Southwest Florida Water Management District's Role in Regional Water Supply
In the past there has always been competition for water between counties and
municipalities. If you wanted water, it was every man for himself. This was the way
of life and I think that we are beginning to realize that we can't afford to allow that
system to continue. Today we see: well fields that have been located improperly,
wells that withdraw too much water, wells that are too closely spaced, pumping
patterns that invite salt water intrusion, pumping patterns that create damaging cones
of depression, etc. -- in sum, an uncoordinated and unplanned development of well
fields. That system was not in the best interest of our water resources or the citizens
who needed the water. It is well established that we are not running out of water.
There is a sufficient supply of water for many years, but we must start using our water
more efficiently -- efficient in a hydrologic sense. We must eliminate the competi-
tion for water and it is with this goal in mind that we have assembled here today.
We need 'a coordinated effort to supply water to the citizens of this area.
Our District has strongly endorsed the idea of a regional water supply unit. Senator
Ray Knopke of Hillsborough County called together officials from Pasco, Hillsborough
and Pinellas counties in October 1971 to discuss similar plans. As a result of this
meeting Senator Knopke agreed to sponsor legislation that would provide legal author-
ity for the Southwest Florida Water Management District to purchase well field sites.
Although many details have not been worked out, the general belief is that the
District would make available these regional well field sites to a regional water
supply unit. The District is responsible for regulating and protecting the water
resources, therefore the District shouldn't be promoting the sale of water. The pro-
tector and promoter should not be the same. It is the District's hope that with the
authority to purchase the well field sites, the competition for the sites will be
eliminated. A coordinated system of regional well fields would eliminate or reduce
many of the present and future water resource problems.
SIt is the District's hope that should we gain the ability to acquire the well
field sites, then the counties and cities would go one step further and devise a
regional distribution system. This would eliminate the network of distribution lines
running from each of the established well fields. Providing a regional distribution
system would reduce the pumping costs, a major expense with the present system.
In conclusion, the District strongly supports the efforts that are being made
towards the establishment of a regional water supply unit.
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