Title: Discussion Paper on Water Ressources Management Policy
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/WL00004090/00001
 Material Information
Title: Discussion Paper on Water Ressources Management Policy
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida
Abstract: Jake Varn Collection - Discussion Paper on Water Ressources Management Policy (JDV Box 54)
General Note: Box 17, Folder 2 ( Task Force on Water Issues, Bills Passed, Articles - 1980s ), Item 33
Funding: Digitized by the Legal Technology Institute in the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.
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Bibliographic ID: WL00004090
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Levin College of Law, University of Florida
Holding Location: Levin College of Law, University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

Full Text



Chapters 373 and 403, Florida Statutes, provide the

statutory authorization for water resource management in the

State of Florida. These chapters express a state level interest

in water resources. State concerns revolve around the resource

as a whole, quality and quantity; maintenance of ground-water

levels, surface-water flows, protection of the estuarine areas,

protection of natural environmental values associated with fresh-

water resources, and protection of resources from pollution and


Other activities that impact our water resources that are of

State concern are flood control and water supply. To date there

has been no clear policy from the State as to the State's role in

these types of construction oriented endeavors. In some instances

these endeavors have been funded by ad valorem taxes levied by

water management districts. In others, State and Federal funds

have been utilized. There is a need for the State to clarify

those types of activities that it will support through general

revenue funding.

Management of the resource occurs on two fronts. One is by

controlling man's activities that impact the resource (i.e.

regulation) and the other is by physically controlling the resource

(i.e. construction). History shows that construction and develop-

ment activities can and do conflict with regulations designed to

protect the environment. There are those who feel that the

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authority for environmental protection (i,e. the regulator)

should be separated from those charged with construction and

development. On the other hand, since environmental protection

and public works projects are being done "in the public interest",

a single agency with both responsibilities might be in the best

position to weigh the merits of both needs and choose the most

reasonable position between the two.

The purpose of this water policy discussion draft is to

examine various alternatives as to how the State can best perform

the water resource management functions described in Chapters 373

and 403, Florida Statutes.


A. Regulatory Activities

1. Department of Environmental Regulation (DER)

a. Has primary responsibility and authority for

the regulatory programs designed to protect

air quality and water quality and quantity.

b. Has authority to delegate water quality and

quantity regulatory programs and the appropriate

rule-making authority to the water management


c. Presently, DER is administering regulatory

programs for air quality, water quality and

water well contractors.

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2. Water Management Districts (WMDs)

a. The two older districts (SFWMD and SWFWMD)

retained some of the regulatory programs

initiated prior to the passage of the Water

Resources Act of 1972 (Chapter 373, F.S.).

b. The new districts can only exercise the

regulatory programs delegated to them by

DER. To date, the consumptive use permitting

programs of SFWMD and SWFWMD and the surface

water management program of SFWMD represent

the most significant regulatory efforts

undertaken by the WMDs.

c. Each of the districts have different regula-

tory programs. The different regulatory efforts

reflect different factors and views between the

districts, such as:

1) different funding capabilities

2) regulatory programs prior to 1972

3) staff experience

4) District and Board philosophy

5) varied regional politics

6) lack of direction or policy by DER

d. Presently, DER, SFWMD, SWFWMD and SJRWMD are

all exercising dredge and fill regulatory


3. Positions shared by DER and WMDs.

a. Currently there are overlaps and conflicts

between the various regulatory programs.

b. Practically, you cannot separate water quality

responsibilities from water quantity responsi-


c. The relationship between DER and the WMDs under

the environmental reorganization act has not

been clearly defined. In addition, realign-

ment of rules, rule making and basic philosophies

is an evolutionary process that is still occurring,

d. There is a need to eliminate permit duplication

and to make the permitting process as fair and

efficient as possible.

B. Construction and Development Activities

1. Department of Environmental Regulation (DER)

a. For all practical purposes DER has no construc-

tion responsibilities or capability. One

possible exception might be the "Lake

Restoration Program". Basically, DER is not

staffed, funded or oriented toward construction

or development activities.

2. Water Management Districts (WMDs)

a. Each of the two older districts (SFWMD and

SWFWMD) were created to serve as local sponsors

for major federal flood control projects. Today

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a. (continued)

SWFWMD, SFWMD and SJRWMD are all engaged in

the construction of flood control works. In

addition, at least one of the districts has

engaged in the construction of smaller flood

control and water management projects (i.e.

work beyond the scope of the federally

authorized project).

b. As part of the federally authorized flood

control project the SFWMD is engaged in

water supply. Under Section 373, 1961, F.S.,

water management districts, upon request by a

county, municipality or regional water supply

authority, may engage in water supply.

3. Regional Water Supply Authorities

a. In 1974 the Legislature recognized the need

for an entity charged with the responsibility

of insuring that all of our citizens would

have an adequate water supply.

b. To date, pursuant to the 1974 Legislation,

two authorities have been created and a third

is in the early formative stage.

c. There is a need for a water supply entity.

The regional water supply authorities have not

been successful in solving the problem.

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d. There are several reasons why regional water

supply authorities have not been successful


1. parochial attitudes by the members

2. lack of financial resources

C. Funding

1. Department of Environmental Regulation (DER)

a. The Department's budget is set by the

Legislature and includes funds from General

Revenue as well as federal grants.

2. Water Management Districts (WMDs)

a. Historically, the two older districts

received state funds through the Water

Resources Development Account for acquisi-

tion of water storage lands, a portion of

the project's construction cost and the total

cost of highway and bridge improvement

necessary in connection with the project.

b. More recently, the WMDs have received state

funds through WRDA for the following:

1. NWFWMD for operations

2. SRWMD for operations

3. SJRWMD for operations and land acquisition

4. SWFWMD for land acquisition and construction

5. SFWMD for land acquisition and construction

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b. (continued)

To date, NWFWMD and SRWMD have no reason to

request funds for land acquisition or con-

struction. SJRWMD would accept funds for

operations, land acquisition or construction.

SFWMD would accept, but to date has not been

provided, funds for operations. SWFWMD has

taken a strong position against accepting

state funds for operations.

c. During the Askew Administration there was an

effort within the Department of Administration

to change the funding being provided to the

WMDs. Efforts were made to provide state

funds solely for operational purposes and to

eliminate funding for construction and land

acquisition. The theory was that all of

the State benefitted from the operation of

the Districts and that construction and

land acquisition inured to the benefit of the

citizens within the District.

3. Regional Water Supply Authorities

a. Basically operate from funds provided by

its local government members. Provision was

made for a portion of SWFWMD (0.05 mills)

ad valorem funds to go to one authority for

a five year period.

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A. To simplify the permitting processes and to avoid

duplication of efforts. The policy should strive to:

1. Consolidate water quality and water quantity


2. Place the permitting responsibility at the

lowest possible level.

3. Make the permitting procedures and requirements

uniform throughout the State.

B. To develop a state water policy to guide water resource

management decisions.

C. To establish DER's role and the WMDs' roles in the

water resources management program.

D. To establish the purposes for which state funds may

be utilized in the water resources management program.


A. The two most viable alternatives are as follows:

1. DER shall delegate all water quality responsibilities

to the WMDs and, in effect, eliminate the DER District

and Subdistrict offices. (Alternative One)

2. DER shall assume all regulatory functions under

Chapters 373 and 403, Florida Statutes, and the

WMDs shall assume responsibility for flood control

and water supply activities. (Alternative Two)

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B. Advantages of Alternative One Over Alternative Two

1. The manpower requirements for DER would be reduced

significantly. While the WMDs' staff would be

increased, a net decrease in number of employees

should result. Because of the location of the WMDs

offices, a substantial number of DER employees

would have to relocate. The employees would lose

their status and protection under Career Service,

but historically the WMDs have paid higher salaries.

2. Within SWFWMD and SFWMD the WMDs' staffs have more

experience and background in water quantity regulatory

efforts. SFWMD has been involved in certain water

quality activities. Many of these technical staffs

may not want to work for DER because the WMDs generally

pay better than DER.

3. Because final agency action by the WMDs is taken by

the Governor appointed Governing Boards rather than

an appointed Secretary there are those who believe

that the Governing Boards are more knowledgable

about local conditions and thus better able to make

the regulatory decision. In addition, the Governing

Boards are closer to the people.

C. Advantages of Alternative Two Over Alternative One

1. Would separate the regulatory functions from the

development/construction functions. The WMDs would

have to comply with the same regulations as the

- 10 -

1. (continued)

private developers. This approach would eliminate

the same conflict that the WMDs have when they

permit their own projects. History and experience

has shown that when choices have to be made between

the environment and development, the environment

generally loses. It is important that the same

environmental standards be applied to all projects.

2. Although some of the WMDs have some regulatory

programs, most of the WMDs are not in a position

to expand the scope of their activities. The

Department could expand its activities better than

the WMDs.

3. Under this arrangement WMDs could move to start

solving some of the serious water supply problems

we face throughout the State. At this time we don't

have an agency actively involved in solving these

problems. The WMDs (absent consumptive use permitting

authority) are the best equipped to solve the pressing

water supply problems plaguing many areas.

4. With DER assuming the lead role in regulatory

activities and the movement towards using General

Revenue funds for regulatory activities, funding by

the Legislature would be much simpler. General

revenue would be used for regulatory activities

(that benefit all of the citizens) and the ad valorem

- 11 -

4. (continued)

taxes would be used for projects within each of

the WMDs (that primarily benefit the citizens of

that District).

5. Since all permitting could not be delegated to the

WMDs (for example, air permitting) this arrangement

would place all permitting activities in a single


6. Based on recent experiences with EPA, DER has had

problems delegating additional authority.

Alternative Two would be much more acceptable to

EPA than Alternative One.

7. With DER permitting, the Department would be better

able to standardize the permitting process throughout

the State. Today, some of the Districts have

implemented the same type program with different

interpretations of the law and using widely varying


8. With the Department running the program the Secretary

of DER is clearly accountable to the Governor.

Whereas, with the Governing Boards there are nine

members on each Board and it is difficult to deter-

mine why certain actions are taken. In addition,

the Governing Boards have a responsibility to the

taxpayers, since the Boards assess an ad valorem

tax. Historically, there has been an issue as to

- 12 -

8. (continued)

the extent of DER's supervision over the WMDs.

Certainly, with Alternative Two it would be much

clearer and easier for the Department to implement

the state policy.

D. Other Policies That Should Be implemented As Part Of

Alternative Two.

1. Nonstructural Flood Control This means of flood

control is preferable to the traditional structural

measures. Acquisition of flood plains and restricting

development within flood prone areas is more desirable

than the costly public works projects. Non-structured

flood control precludes the need for corrective action.

In addition, this approach preserves the assimulative

capacity of biological communities associated with

flood plains and is, therefore, important to maintain-

ing water quality.

Even if the State could implement a viable non-

structured flood control program, we would still need

some structural flood control projects. Since these

flood control projects provide benefit only to those

local citizens, it is appropriate that local ad valorem

taxes pay for these improvements.

- 13 -

2. Existing Federal Flood Control Projects there

are two major federal flood control projects under-

way within the State the Central and Southern

project, locally sponsored by SFWMD and the Four

River Basins project locally sponsored by SWFWMD.

Historically, these projects have received federal,

state and local funding. The state funds were used

for land acquisition of water storage lands and

construction. Within each of these projects there

are numerous projects. Because of the new environ-

mental criteria and a revised cost-benefit ratio

formula much of both projects will not be built with

federal participation.

In reliance on the old method of funding portions

of both projects are moving towards construction.

For those portions that are moving towards construction

the State should honor its commitment to support,

however, for those portions that have not moved to-

wards construction the Department will not support

for further state funding. At the moment we have

asked the WMDs to identify those portions of the

projects for which state funding will be requested.

3. NWFWMD's Taxing Authority Regardless of the alterna-

tive selected, the 0.05 mill cap on NWFWMD will be

inadequate for the District to carry out its responsi-

bilities. If the constitutional provision is not

amended, state funding is the only alternative.

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4. State Water Policy The Department is in the

process of developing a state water policy. Our

intentions are to develop this policy in conjunction

with the water management districts and adopt the

policy as rules. Once adopted, the policy could

and would be implemented by DER and the WMDs. With

an adopted policy, the Department will be in a

better position to review actions by the WMDs.

The policy is to be broad and is to be implemented

by each of the WMDs as is appropriate for each

District. The Department intends to use many of

the concepts included in the WMDs' Water Use Plans.


The alternatives outlined above represent the most viable

solutions for developing a sound water resources management

program for the State of Florida. Further, these alternatives

are consistent with the goals of:

1. Simplifying and eliminating duplication in the

permitting process;

2. Establishing a good, meaningful and cooperative

relationship with the water management districts;


3. Developing a sound state water policy.

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