a904 754 6874 SWFWMD EXEC
Water Management District
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(352) 796-7211 SUNCOM 628-4150 T.D.D. Number Only (Florido Only): 1-800-231-6103
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Roy G. Hanl. Jr
Chairman. St. Peterburg
Joe L Davis. Jr.
Vice Chairman. Wouchula
Curit L Law
Secretary. Land Lakes
Jarr~ L A"i
Rmomn F. Compo
Rebecca M. Eger
John P. Huaso, IV
Ronald C. Johnson
lrginia S. Ro
E. D. *Sonny" Vergara
Edward B. Helvenson
August 22, 1997
Mr. Pickens Talley
Pinellas County Utilities Director
Post Office Box 1780
Clearwater, Florida 34617
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This is in response to your letters to me of August 15 and 18. I am encouraged by your
kind words about the Tampa Bay Partnership Plan and look forward to your public
support of it. In the meantime, I will try to address your concerns. I am not treating
your August 15 letter as a public records request, but if it is, please send it directly to
either Sonny Vergara or Ed Helvenston.
To start with, you have asked many questions regarding the proposed '40D-8 and
40D-80 Rules which the District has been considering. As you know, 40D-8 sets the
minimum flows and levels as required by the Florida Legislature, while 40D-80
establishes an interim recovery plan. At present, there is no decision on either Rule as
presented at the public workshop of the Governing Board on August 18. Staff
volunteered, and the Governing Board agreed, to review alternative approaches to
establishing the Legislatively mandated minimum flows. Therefore, we have no 40D-8
Rule at the present time. I believe everyone agreed that the consequences of the first
draft of the Rule would be too severe and, therefore, alternatives must be explored.
Regardless of the consideration of 40D-8, the Governing Board welcomes a scientific
peer review process of the Rule based on its possible impacts on public supply water
users and the environment. In addition, I doubt we will be satisfied with the Rule by
the end of September. Consequently, SWFWMD will continue the review process with
full public input. The Rule will be changed as needed. This is the first minimum flow
and level Rule to be adopted by any Water Management District in Florida and it is
vitally important that it be right.
The recovery plan in the proposed 40D-80 Rule reflects the Partnership Plan that we
presented to West Coast and all of its member governments in February, 1997. We
will continue pursuing the Partnership Plan, but it does not have to be concluded by
October 1, 1997. We need to ensure that there is additional time for all of us to work
on an agreement to develop needed water supplies. Now we are considering whether
the Rule is needed if we have a Partnership Agreement between SWFWMD and
WCRWSA in place.
A'. E,.d' ()O;:vti"r EiI'.:: '
00904 754 6874 SWFWMD EXEC
Mr. Picken Talley
August 22, 1997
This then takes us to the cooperative effort of the Partnership Plan. There are seven basic
components of it providing one definitive outcome: a resolution of our long term water supply
A. New Water. West Coast and its members proposed a Master Water Plan several years
ago for the development of new water. It provided a list of non-prioritized projects to
be considered and a target of 85 million new gallons of water per day to be developed
in two phases, by 2002 and 2007. SWFWMD supports the West Coast proposal,
however we did ask that the feasible projects be selected by July 1, 1998. We have
been advised by West Coast staff that the date is reasonable. So on both the process
and quantities of new water, West Coast and the District have agreement.
B. New Water Funding. SWFWMD developed a New Water Supply Initiative about
five years ago. This funding was earmarked to support the development of non-
traditional water supplies. The reason was simple-provide a safe, sustainable,
environmentally-friendly and cost-effective water supply which helps insulate the
Tampa Bay community from drought. We told the public that was the reason for the
fund and the tax that created it. To date, it has raised nearly $20 million annually for
this specified purpose. We have stated in the Partnership Plan that we are willing to
dedicate a portion of the NWSI funds to facilitate the development of non-traditional
water supplies and the interconnects for rotation which are in the Master Water Plan.
The Partnership Plan commits to fund one-half the cost of non-traditional water
supplies and interconnects. This amounts to $183 million. We have heard some
suggestion that we should have a vote by the public on this. We do not believe such a
vote is necessary.
C. Conservation. The District Basin Boards in the Tampa Bay area are presently
providing about $9 million of funding to local governments for conservation and
reclaimed water projects. Many success stories have resulted from collaboration
between Pinellas County Communities and the District's Pinellas Anclote River Basin
Board. Alone, the Pinellas Anclote River Basin Board funds roughly $4.5 million of
that total expenditure. In addition, the West Coast consultant on conservation made a
presentation last month to the District's Governing Board. He indicated that, with
concentrated efforts, we can all do even better at reducing demand of potable water. In
any event, the Partnership Plan commits a minimum of $90 million over the next ten
years to continue an aggressive approach to conservation.
D. Wellfield Acquisition. The Governance Plan of West Coast envisions a transfer of
local government wellfields to the Authority. SWFWMD already owns several
wellfields and has provided long-term leases to West Coast. To continue that effort,
09702/97 08:48 e904 754 6874
Mr. Pickens Talley
August 22. 1997
SWFWMD has committed to pursue Save Our River funds to acquire the wellfields
which would then be leased back to West Coast, as we have done before. The actual
pump structures would have to be financed separately by West Coast. Likewise,
SWFWMD has committed to pursue CARL funds from the State to acquire Weeki
Wachee from the City of St. Petersburg and Al Bar Ranch from Pinellas County. The
total benefit to local government would be almost $53 million. This is only an offer of
support. If West Coast does not need or want assistance, SWFWMD can readily use
those fund for other land acquisition purposes.
E. Pumpage Reductions. West Coast staff indicate that the Central System wellfields
can be reduced from their present usage level of 144 mgd to 121 mgd by 2002 and to
90 mgd by 2007. The way in which those reductions would be applied across the
existing 11 wellfields must still be determined by West Coast and District staff
cooperatively. In any event, West Coast staff have indicated they can provide a system
management plan to the District by July 1, 1998. This operational plan would include
how the reductions will be achieved. The District agrees to that approach.
F. Wellfleld Permits. If there is agreement among West Coast, its members and the
District, we can move forward on new water production and necessary pumping
reductions. Then the existing permits for the Central System would be modified to
comply with the agreed-upon levels for the term of the Partnership Agreement.
Although not finalized, the District contemplates a term of between 2007 and 2010.
To insure that those withdrawals can be relied upon, the District has indicated it will
explore the use of a Rule waiver under the new Administrative Procedures Act, to
enforce the Partnership Agreement.
G. Scientific Peer Review. Science has been used as just another litigation tool, rather
than a path to solving our shared water supply problem. Scientific Peer Review of
potential issues between regulator and regulated is a desirable alternative to litigation
and controversy. I firmly believe that this process should be followed whenever an
issue is in question. It makes even more sense financially and otherwise to have ajoint
study initially, rather than two separate studies then a third scientific review study. In
any event, the Partnership Agreement proposes that West Coast and the District
collaboratively establish a peer review program through the University of South
Florida's Environmental Science and Policy Program. That program is now directed
by Dr. Renu Khator who has facilitated the Tampa Bay NEP agreement, the
Partnership Plan and other important environmental issues. We suggest using her
program as the base with experts from the local University but with the flexibility to
09/02/97 08:49 0904 754 6874
Mr. Pickens Talley
August 22, 1997
pursue additional expertise on any given subject. If there is a conflict, she would
obtain experts from elsewhere. To insure program independence, we propose funding
the USF Foundation with $2 million dedicated exclusively to the program to be
matched by West Coast. The program would then be financially independent.
Hopefully, we could obtain a match of those funds from the Florida Legislature.
With those needs met, the local result is that costly and time-consuming litigation would end.
There is no need for litigation if the parties agree on new water production, current pumping
reductions and a new process to reach consensus in the future.
While we have not been involved in the reorganization of West Coast, other than our offer to
help acquire the wellfields, we support the efforts of the local governments in doing so.
All of these issues come to a point at the West Coast meetings scheduled August 25. The
morning session is intended to be among West Coast members to discuss, and hopefully decide,
upon the reorganization. The afternoon session is intended to be a presentation of the SWFWMD
Partnership Plan. The District hopes West Coast members agree to the reorganization to facilitate
agreement to the Partnership Plan. SWFWMD also needs West Coast to direct its staff to meet
with District staff to expeditiously negotiate a Partnership Agreement within the parameters of
the Partnership Plan. Finally, the District needs for the permit holders (West Coast, St.
Petersburg, Hillsborough and Pinellas) to agree to extend determination of the pending permits
for 60 days to allow the Partnership Agreement to be consummated. Those are three big steps,
but they are necessary. SWFWMD is ready to support all three.
If the three steps are not taken, the existing extension of the five permits would expire on
September 30. Consequently, the District Governing Board will be forced to take action on them
at our September meeting. This path leads to the downward spiral of more litigation without one
drop of water being produced and with continued environmental damage. That makes no sense
and we hope all parties will take all reasonable action to prevent it.
Through diligence, a solution can be achieved which produces new water, emphasizes
conservation, reduces environmental impacts and provides for a more orderly and less
confrontational process by which to make decisions in the future. The District pledges to work
actively to achieve that result. We hope that you agree.
0904 754 6874 SWFWMD EXEC
Mr. Pickens Talley
August 22, 1997
We will present our approach to the West Coast Board on August 25.
pc: Board of County Commissioners
Fred Marquist, County Administrator
Governing Board, SWFWMD