and
what kind of contingency plans you have for different scenarios of water use.
It should be implemented statewide and perhaps incorporated in a State water
use plan. If we had a statewide plan and an identification of the resources,
it would be possible to go to local governments and let them set the
priorities for use. There is no such thing as a non-political board at any
level of government, but water is a public resource and it is too important to
be treated in the cavalier manner it has been in the past.
There is, there has been, and there will be conflict between users. Our
major industries in Florida are tourism and agriculture, and there are new
industries that will require water in Florida.
Local government could and should be more active in wastewater reuse.
We should provide incentives for local government. In the City of Kissimmee,
we have an energy auditor. He will come to your home and tell you ways to
conserve energy. Let us also have a water auditor to come around to your house
and tell you about using flow restrictors. There are also water systems that,
because of leakage, pump twice as much water as actually gets to the kitchen
I think there is a water management role for both local government and
the water management districts. The water management district has an
obligation to evaluate area resources through consumptive use and surface
water management permits and to encourage local government to reuse water.
Local governments have the responsibility for assigning priorities. You will
have conflicts, but they can be resolved.
Florida Citrus Mutual does not have a statewide perspective because
there are not many orange groves in the Panhandle. I think particularly in
terms of the Citrus Belt, which has gradually shifted southward, suggesting we
have had some changes in temperature and something like a 100-inch deficit of
rainfall over the last 15 to 20 years. We are looking at allocations for
water resources that are not as plentiful as we have been led to believe. We
have severe water problems right now.
In the Lake Okeechobee area, we are probably going to see a shortfall
of crops this year and perhaps next year also. It is possible we will have
some damaged groves in the absence of some heavy and unexpected rainfall. In
the St. Johns and the southwest, the water problem is not so severe simply
because they are using ground water and are able to mine the aquifer. It is a
dangerous game to play, but at least it provides a temporary remedy to a
short-term cash flow problem. If, however, we are facing a long-term climatic
change or a continuation of the drought, we are headed for disaster in that
Looking at the long-term aspects of water shortages for the whole
peninsula of Florida, I am reminded that an environmentalist came to Florida
Citrus Mutual recently wanting to work with us on a problem that he viewed as
being of common concern. We had enjoyed an adversary relationship with this
particular group, but he explained his position by saying we have a new and
endangered species in this state: the Florida farmer. On the surface, it
sounds like an extreme comment. But the farmer simply cannot survive without
water. When we look at the structure of the laws and rules and regulations,
we realize quickly that all of the advantages are in the other court. If a
farmer's well runs dry or goes salty, there is not a whole lot he can do about
it. He does not have the power of eminent domain to go out and get his
I would like to discuss briefly the economics of moving water to
people. The last estimate I had was on the order of $2,000,000 per mile for
running a pipeline from interior portions to the municipal areas where it is
needed. Perhaps we should consider the possibility of moving the people.
Governing boards of water management districts are given extensive
authority in the event of an emergency. In a non-emergency situation, we are
talking about competition among existing users rather than new users. There
is very little the boards can do in that sort of situation because once a
permit is issued, it can be modified only by petition of the permitted. If we
have a situation where the water has been "over-allocated" and there is not
enough for everybody to get what he thought he was entitled to, who will get
it? The person who is upgradient or upstream gets first crack at it, and
there is not a whole lot that anyone can do. In Volusia County, when the fern
growers pump their wells for frost protection, the people closer to the coast
have wells that suck air. There is a similar situation in Hillsborough County
with the strawberry farmers. The Southwest Florida Water Management District
has attempted to persuade the strawberry farmers to sink their wells deeper.
There is a multi-aquifer system there, and the theory is that the time lag
between the cones of depression created by the deeper wells would give
sufficient time for those shallow wells to recover. The theory has not been
proved. It is a novel and promising approach, but on a voluntary basis. If
any of those growers refuse to do it, there is not a whole lot Southwest can
do. There are, at this time, consumptive use permits coming up for renewal.
There is some leverage in that sense, but if those permits are renewed for
another six to ten years, there will be no leverage remaining.
There is a point I would like to make about competition between
existing users and potential new users. In the Village of Tequesta Supreme
Court decision, a very careful distinction was made that there was an
alternative source of water. The party that was denied the permit to tap the
Biscayne aquifer had the option of drilling deeper to get water from the
Floridan aquifer. The Supreme Court of Florida carefully pointed out that no
one was being denied use of his land. The fact that we are considering the
possibility that we may over-allocate and have nothing left for the next
person points out a great deficiency of the system. It has been called,
"first in time, first in line." We have declared, in the way we are providing
consumptive use permits, that we have declared open season on the Florida
water supply. Anyone who owns land in peninsular Florida and who does not
rush down to get a consumptive use permit is making a very drastic mistake.
He may find in a few years that he cannot get a permit. We are working
against ourselves because on the one hand we are appropriating large sums of
money to acquire land to maintain recharge areas and, on the other, we are
causing the landowner to put in wells and start pumping in order to take
advantage of his rights.
Perhaps it is time to distinguish between applicants. We need a plan
for the State concerning how we want to allocate what resources we have. We
must realize that a gallon of water withdrawn for one purpose is not the
equivalent of a gallon of water permitted somewhere else for another purpose.
A gallon of water applied to a golf course has a different social utility than
a gallon of water applied to crops or used to water cattle. If we allocate
100,000 gallons to a citrus grove, we should also realize that a substantial
part of that is recycled. It goes back into the aquifer directly or flows
into ditches and is available for reuse by other farmers. Contrast that with
100,000 gallons that are taken from a municipal well field, go into a pipeline
that is large enough literally to drive a car through to a municipality on the
Gulf of Mexico, runs through someone's home, out to the sewage works and then
to the Gulf. It is 100 percent consumptive use.
I have ambivalent feelings about interbasin transfers of water. In
some situations it makes sense. In the area between the St. Johns and the
South Florida District, there is a definite need for water retention and for a
capability to move that water quickly to the south. Interbasin transfer from
the Suwannee River to St. Petersburg I see in a very different light. It is
similar to having an extra room in your house and an in-law asks to come in
just for a short while. You feel selfish turning them down, but you are
grateful if they do not get in the front door because you do not know how long
they will be there.
We have to establish some allocation priorities. The criteria for
establishing them should be the long-term economic effects, particularly the
amount of damage done when this drought is over. If it is a matter of losing
a lawn, it is a matter of some concern, but it is not as critical as losing a
herd of cattle or a citrus grove. We will have to look at the contributions
of an activity and consider local revenue through property tax and the impacts
on employment if an activity is curtailed or eliminated.
I cannot believe voluntary cutbacks are very effective. There is a
certain amount of peer pressure not to water lawns, but there definitely
remains a need for required conservation measures.
This is a large group we have here today, but there are some other
groups that should be here. We need greater statewide coordination with other
elements. For instance, I attended a Public Service Commission hearing about
two weeks ago during which it became apparent that certain portions of the
rate structure encouraged irrigating groves at the wrong time or even when you
did not need to add water. We need to coordinate energy policies with water
conservation policies. We also need property appraisers in these meetings if
we are really concerned about getting people to not water their lawns. There
are lots of landscaping methods that do not call for sod, and there are ways
of convincing people to find it to their advantage. For example, we could
increase the assessment on yards that are sodded and give a 50 percent break
on those that have been landscaped otherwise.
I speak from the perspective of a chemical engineer in the phosphate
mining and chemical industry. We see no statewide shortage on cheap, easily
available water. There are local shortages of available water and there are
problems of distribution. Some people in north Florida say that we in
Suwannee sit on the Mother Lode. I believe that is true. Mr. Kellerman
mentioned yesterday that we only use about four inches of the rainfall we get.
What about the ground water also coming to us from Georgia and Alabama that is
going through the aquifer into the Gulf and the Atlantic Ocean? Why can't we
capture more of it? Are there wells flowing that are going nowhere except to
the ocean? Do we have poorly cased wells? Is there communication between
aquifers? We need conservation and we need to be smarter, but we have got the
My father grew up in Bermuda where their water supply comes from
rainfall. They capture it on roofs and put it through their recharge system
or into a cistern. Each house conserves it and when they run out, they run
out. They know how to conserve.
We have no consumptive use permitting system in our district now. We
believe it should be developed and that a plan is necessary. Each district
should have its own policies and rules and the definition of shortage needs to
be carefully refined.
On interbasin transfers, I have mixed emotions. We already have inter-
aquifer transfers in that water is being transferred from Georgia through our
Mother Lode in Hamilton County down through Orlando. Interbasin transfer of
surface water does not appear to be feasible at $2,000,000 a mile. It is
probably not needed, and there are many problems and environmental issues.
Potable water should take a top priority but so should power, jobs, and cash
In our industry, we recycle about 90 percent of our water. We collect
and use rainwater on a lot of land that we mine. We need voluntary
conservation measures, and peer pressure does work. Compulsory measures are
needed in certain areas and they need to be spelled out in the permit so that
people know what impact restrictions are going to have on their operations.
I want to thank all of you for being on the panel. You provided us
with some food for thought and with a bit of controversy.
STRUCTURAL VS. NONSTRUCTURAL
HON. FRANCES PIGNONE, Chairman, St. Johns River Water Management
MS. RITA BARRON, Executive Director, Charles River Watershed
MR. BRENT BLACKWELDER, Director, Environmental Policy Institute
MR. DON DUNCAN, Chief of Policy Development, U. S. Department of the
Army, Corps of Engineers
MR. ARTHUR L. HARPER, JR., Vice President Community Operations,
General Development Corporation
MR. ARTHUR MARSHALL, Systems Ecologist
MR. ESTUS WHITFIELD, Senior Governmental Analyst, Office of the
MR. DAVID HARRISON, Consultant, National Academy of Public
The State of Florida is faced with unprecedented population growth,
rapid economic expansion and increased competition for available water
supplies. In addition, the state is confronted with the need to mitigate
negative impacts on its water resources resulting from rapid development and
the activities of an earlier era when, without benefit of today's hydrologic
and environmental awareness, structural water management practices were
widely used to drain and "reclaim" wetland interior portions of Florida to
create lands suitable for agricultural and urban uses. Efforts to identify
cost-effective, holistic solutions to our water resource challenges have
brought a move toward greater emphasis on nonstructural water management
alternatives and progress in implementing nonstructural approaches.
What is meant by the terms structural and nonstructural water
management alternatives, and what are the advantages of each
in terms of cost, environmental benefits and levels of
What circumstances would provide an opportunity for using either
structural or nonstructural measures, and under what circumstances
would one be preferable over another? Does such an opportunity
exist in Florida today? Do conditions exist in which a combination
of the two would be appropriate?
Where structural systems presently exist, how and when should
conversion to nonstructural measures be considered?
The State of Florida has made significant progress in implementing
nonstructural alternatives by funding land acquisition, enacting legislation
providing funds for future acquisition programs, adopting coastland flood
plain regulations and adopting state policies that encourage nonstructural
measures. These actions, however, were taken with only limited assistance
from the federal government.
Does the current process for federal approval and funding of
water resource projects provide fair and equitable consideration of
both structural and nonstructural measures, or is the process
weighted toward one or the other?
What factors, if any, in the planning and budgeting process hinder
equitable evaluation of both alternatives?
What actions are needed at the federal level to ensure adequate
assessment and fiscal support of both structural and nonstructural
Florida's State Legislature, during its 1981 session, overwhelmingly
adopted a bill establishing the "Save Our Rivers" program, which will generate
approximately $320 million over the next ten years for the purpose of
acquiring wetlands, flood plains and aquifer recharge areas vital to the
preservation of Florida's water resources and necessary for flood control,
water conservation storage, water quality maintenance and protection of fish
and wildlife habitat. The program was strongly supported by state and local
officials, environmental and water management agencies and citizens
throughout the state -- an indicator of Florida's growing interest in using
nonstructural means to solve its water problems.
What is the prognosis for the future use of nonstructural water
management alternatives? Does it appear that future policymakers
at the federal, state and local levels will continue to view
nonstructural approaches as viable water management practices,
or is the current emphasis a passing trend?
The essence of the Charles River Natural Valley Storage Program is
permanent protection of major wetlands in the Charles River watershed. We do
have snow, and in the spring the snow melts and, with the normal spring
rains, that 50-foot wide river becomes a mile-and-a-half-wide reservoir. The
exciting thing is that there is relatively little damage because of
relatively little development and because the Corps had the wisdom to see
that Mother Nature had already designed the watershed effectively and
efficiently. One entire tributary area is protected permanently for natural
valley storage. We also have a major dam at the mouth of the river. At the
mouth of the Charles River is also the City of Boston and there is no natural
valley storage left there. It is probably the most mismanaged river in the
history of mankind. That is why we had to have a new flood control dam
which, incidentally, was supported by the environmentalists.
I have often called the Charles River watershed a hydrologicc
schizophrenic." It operates as two different hydrological systems. The
lower nine miles of the river are impounded by a non-flood control dam built
originally either to cover up sewage disposals from the early part of the
century or to create a flat water rowing surface for the Harvard crews. It
is not functioning as a flood control dam. This is an 80-mile river as the
fish swim and 30 miles as the crow flies. The basin has 309 square miles.
The Corps was directed by Congress to do a full water resources study
of the Charles River watershed beginning in 1965. The first effort for
control and management was in the downstream area. In 1968, the Corps
proposed this new major dam which was started in 1974 and dedicated in 1978.
In 1968, Mother Nature also decided to put her hand in again and sent us a
very severe storm in the spring that did a lot of damage downstream. But
upstream, something was working. The upstream flood crest moved downstream
in about four days while the flood crest in the lower, urbanized part of the
river took maybe one to two hours to get to the harbor.
The Corps had the foresight, intelligence, and sensitivity to
recognize that Mother Nature had designed a natural system of wetlands. Our
river and watershed is a coastal one with a very flat gradient, and there are
no really good impoundment areas. The Corps decided that the most prudent
thing to do was to preserve these wetlands which were functioning as natural
storage areas. The inefficiency of the way the wetlands passed the flood
flows along made them a very effective flood control system. Wetlands
desynchronize the flow and let the flood crest move downstream very slowly on
this small river.
The Corps had the foresight to establish a Citizen's Advisory
Committee which worked with them throughout the study. It was clear at the
very beginning that these citizens were not going to sit back and simply
review what the Corps produced. We, in our area, have not given up any of
our determination to determine our own future. The citizens were active from
the beginning, and it has been a most effective partnership. The citizens
have been mistakenly credited over the years for having forced the Corps to
do this. I go around the country trying to correct that, saying it was the
engineers themselves who proposed it and the citizens who supported it whole-
heartedly. We continue to work within the program and with the Corps because
we believe that once citizens get their feet in, they should never take them
The essence of the program is to protect, by permanent acquisition or
easement, about 9,000 acres of scattered wetlands. The land acquisition
criteria called for a minimum 100 acres per wetland and that each parcel be
hydrologically significant in the control of stream flows. Another criterion
was that the watershed was threatened with development.
Our association is a citizen organization. We are a private,
non-profit group and typical of the many public involvement interests in our
area. The Northeast is one of the hotbeds of citizen involvement. We were
able to help the Corps present the program to the public and to help move it
through the Washington channels. The first roadblock that Natural Valley
Storage encountered was in the Office of Management and Budget in the Nixon
Administration. The OMB said, "This is an unwarranted extension of the
Federal Flood Control Authority into land use," and we said, "So, big deal."
"But it will set a precedent," and we said, "Precedents are meant to be set;
that is the nature of precedents." But there was no resistance to this
program in the watershed. That was a remarkable tribute to the thoroughness
with which this program was developed and presented. Conditions for it had
been set in the mid-1960's when Massachusetts began to develop a number of
statutes for wetlands protection and regulation. People knew that you just
cannot muck around with a wetland with impunity. You can with a Court suit,
but not with impunity. The climate was set for recognizing the social values
of wetlands. They are not Mother Nature's little mistakes that have to be
corrected; they have a social purpose. The problems were all in Washington.
We gave the Corps of Engineers an environmental protection award and
everybody said, "You gave who a what? You must be mad. You can't do that to
the Corps." It is now ten years later, and we are still saying it is
The role of the citizen is terriby critical. We had a lot of fun
maneuvering this thing through Washington. The OMB at first refused to
accept it. We kept the pressure on the OMB with letters and telephone calls,
but it did not hurt to have Tip O'Neil and Ted Kennedy in our watershed --
just for incidental support. Senator Kennedy filed legislation for us, and
we went to testify and sort of slipped through the back door because if you
are determined, you take whatever route is possible.
The Water Resources Development Act of 1974 included the money for our
whole project. This was also a precedent because it was a 100 percent
federally funded program. We could justify that because 20 percent of the
Natural Valley storage lands are in the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth of
Here in Florida, you have a $320-million, ten-year tax base to buy
this kind of land. In Massachusetts, we could not get that much money out of
the Legislature if we sold the whole bunch of them as stew beef. We cannot
get that kind of money and we were glad to have the federal presence.
The program was intended to buy 9,000 acres for $7.3 million. That
was ten years ago and, even with inflation, we are still within that budget.
Land acquisition could be by fee title or by easement, but it is going about
two-to-one in favor of easements. The Corps offered easements as an
alternative mainly because a lot of people in our watershed have been there
since Columbus, and they are not going to sell land to the public. The Corps
has worked with the individual land owners who are paid for easements which
simply gives the Corps the right to let water flow over the land. The owners
maintain the land under a Corps management program, and the public still does
not get tapped as much as it would if the Corps owned the land. I recommend
easements for conservation restrictions whenever you get nervous.
The project is 70% complete and will be wound up within the next year
and a half. Implementation of the program has been slow because there are
over 550 different landowners of the wetland parcels and the Corps has had to
deal with each one individually. This program is a caring one; the Corps
people wear buttons saying, "The Corps cares," under their lapels. They do
in this case. I was hired by the Corps as a citizenh mouthpiece," and
subsequently wrote three tabloids to explain the program to the public. When
appraisers went to call on the 550 landowners, they had the tabloids to say
what the program was all about in lay language. The owners understood
clearly what the program was, and that helps account for its spectacular
The weak link in the whole thing is that there is an agreement between
the United States Government and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to make
sure that there will be no alterations of the bridges or roadways that will
affect the hydrology of the wetlands. The Commonwealth must also restrict
development and manage all remaining flood plains in the watershed. There
are about 80 tributaries plus the main stem. A Massachusetts statute gives
our Water Resources Commission the authority to do that, but we cannot get
money. The weak link is the Commonwealth's inability or unwillingness to
give us a bond issue; if you would like to share your $320 million, I would
love to take it.
There is also a dam downstream. It is the largest public works
project ever built in New England, but it is hidden from view by two sets of
high rise buildings and people keep asking where it is. The dam has six of
the largest pumps in the western world because there is a lot of rain to pump
out. It also has three locks, two parks, and a fishway to pass migrating
fish. It is a thing of beauty that only cost $47 million.
It takes a lot of creativity and a few risks to try nonstructural
alternatives. A case should be made for the social values that natural
valley storage represents. Open space in an urban area that would otherwise
be developed is essential. Fish and wildlife have protection, and there is
ground-water recharge and base flow discharge to streams.
In summary, we have a good two-part story. Upstream, the Charles is
swamped. Downstream, the Charles is dammed. We expect to live happily every
after with it.
The Environmental Policy Institute is a research organization for
energy and water resource issues. I am currently undertaking a survey of all
the water conservation and water efficiency programs in order to evaluate the
most innovative approaches. I also work as a lobbyist for the Environmental
Policy Center, which is a nonprofit organization that hires more public
interest, nonprofit lobbyists than any other organization in the country. We
cover all energy areas, water resources and agricultural resources. In the
true tradition of Washington lobbyists, I brought a lot of money to pass out
after this panel breaks up!
I was pleased to hear your Governor's speech yesterday and to read the
testimony he has given on nonstructural alternatives. I wish we could get 49
other governors to say the same thing. There is a tremendous bias in the
federal water development programs against nonstructural alternatives. In
the $3 billion budget of the Army Corps of Engineers, less than $15 million
is being spent on nonstructural projects. That is less than one half of one
percent of the budget.
We do have a number of nonstructural projects around the country,
including Soldier's Grove and Prairie DuChien in Wisconsin, Littleton in
Colorado, Indian Bend Wash in Arizona, and a green belt at Rapid City, South
Dakota. All these projects serve as models to show that nonstructural
alternatives can work.
Zoning is a powerful tool that can be used very cheaply, as can
easements. Green belts along streams can provide important open space and
recreational opportunities. All of these techniques, by themselves or in
combination with other nonstructural alternatives, can change the flood
control program tremendously. The National Science Foundation noted that we
have flood damages of roughly $3.4 billion a year. They project the damages
will reach $4.3 billion by the turn of the century, assuming no inflation.
After spending all this money on structural flood control, you would expect
the damage bill to be going down. Instead, it is going up and the damage is
We need to change direction, but there will be some problems along the
way. There is limited money available from the federal government. The
billions for water resources are not being spent wisely. One of the projects
I have been concerned about is the Tennessee Tombigbee Waterway. It will
cost roughly $200 million a year for ten straight years to finish that
project. That money cannot go to nonstructural alternatives. All but three
of your Florida congressional delegation voted to support that project. If
the money is going there, less and less is going to be available for
innovative approaches. The Bureau of Reclamation programs also occupies a
sizable chunk of the budget. The reason Secretary Watt wants to scrap all
the planning standards for water projects is that he has promised western
governors seven new construction starts next year. The only way he can
justify these projects is by scrapping the requirements calling for economic
analysis. The General Accounting Office recently looked at six sample
projects in the Bureau of Reclamation's budget and could not find a single
one that was economically justified. Under those circumstances, Watt wants
to get rid of the requirements for economic justification so he will be able
to fulfill campaign promises. If he succeeds, there will be fewer and fewer
dollars to go into nonstructural projects.
I view nonstructural as an alternative for most water projects --
including navigation, water supply, hydropower, and flood control. In regard
to water supply, my research has convinced me that it is possible for any
residential area to save at least 50 percent of its water simply by becoming
more efficient. There is no need to change anyone's habits or to resort to
voluntary conservation. It can be done by putting in new plumbing fixtures,
repairing leaks, and by pricing water realistically. If water is such a
valuable commodity, why do we still price it on a declining block rate? If
all the types of features that would go into a model water efficiency program
are combined, it could cut residential use by at least 50 percent. That
would allow you to accommodate the additional growth that is going to occur
throughout this State. You could also avoid water raids on agriculture.
I have heard during the past two days that some areas of this State
are water rich and that they do not see a need for water conservation. Even
if you have water up to your ears, there are good reasons for water
conservation. For example, it costs a lot of money to treat the sewage.
Efficiency improvements cut sewage bills and prolong the life of sewage
treatment plants. It also takes a lot of energy to pump water around, to run
sewage treatment plants, and to heat water in the house. The possible energy
savings are incredible. If everyone used the new low-flow shower heads (not
the simple inserts), the country could save 130 million barrels of oil a
year. The consumer can save several hundred dollars a year on hot water
bills in addition to the potential savings on sewage bills. There is a very
strong case for being as efficient as possible. It is a nonstructural
alternative to interbasin transfers.
The great advantage of nonstructural alternatives is that they can be
very cost effective. Nonstructural alternatives also avoid environmental
destruction and preserve options for future generations. Florida has great
potential for nonstructural alternatives in water supply and flood control.
Both the St. Johns and the Kissimmee are ripe for good nonstructural
I wanted to make a couple of comments about a water supply issue made
last night by Mr. Tofani. He said the federal government was trying to
eliminate water conservation provisions and clauses for federal reservoir
projects. This means that you, as a local entity, could get a reservoir
project without certifying that you were being as efficient as possible in
your use of water. That is an incredible position; the General Accounting
Office revealed this past August that we have federal reservoirs around the
country with 15 million acre feet of water unused and with no planned future
use. There is no greater testimony to the nature of the "Pork Barrel Water
Development Program" than these reservoirs built without reference to water
needs. We have interests that are actually trying to continue the process,
to keep the money flowing. It is a bad use of scarce tax dollars.
If you put a lot of nonstructural projects in place, it will attract
nationwide attention to your leadership role. You can become a model and a
showplace for what can be done. It is particularly significant in areas
where you are actually restoring damage done during past projects. You are
able to change the nature of water development for the State of Florida and
to set a pattern for the nation.
There is a growing recognition across this country that there will be
greater and greater competition for limited water resources. I have worked
within the Corps for the last three years toward attempting to implement
water conservation in our entire program.
We often hear that flood damages continue to escalate in spite of huge
investments in flood control. There are at least four important reasons for
this. First, people may have located in an area without knowledge of the
flood threat. Second, the flood plain may have changed, perhaps because
upstream urbanization enlarged the downstream flood plain. The third reason
is that inhabitants may have assumed that others would help pay a portion of
the cost of occupying the flood plain. And the fourth is that locating in a
flood plain may be the logical and rational thing to do, at least from the
Long-term solutions should be directed toward these causes. We must
also recognize that prevention of all flood damage is neither obtainable nor
desirable. We should think as well of structural and nonstructural flood
control measures in terms of two categories: corrective and preventive. The
separation of these is important to this panel discussion. Our definition of
nonstructural measures includes those which reduce or avoid flood damages
without significantly altering either the nature or the extent of flooding.
For example, you can change the use of the flood plain from residential to
environmental quality or recreational, or use the flood plain by elevating
structures. The structural measures are all the others that modify the
nature or extent of flooding. I do not believe there is a cost advantage for
either type of flood control measure. The structural measures usually produce
greater economic benefits, and the nonstructural measures usually win out in
the contest for environmental benefits. Structural measures ordinarily
provide a higher degree of protection while the nonstructural measures
provide more complete flood protection. As an example, evacuating the
two-year flood plain is a total solution for that particular flood plain.
Structural measures tend to provide a higher degree of protection, but the
larger floods will continue to damage the flood plain occupants.
The structural measures serve well to correct an existing problem.
They also serve well in situations where economic development is the best use
of the flood plain. Another need for structural measures is on flood plains
with very severe floods. Nonstructural measures, on the other hand, serve
well to prevent the flood damages before they occur, and in situations where
alternative uses for flood plains are found. Nonstructural is also good for
flood plains without violent flooding. In the Corps, we are finding that
more and more of our projects involve a combination of these flood control
Florida should be commended for moving aggressively in the non-
structural area. The question of switching from structural to nonstructural
is difficult because structural measures may induce development in a flood
plain which, in turn, would make a switch from structural to nonstructural
Is equal treatment given at the federal level to both types of flood
measures? It is the policy of the Corps to find the best solutions for the
flood problems -- without regard to a structural/nonstructural
classification. There are, however, some tough issues involved. The tough
issue in planning, with regard to nonstructural measures, is the evaluation
of the merits of nonstructural measures. On cost sharing, I think Section 73
went a long way in standardizing cost sharing for structural and
nonstructural measures. The Carter administration also pressed hard for
nonstructural measures and proposed a set of cost-sharing rules that would
treat structural and nonstructural measures consistently. The current
administration has not yet provided its policy on cost sharing. I have
fought for equal treatment for the last ten years, and I will attempt to
persuade this administration that equal treatment is warranted.
Corrective, nonstructural measures require stronger local support than
structural. Unless you have a Rita Barron in your organization, you are
going to have some problems. The problems that arise on nonstructural
projects are much greater than those on a structural project. Unless you
have a broad base of support and especially strong local support,
nonstructural measures are tough. In spite of Section 73 and the last
administration's support of nonstructural measures, it does not appear that
nonstructural measures will have the success in this administration that they
had in the past. The new Principles and Standards will probably indicate
that we must select a plan that would maximize net benefits. This would
represent a significant change from the current policy that allows us to add
the environmental quality benefits to the economic benefits in order to
justify nonstructural measures.
I presume I am on this panel to speak as a representative of a large
development company. If that is the reason, ours is not a very typical
development company because we are committed to Florida and have no plans to
do anything outside of the State. We have been here for a period of time,
and we have a long-term, continuing commitment. This gives us a different
perspective than development companies that expect to come in and be out in
three or four years. We, therefore, tend to take a longer range view about
things proposed for the environment or having to do with environmental
regulation. If we expect to continue to sell homes and attract people to our
communities over a period of 25 to 50 years, we have to look carefully at the
things that make our communities desirable. It is not desirable, even from a
purely economic standpoint, to have the fishing and recreational resources
decline in our communities. We have, on the whole, supported programs and
efforts to bring rationality and long-term planning to the environmental
Generally speaking, our company would be supportive of the non-
structural approach to water management. The only problem we have is that
because we have long-term community commitments and obligations, we tend to
be concerned about changes in the direction of governmental regulations. The
State has a lot to gain from a development company that is willing to make a
long-term commitment to communities. But there is also the need to recognize
that if the company is going to continue with its long-term commitment, there
must be some predictability and the changes have to be reasonable. They have
to be economically feasible and not place the company in legal jeopardy.
It is obvious that nonstructural approaches do enhance water quality,
recreation, and wildlife habitats. They also enhance the general living
environment, but there are situations where mixed approaches to this problem
are indicated. This is true especially when there are long-term commitments
built around existing water management systems. To some extent, these
systems can be adapted, but it is difficult to take a system, upon which a
community has been planned and sold, and then redesign it.
One of the best hopes that we have for innovative approaches to water
management is to have environmental organizations make the effort to reach
out to the business community to educate them about the benefits of these
programs. If you do this, you will have to look at the economic benefits and
take a realistic measure of them. In other words, this is a program that you
will have to sell. If you want federal funding, you must find a way to
convince the business community that it is in their interest to support these
things. It will take some very hard-headed economic analyses. We are
beginning to experience tax revolts here, and there is going to be growing
resistance to programs that either add directly to the cost of public
services or that reduce public revenue-generating areas. The burden for
showing both immediate and long-range economic benefits from this type of
program is going to increase. I think you can do it. I do not think you are
doing it successfully so far. It is not the sort of thing government
agencies and environmental organizations have had a lot of practice doing.
We need to see more effort by our water management districts and local
governments to enact ordinances for low-flush toilets, water-saving shower
heads, and other water conservation methods. We built about 2,400 homes last
year, and every one contained low-flush toilets and water-saving shower
heads. We were also able a few years ago to persuade Charlotte County to
adopt a low-flush toilet ordinance.
In July, I was in Washington at the request of the American Clean
Water Association to testify on sewer grant issues. The Association is
extremely concerned about the loss of water resources as a result of the
large regional treatment plants developed under the Federal Clean Water Act.
In particular, they are concerned about deep well injection where many
millions of gallons of water are injected into a deep formation where it is
lost forever. I share that concern. We must also take other steps that are
available to us right now to conserve water.
As a "systems" thinker, it has actually become impossible for me to be
comfortable in a position in government or in universities because I found
that I was constrained there to think of merely one thing. I can no longer
About a year ago, a small group of conservation-minded citizens in
south Florida began to discuss the problems of the Everglades system which
reaches from the lakes of Orlando all the way into Florida Bay. After a
number of meetings during which our numbers grew considerably, we produced
this pamphlet entitled, "For the Future of Florida, Repair the Everglades."
It contains a 14-step process to unconstruct the Everglades flood control
system. I am chairman of this group which now consists of over 40 Florida
and-many national conservation organizations. It includes the Organized
Fishermen of Florida, Southeastern Fisheries Association, Florida League of
Women Voters, Florida Garden Clubs, Kiwanis Clubs, and Rotarian civic groups.
There are something like 200,000 citizens of Florida who are asking that the
Everglades system be repaired -- not restored. Restoration is impossible.
In the presentation I made to the Governing Board of the South Florida
Water Management District in Marathon, I recommended that the Governing Board
continue the "shirtsleeve symposiums." These were two or two-and-a-half day
seminars which were used as a means for a total systems approach to the
problems they already have and the ones that they might generate for
themselves if they move toward construction without a total system's view of
We must try to create a renaissance-type mind which does not exist in
the world of unlimited knowledge that we have today. We can do this by
bringing together a group, each one of whom can contribute something to a
particular problem, and who can think freely and clearly. I have
participated in perhaps a half dozen exercises of this kind. Some of them
are familiar to you. I was the south Florida coordinator for the Interior
Department's report on the Big Cypress Jetport. We gathered a group of
professionals from the natural sciences, engineering, chemistry, and so on in
order to make that analysis, and it worked. Envision a secular group, each
with some bit of knowledge to contribute. In the middle, there is a person
who assigns responsibility to them, but gives no directions whatsoever. The
statement we presented to the Florida Cabinet entitled, "Along the
Kissimmee/Okeechobee Basin," was also prepared in that fashion.
I have had 25 years of association with the Central and Southern
Florida Flood Control Project. It has never been nonstructural in my life
because modifications of it started in the 1880's and 1890's and have
continued steadily since that time. I can envision the Everglades when it
was entirely nonstructural. In no river system in Florida have the two
models for water management been more distinctly defined, and the system is
much more sophisticated than can be defined by a simplistic nonstructural/
structural view. It has, for example, already passed into restructural
activities. Two dams have been built by the water management district and
the Corps on the Miami canal in Conservation Area 3A to hold the flow of
water in that canal back. Is that structural, nonstructural, or
restructural? It is an effort to reverse the canal's original goal of moving
water south. A contract has also been let to block the flow of the
Buttonwood Canal. There is under consideration, as well, a flow reversal for
all the major Gold Coast canals constructed to drain the Everglades water to
the east. Restructural efforts will reverse some of the flow, moving it
instead back to the Everglades basin. If the Kissimmee Restoration Bill the
Florida Legislature passed in 1976 achieves its purpose, the Kissimmee ditch
will be unstructured.
In a very brief fashion, I am going to recite some of the effects of
the south Florida project on major natural resources. There is not water
enough for the farms and the cities and the Everglades National Park. In
spite of the structures, the public will be advised within a few months that
Everglades National Park is in an advanced state of deterioration. We may
actually be confronted with whether or not. to retain that area as a unit of
the National Park system because of the scarcity of water. We know that Lake
Okeechobee is surrounded by a maze of structures and levees and is now an
inadequate reservoir to meet the water needs of south Florida. That
circumstance will worsen. Wetlands through the Everglades system have been
more than halved. Water levels have been lowered in the rainy season by
about five or six feet. The sheet flow of the pristine system, which allowed
water to move slowly in a shallow broad sheet down through the Everglades
system for eight or nine and sometimes 12 months out of the year, has been
reduced to four or five months with water only standing on the land.
The decimation of the sheet flow in the Everglades has done more harm
than any other single change resulting from construction. This flow, moving
perhaps 20 feet in 24 hours, produced all the muck of the Everglades. Unless
that sheet of water is restored, there will never again be muck generated in
the Florida Everglades. There is a special element of that muck lying just
south of Lake Okeechobee. It is the base of the Florida Everglades
agricultural industry, which has a life expectancy of about 18 to 20 more
years. Not only is it going to be gone, but the very mechanism that created
it was destroyed when the lower Kissimmee River was channeled. There is no
possibility of restoring muck in the upper Everglades or any part of the
Everglades if the sheet flow from the Kissimmee River system is not restored.
My point here is that there is a host of extremely valuable natural resources
of great economic worth which suffers from the structural approach.
Water quality throughout this system is in very bad shape. The marine
fisheries of Everglades National Park have been reduced at least by half.
The fish and wildlife populations dependent on Everglades wetlands are in
disarray. Transpiration in the pristine Everglades gave up 90 percent of the
annual volume of water of that system to the atmosphere. Structural water
management has dealt only with ten percent of the water in the system. This
is an important hydrologic process in south Florida that has been tragically
overlooked because of a concern for structural methods of water management.
Let us suppose that there are 50 inches of rainfall per year: ten percent of
the 50 inches is five inches. That's all that the water management district
has to manage. What happens when the rainfall drops from 50 inches to 49
inches? Haveiwe lost 1/50 of our usable water or have we lost 1/5? I
personally think it is somewhere in between.
Everything I have described as a natural product of the Everglades
system was a product of solar energy operating through the sheet flow of
water in the system. Now we run it with a lot of fossil fuel energy, and we
worry about whether we can afford fossil fuel energy.
I am the "token bureaucrat" on this panel and my speech has not been
approved so I will have to give you a "draft" speech.
I have wrestled with this issue of structural versus nonstructural for
a long time. I can enthusiastically tell you that I do not have the answer.
However, I feel I need to say something about it. The State of Florida is
firmly committed to nonstructural water management. The "Save Our Rivers"
bill is a classic statement by the Legislature that we want nonstructural
water management, and the bill specifically prohibits the acquisition of
canal rights of way. The State Water Policy is also a broad but specific
statement that Florida intends to protect its natural systems and to give
equal consideration to nonstructural water management. The Governor also
wrote the Corps of Engineers in February asking them to give consideration
to nonstructural water management.
I think "nonstructural water management" will be defined by the State
approved project for the upper St. Johns River. In that case, there will
probably be structures and the definition of "nonstructural" for the St.
Johns will be a combination of land acquisition and some water structures.
The definition will be different for the Suwannee River. The Suwannee River
Resource Management Task Force is coming out with recommendations that will
be implemented by local government and the water management district. They
will call for a combination of land use controls by local government and
possibly controls and land acquisition by the water management district. In
south Florida, nonstructural water management will probably be surface water
management as is currently practiced there. It will involve land acquisition
and possibly some modification to the existing system. In Southwest,
nonstructural will be similar to what has been occurring there for the last
several years. Southwest has practiced nonstructural water management
through regulation and acquisition of land. In Northwest, there will also be
land acquisition and local land use management. Nonstructural water
management will thus come in all shades of grey.
How much of a structure is too much or too little will be a judgment
call. It will have to be defined on a case-by-case basis. The Legislature,
the State Water Policy, and the Governor all indicate that protection of
nature is a goal, that the natural environment is sacred, and that we should
use natural systems for energy conservation and long-term monetary savings.
There is one serious impediment to nonstructural implementation in
that traditionally, public works projects were paid for by 80 percent federal
money. However, public works projects derive their cost-benefit ratio from
an analysis of projected improvements to the land, and the improvements must
justify the project economically. That is a built-in characteristic of the
system that results in favoritism for structural projects. We have got to
get over that hurdle.
I first heard the term "nonstructural" some 11 years ago as a member of
a citizens advisory committee in the Connecticut River Basin. The committee
asked the new basin commission to develop a flood plain management strategy
for the Connecticut, and I put in long hours over the next several years
trying to integrate the contributions of federal and state agency activities
aimed at preserving natural flood source capacity. Helping to implement an
integrating policy was an interesting professional challenge that was denied
to me, not because the policy itself was deficient or lacked public support,
but because the institutional setting that was required to implement a
unified flood plain management program was inadequate. The local interests
lacked the organization, the process, and the resources. State and federal
agency commitment was limited by individual legislative mandates and since
their own programs and constituencies took precedence over collective policy,
they each tended to go their own way. The task of reinforcing collective
policy with political clout thus fell to the people in the Valley whose
interests were most immediately at stake, but the political structure had not
assigned them this task. They actually had no assigned tasks except to
implement projects and programs, municipal water supply, land use, and
pollution control. The task of making policy and implementing it had been
assigned to the management agencies, and they could not handle it. The end
product of years of expensive planning was another book that is gathering
dust on the shelf.
If the Connecticut Basin is representative of the present institutional
structure for making and implementing water policy, it appears to be upside
down. Policy should flow upward from the people who experience the impacts
of nature and water management. It is a two-way flow upward and downward, but
it starts at the bottom. Appropriate institutions for generating and applying
policy guidance is not with the management agencies such as the Department of
the Interior, EPA, or their state counterparts, but should instead be with
general purpose local governments. There is frustration with the present
institutional setting in part because we continue to expect policy guidance to
flow downward without regard for its source. We also continue to assume that
management agencies can make policy and perform their resource management
functions at the same time. The rise and fall of the U.S. Water Resources
Council illustrates the futility of turning over a policy-making function to
an agency-based institutional structure rather than a constituency-based
The case for turning the water policy structure on its head does not
rest alone on my experience in the Connecticut River Basin. It rests on the
assumption that local governments, when they look at a watershed together, are
theoretically the only element of the institutional structure that can look at
the watershed as a whole and whose view embraces every aspect of the care and
management of that resource. Put the care of that resource in the hands of
any other than a management agency and it will not have a comprehensive
basin-wide perspective. It will be affected by the institutional impacts of
water management but not by the primary economic, environmental, and social
impacts. It will not, therefore, have the incentive or capability to provide
comprehensive policy guidance for individual management decisions. Management
planning is product rather than process oriented. It aims toward specific
actions within a limited time frame. It addresses specific needs and is
controlled by the agencies responsible for taking those actions.
The case for a constituency-based water policy process run by
collective local governments at the watershed level does not rest on the
present capabilities of local governments to assume this responsibility. It
rests on their theoretical basin-wide perspective and potential to bring the
necessary perspective to bear on individual management decisions. This
potential cannot be realized unless local governments are given a clearly
defined assignment within a total process that they can comprehend. The
institutional structure must clearly define their role in relation to other
levels of government, to management agencies at all levels, and to the
What I am suggesting for nonstructural flood plain management and for
water policy in general is that we stop producing regional strategies until we
have developed the institutional capability to use them. This probably cannot
be done until an ongoing policy guidance process is created and until local
governments who share watersheds are collectively put in charge. When we
finally do put this operation on a watershed scale, it will be necessary to
link it to decisions that have to be made by management agencies such as water
management districts and at the state, interstate, and national levels. This
linking should be through an operational, constituency-based water policy
structure which also does not exist now.
Congress and the administration can develop this kind of national water
policy structure. It should be one that defines the water policy process as
it ought to be defined and assigns institutional responsibilities among the
various levels of government and the private sector in such a way that it
avoids conflict. This is unlikely because the base of information and
analysis that is available to guide institutional engineering is seriously
inadequate. In other phases of resource management, decisions are usually
supported by some data and analysis, but in the institutional areas it seems to
be assumed that the institutional structure can be successfully tinkered with
without some comprehension of how the structure and all of its parts now
operate. Past experience with institutional engineering points out that we do
not adequately comprehend the institutional structure and that the effects of
structural changes cannot be predicted any better than they were when the
Water Resources Planning Act was passed 16 years ago.
Florida may offer fertile ground for the kind of institutional analysis
that is urgently needed. It has watersheds under stress where there are
active local constituencies. It has an institutional structure that is
attempting to deal with conflicts on a watershed scale while formulating
policy guidance at the state level. It has separate regional agencies for
growth and watershed management that are subject to different degrees of local
control and may well need to be strengthened to be more effective. It hos
endured both water policy conflicts and institutional issues and has the
potential to help guide the rest of the nation in handling difficult
procedural and organizational issues.
A collaborative institutional reform process could begin with an
examination of existing intergovernmental roles and the relationships of
management agencies and local constituencies in a local watershed. If
nothing else, it makes sense to use this period of "marking time" that Joe
Tofani referred to last night in order to gain better understanding of
intergovernmental roles and relationships through an orderly program of
institutional analysis. The National Academy of Public Administration has
proposed to provide an appropriate institutional home for such a program.
In summary, nonstructural flood plain management does not work in the
time it takes to build a flood control dam. Instead, it works continuously
over time and requires the cooperation of every level of government. It
especially requires local governments to control land use. The only way to
get the necessary degree of cooperation and to be able to sustain it will be
to create a policy-guidance process at the watershed level, give general
purpose local governments collective responsibility for it, and support them
through the institutional structure and from the national level on down.
The only way we can master the complexity of the institutional structure so
that we can improve it may be to involve the main actors in a collaborative
examination of the way the existing structure works now.
Thank you very much. Tom Coldewey asked me to express his particular
thanks to all of you for coming to this conference. I want to add my thanks
to the staff of the water management districts who worked so hard to put on
It has been a real winner. We were delighted to participate in it and
look forward to next year.
This public document was promulgated at a cost of $405.00, or $.54 per
copy, to provide public officials and private citizens with a record
of the Sixth Annual Conference on Water Management in Florida.