Title: Letter to Joan Hegen From Jacob Varn re: Ideas Involving Water and Resulting Notes
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/WL00004117/00001
 Material Information
Title: Letter to Joan Hegen From Jacob Varn re: Ideas Involving Water and Resulting Notes
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida
Abstract: Jake Varn Collection - Letter to Joan Hegen From Jacob Varn re: Ideas Involving Water And Resulting Notes (JDV Box 54)
General Note: Box 17, Folder 5 ( Water Policy - 1981 ), Item 4
Funding: Digitized by the Legal Technology Institute in the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: WL00004117
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



Department of Transportation
Haydon Burns Building, 605 Suwannee Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32301, Telephone (904) 488-8541

July 10, 1981


JUL 13 1981

Joan Heggen

Jacob D. Varn


On Saturday, July 25, I will be participating in a
Florida Law program on environmental law. I will be discussing
emerging issues involving water. I would appreciate it if you
would call or send me any suggestions or ideas relating to
this topic. I apologize for the short notice but I would
appreciate your thoughts and ideas. Thanks.





Question-Do water resources and water dependent natural systems (estuaries, wetlands,

floodplains) enjoy constitutional rights?

1. Yes, see Article II Section 7 ("conserve and protect natural resources")

2. But who protects those rights? our water policy and regulatory system

3. Implication: constitutional sanction to deny adverse consumption or use of

water or water dependent natural systems

4. Classic confrontation: constitutional right of resources protection vs

property rights of land owners?

Question-Is water a constraint to growth?

1. Yes and no in Florida.

2. Yes in absolute sense, i.e., people and agriculture die without it, but

3. Our record since statehood indicates answer is no, i.e., we've historically

drained, pumped, diverted and otherwise used our water resources to accom-

modate and even stimulate growth

4. Historical attitude of water managers: plenty of water, cost is issue

(see Miami Herald article, 7/5/81, quoting assistant director of South

Florida Water Management District: "There is no actual shortage of water

in South Florida. The question is-How much are you willing to pay for


5. As we reach limits of surface and groundwater supplies, which have been

traditional public facility/service functions for local governments, are

local governments obligated to find other water supply sources, such as

reverse osmosis and desalinization, i.e., is there ever a point where

government responsibility for water supply ends (when natural water supply

sources end), or will new growth always be the imperative for an ever-

widening search for new alternatives?

Page Two

6. How often do you ever hear of a rezoning being denied due to lack of


Question-Can we limit urban growth due to lack of water?

1. As a police power right, yes

2. As a political choice, in a state where tourism and construction are major

economic forces, we haven't yet (except temporary rationing and moratoria

during droughts)

3. Interbasin transfer issue becomes crucial here

4. Practical fact is that people demand services, i.e., water supply

5. Doubt if water planning/management and most local land planning/management

is sophisticated and coordinated enough to sustain legal challenge

6. Not totally negative picture, Chapter 373 and 380 born in 1971 drought,

we know they don't prevent droughts but give us more sophisticated tools

to deal with water resources, still long way from perfect in managing

water resources in Florida.

Question-What water related problems are emerging in Southwest Florida?

-The drainage of floodplains for development has caused a change in the

hydrologic regiem of the Southwest Historic Fresh Water Marshes which

are now salt marshes

-Storm water drainage into rivers, lakes, and estuaries are causing

water quality problems

-Inadequate sewage treatment plants and tens of thousands of septic tanks

located in areas with a high water table or unsuitable soils are polluting

our waters

Page Three

-These changes to the estuaries are threatening coastal and offshore fisheries

-Salt water intrusion is occurring due to heavy consumption and over drainage

-The winter influx of tourists and seasonal residents coincides with South-

west Florida's dry season

-There is growing concern over who will be allowed to use the available

water and for what purposes

-The expected doubling of the population in the Charlotte Harbor area by

2000 A.D. and the southward migration of the phosphate industry will put

a much greater demand on the already short water supply

-An existing 900,000 platted lots in Charlotte Harbor area represents even

greater future water supply needs

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