Title: Portrait of a WUCA (Water Use Caution Area)
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/WL00004521/00001
 Material Information
Title: Portrait of a WUCA (Water Use Caution Area)
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Publisher: Hydroscope - Vo. 21 No.1 Winter 1989-1990
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida
Abstract: Jake Varn Collection - Portrait of a WUCA (Water Use Caution Area) (JDV Box 91)
General Note: Box 23, Folder 1 ( Miscellaneous Water Papers, Studies, Reports, Newsletters, Booklets, Annual Reports, etc. - 1973 -1992 ), Item 24
Funding: Digitized by the Legal Technology Institute in the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: WL00004521
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



Shortage Continues Into New Water Year

T he District ended the 1989 water
year in September with a 7.5 inch
rainfall deficit, having received 86
percent of the expected average.
Ground water levels were well below
normal in the south and south central
part of the District, continuing a trend
that began almost a year earlier.
Almost all basins were below normal
levels. District-wide, stream flow,
which had been declining for months,
was 38 percent of normal.
October conditions were very dry.
Only 1.4 inches of rainfall, or 45
percent of the expected average, was
recorded. The majority of monitor
wells were below normal or at record
lows. WeW I$hte oi^i DaKErE riC.

averaged 5.2 feet below historical
averages, while those in the north
dropped 2.8 feet below the average.
As expected, stream flow decreased in
October but remained 38 percent of
the normal discharge rate.
November brought moisture to the
northern part of the District from a
series of storm systems that failed to
reach the south. Northern areas met or
exceeded the average rainfall for the
month The District-wide average of
1.8 inches was within the normal
range, but the average did not reflect
the minimal rainfall in southern
counties. Monitor wells there averaged
5.3 feet below normal, while in the
apaih ,tey were 23 feet below normal,

December brought above normal
rainfall, but not enough to erase the
deficit. Average rainfall District-wide
was 4.3 inches, or 195 percent of the
historical average of 2.2 inches. Stream
flow increased 43 percent over Novem-
ber, but still amounted to only 63
percent of the historical average for the
month. Ground water levels remained
fairly constant in the north, and
dropped an average of 2 feet in the
southern portion Levels in the north
averaged 1.9 feet below long-term
December averages, while southern
levels fell to 7.2 feet below the long-
term average.

Volume 21, Number 1

To foster understanding of the need
to conserve and protect water, Hydroscope
is published by the Public Communications
Department, Southwest Florida Water
Management District, 2379 Broad St., Brooksville,
FL 34609-6899

Board of Governors
Chairman: Michael Zagorac, Jr., Belleair
Vice Chairman: Walter H. Harkala, Plant City
Secretary: Anne Bishopric Sager, Venice
Treasurer: Roy G. Harrell, Jr., St. Petersburg
Charles A. Black, Crystal River
Joseph S. Casper, Tampa
Mary Ann Hogan, Brooksville
Samuel D. Updike, Babson Park
William H. Wilcox, Ph.D., Punta Gorda

Director, Public Communications: Jay S. Davis
Editor: Gloria Boykin
Layout: Graphic Design and Illustration Staff

Information in Hydroscope is for use
at will by the media. For full reprint
permission contact the Public
Communications Department.

To receive Hydroscope return the inserted
subscription card or contact the Public
Communications Department.

Water Management District Offices
2379 Broad Street
Brooksville, FL 34609-6899
904-796-7211, SUNCOM 628-4097
1-800-423-1476 (toll free)
970 East Main Center
Suite A
Bartow, FL 33830
2303 Highway 44 West
Inverness, FL 32650
7601 Highway 301 North
Tampa, FL 33637
813-985-7481, SUNCOM 578-2072
111 Corporation Way
Venice, FL 34292

Hydroscope was published at an approximate cost
of $5,500 or 73 cents per issue.

Winter, 1989-1990

2 HydroNews Water Shortage Spreads District Takes
Initiative with Water Conservation Measures IFAS Study
Measures Water for Freeze Protection Green Swamp
Calendar and Poster Offered Restoration Set for Banana
Lake Annual Report Published





Portrait of a WUCA Three Water Use Caution
Areas (WUCAs) have been designated within the District.
Water resources in each are seriously stressed and do not
meet current or projected demands. Regional management
efforts to stabilize and improve resources are now under way.
The Lake Wales/Highlands Ridge WUCA is the focus of this

On the Edge of Wilderness The John B.
Sargeant, Sr. Memorial Wilderness Park.

FOCUS Changing Old Habits: Making conservation
routine in the 1990s.

Conservation Retrofitting With Xeriscape


* .

On the cover: Sun sets over Lake Jackson
and the Sebring municipalpier.
Photo by Frank Budz

*0ntecvr u et vrLk ako
0n h ern uiia ir
*0ht yFakBd

Hydroscope Winter '89-'90

Water Shortage Spreads Throughout District
Northern Counties Included in Restrictions

The water shortage that began
last February in the southern part
of the District, then moved north,
will soon enter its second year.
The Governing Board recently
extended Phase II severe water
shortage restrictions to all
northern counties, making them
apply District-wide.
Below average rainfall for
the year, coupled with increased
demand have left ground water
levels at record lows in many
areas. Rainfall in November and
December helped to stabilize

SMonthly Mean Vs. Actual Rainfall

7 0131 thrlojgh 1790

I 1 ; C
S9 a s 1 989-9a

levels, according to Stuart Ander-
son, Deputy Executive Director,
Resource Management. "To hold
our own, the District will need to
see average monthly rainfalls of
2.5 to 3 inches between January
and June. That's what we would
need in order for the situation
not to worsen," he said. The first
six months of the year are
normally the driest. Demand for
the resource is usually higher.
The District entered the new
fiscal year with an average
rainfall deficit of 7.5 inches, the
second consecutive year of
below average rainfall.
To increase understanding of
the seriousness of the shortage,
and improve compliance with
the Phase II restrictions, the
District has launched an aware-
ness campaign. It includes radio
and TV public service announce-
ments, a survey to gauge public
awareness and attitudes and one-
on-one discussions with local

government officials to better co-
ordinate District water shortage
efforts with local governments.
A weekly water index will be
distributed to the media to
provide a quick reference to
ground water conditions. The
District Planning Department also
will write letters to reported
water use violators, notifying
them of restrictions. Repeated
violators will be forwarded to
local law enforcement agencies.
The campaign emphasizes
that water restrictions are critical
to fulfilling the District's responsi-
bility to protect and preserve the
resource. It also stresses that,
due to lack of rainfall and an in-
crease in usage, the District is in
a shortage situation that threatens
regional water supplies. In this
effort, it is not the intent of the
District to cause economic
hardship to residents or busi-
nesses, but to assure a safe and
adequate supply of water.l

District Takes Initiative with

Water Conservation Measures

A new chapter in the history of
water management was written
when the Governing Board voted
unanimously last fall to imple-
ment permanent conservation
measures for outdoor irrigation.
The District was the first in the
state to initiate such action.
The year-round measures
will become effective when the
current temporary water shortage
restrictions are lifted. They will
limit irrigation of lawns and
landscapes to three days a week
and prohibit watering between
the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Hydroscope Winter '89-'90

daily. All irrigation is prohibited
on Monday.
Agricultural water users also
are subject to mandatory conser-
vation. Users will be regulated
according to individual water use
permits, each of which will carry
additional conservation meas-
Exceptions include: the
watering in of herbicides,
pesticides and fungicides;
irrigation of new lawns less than
60 days old; protection from
frost, freeze and heat stress; irri-
gation using re-used water and

hand-watering and low-
volume irrigation.

Enforcement of the rules
rests with local municipalities.
However, a model ordinance in-
corporating the conservation
measures is being prepared to
assist local governments, which
are expected to act on it in the
coming months. At least 10 local
governments and the board of
directors of the Tampa Bay Re-
gional Planning Council already
have expressed support.

IlydmrNcuc .s

P-9 0P- 190P-Ad Ii

The year-round measures
have three objectives: to reduce
the volume of water used to
irrigate lawns and landscaping; to
flatten seasonal peaks in water
demand; and to increase aware-
ness of the need to save water.
Demand Increases
The need for the measures is
supported by rainfall patterns,
coupled with current and pro-
jected demand for the resource.
The population of the District is
projected to increase from 3.3
million to 5 million by 2020, with
the majority locating in coastal
communities. Groundwater levels
remain below normal because of
annual rainfall deficits, and will
remain below normal even with
average rainfall this year.
Before finalizing the conser-
vation measures, District staff
worked with representatives from
the public supply, industrial,
agricultural and "green" indus-
tries to gauge the impact on busi-
nesses. The Governing Board
heard presentations from profes-
sionals and concerned citizens at
public workshops. Hundreds of
phone calls were answered by
staff as it worked to refine
measures that would not have
negative economic impacts.
The permanent conservation
measures are only part of the
District's larger water conserva-
tion program. Other elements
include in-school elementary
education, the Save-A-Drop
public awareness campaign and
the promotion of Xeriscape, a
landscaping method that uses
drought-tolerant plants.U
-Andrea Spadafora

Check List
All of the Southwest Florida Water Management
District is under Phase II severe water shortage re-
strictions. These water use rules probably will remain
in effect at least until this summer. When the current
shortage is over, permanent conservation measures
dealing with irrigation will be implemented. Until
then, here is a check list of the Phase II restrictions:

*Lawn and landscape irrigation: Permitted three days
a week, but prohibited every day between the hours of 9
a.m. and 5 p.m.'Property addresses ending in an even
number or the letters A through M may irrigate Tuesday,
Thursday and Saturday. Addresses ending in an odd num-
ber or the letters N through Z or at locations with no
address may irrigate on Wednesday, Friday and
Sunday. Exceptions: New lawns and landscaping may be
watered daily up to 30 days after installation, but not
between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Also permitted is low volume
irrigation or hand-hosing of landscaping.
*Golf courses: Irrigation of fairways, roughs and non-
play areas on one half of the course must be confined to
Wednesday and Saturday, between the hours of midnight
and 8 a.m. Irrigation of the same type areas on the other
half may be done on Thursday and Sunday between mid-
night and 8 a.m. Exception: Courses using recycled
water are not subject to restrictions.
*Agriculture: Overhead irrigation, except by traveling
gun, is prohibited between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. Traveling
volume gun irrigation is prohibited between 2 and 5 p.m.
*Streets, driveways and sidewalks: Washing or clean-
ing is prohibited except to meet health or safety standards.
*Car/Truck and other mobile equipment washing: Re-
stricted to the days (but not the hours) of permitted irriga-
tion of established lawns, and only when using low-
volume methods. Rinsing and flushing of boats and
motors must be confined to 10 minutes daily per boat.
*Outside pressure cleaning: Buildings, mobile es
and other stationary objects may be cleane
volume methods.
*Aesthetic use: Inside and outside fountains a
falls rnma b operated
*Recr a ybe

- ,,,I! '

Hydroscope Winter '89-'90

Hlydrolvews -

Report Highlights

1989 Water Year

Highlights of the 1989 water
year are featured in the District's
newly published annual report.
It was a year of tropical storms,
water shortages, Water Use
Caution Areas, mandatory con-
servation measures, agricultural
water metering and much more.
The approach of the new decade
brought water managers and
users alike to a renewed under-
standing of the limits of the
water resource. To request a
copy, phone 1-800-423-1476,
ext: 4757.0

Restoration Set

for Banana Lake

Restoration of Banana Lake,
which was for 70 years a recep-
tacle for the city of Lakeland's
poorly treated sewage effluent, is
scheduled to begin early this
year. The $1.5 million project is
being undertaken by the Dis-
trict's Surface Water Management
and Improvement (SWIM)
program, in cooperation with the
Polk County Water Resources Di-
Hydraulic dredging will
remove from 80 to 100 percent
of the three to five-foot sediment
on the lake bottom. This will
permit the re-establishment of
the lake's natural sandy bottom.

In recent years, phosphate
mining has reduced the size of
the lake from 350 to 256 acres.
Lake depth has decreased from
an average of six feet to only
three feet. The lake is rarely
used by wildlife and only a few
species of non-game fish inhabit
This will mark the first time
that hydraulic dredging of a lake
on so large a scale has been
undertaken. Dredging should be
completed in one year, with im-
provements in water quality
measurable in another year or

Calendar and Poster Part of

Environmental Education Through Art

Limited quantities of a new four-
color art calendar with 14 repro-
ductions of wildlife paintings
suitable for framing are
now available, along with a new
limited edition poster. The
calendar and print are part of the
Environmental Education
Through Art program sponsored
by First Florida Bank, in coopera-
tion with the District. This is
the second consecutive year that
art from the Green Swamp Series
has been reproduced in calendar
Most featured artists are
members of the Southern Asso-
ciation of Habitat Artists. Con-
tributors are: Thomas Brooks,
Robert Butler, Tom Freeman,

Judy Gratton, Jim Miklavcic,
Terry Smith and Chris Houpt
Todd. Thomas Brooks' "Summer
Rain on Levee Road," a realistic
landscape of a Green Swamp
scene, is the subject of this year's
poster. To request the poster
and calendar, call the Public
Communications Department of
the District.L

Hydroscope Winter '89-'90

Solitude by
Judy Gratton,
from the 1990
Green Swamp
Series calendar.




IFAS Study Measures

Freeze Protection Water Needs

Microsprinkler irrigation has
been successfully used for frost
and freeze protection in recent
years. But how much water is
needed to protect citrus trees
during frost or freeze?
That was one of the objec-
tives of a project funded by the
District in its ongoing effort to
bring more efficient water use
practices to agricultural users.
The project was conducted
over a three-winter period by the
University of Florida's Institute of
Food and Agricultural Sciences.
Its many findings include what is
believed to be the first measure-
ment of how much water is
needed to protect trees during
specified frost events. Research-
ers determined that normally
2,000 to 3,000 gallons per acre
per hour is sufficient protection.
Previously, the amount could
only be estimated.

Informing the public of water
conservation needs and environ-
mental issues was identified by
the state's water managers as the
top challenge of the 1990s.
Meeting at the annual
conference on water manage-
ment in Tallahassee, more than
300 managers and planners also
identified water needs and
sources as a primary challenge of
the new decade. Coordination,
cooperation and communication
among all levels of government
and the public was cited as

The study, which included
a number of variables, also
found that individual covers can
enhance the effectiveness of mi-
crosprinkler irrigation for cold
protection of young trees one or
two years old. Using certain
covers, microsprinklers were
able to raise the air temperature
4 to 5 degrees, sometimes more,
during cold periods when tem-
peratures dropped to as low as
25 degrees.
Ronald Cohen, an irrigation
engineer with the District's Con-
servation Projects, said, "Before
this study, no one knew how
much water was needed for
freeze protection. This informa-
tion will help growers make
better use of existing microsprin-
kler systems while also providing
them with effective freeze protec-
Cohen said the study will as-
sist the District in agricultural

another major challenge to the
state's five water management
With much of the state under
varying degrees of water use
restrictions, the need for more
environmental education and
improved communication was
underscored. Managers also ac-
knowledged the need for more
proactive planning in matching
water supply with demand, and
called for more serious pursuit of
user or impact fees.O

water use planning and permit
ting. Successful field demonstr;
tion projects, also funded by tl
District, have been conducted
commercial groves.
The IFAS report was written
by Drs. L.R. Parsons and T.A.
Wheaton of the University's Cil
rus Research and Education
Center in Lake Alfred.

Winter Haven Cha

to Join SWIM List

The Winter Haven Chain of
Lakes in Polk County is the ne,
est addition to the Southwest
Florida Water Management
District's SWIM Priority List for
cleanup and preservation.
Inclusion of this 19-lake chain
received formal approval from
the state Department of Enviroi
mental Regulation (DER) in
Total surface area of the
lakes is more than 7,000 acres.
Eight of the 19 lakes are include
in a DER list of the 50 Florida
lakes in greatest need of

The use of wraps
a- on young citrus
ie trees and micro-
at irrigation
.n freeze protection
is one of the
methods investi-
gated by IFAS in
a study. The
owner of this
Pasco County
grove saved most
in ofthe trees with
Shis micro-
irrigation system.




Hydroscope Winter '89-'90

Water Conservation Education

Seen as'Challenge of the 90s'



19.80 -
19.70 -
9.50 -
9.40 -
19.30 -
19.20 -
19.10 -
18.90 -
18.80- MINA
I8.50 -



7 10j

Crooked Lake in Polk County
Hydroscope Winter '89-'90





has dropped 14 feet since its record high in 1960.


I..'& r



5 _. '

d"-' c


he sand hills of the Highlands/
Lake Wales Ridge are natural
wonders in a state known for its
swamps and flatlands. The hills and the
many lakes they cradle stretch at least 70
miles north from Lake Placid in western
Highlands County to Haines Cityin central
Polk County. Elevations average 115 to
215 feet above sea level, peaking at 325
feet in Lake Wales, the highest point on
the peninsula. Formed during the ice
ages by shifting sea levels, the Ridge has
for decades been called Florida's back-
bone. In recent years, it has been re-
ferred to as "Citrus Ridge."
Rich water resources and temperate
winters have made the Ridge ideal for ag-
riculture and recrea-
tion. Post Civil War
settlers found or-
anges and other
exotic fruits growing
wild when they ar-
rived to ranch and
homestead. The
well-drained sand
hills were natural
areas for citrus culti-
vation, and by the
1870s, oranges were
being grown com-
mercially. The
"Great Freeze" of Citrus groves thrive
Great Freeze of Highlands County.
1894 and 1895 dev-
astated much of the burgeoning Florida
citrus industry. But on the sparsely
populated Ridge, trees survived and some
even produced fruit that season. Today,
Ridge groves are among the state's lead-
ing producers of citrus.
The citrus industry had barely re-
bounded from the "Great Freeze" when
in 1912 Ohio-born George E. Sebring
founded his visionary "city by the lake"
on the shore of Lake Jackson. He was in
the forefront of real estate developers
who, during Florida's booming 1920s,
would make the Ridge a winter resort for
affluent Northerners. Sebring is the seat
of Highlands County and continues to at-
tract seasonal residents. One of its land-
marks is the long municipal pier which
stretched far out into the lake when it was
built in 1927 to replace the original made

of wood. The pier is sill in use, but the
receding of Lake Jackson has left it stand-
ing almost entirely on land.
The hydrology of the Ridge the
way water is distributed through rainfall,
stored underground in aquifers or col-
lected on the surface in lakes, streams
and other water bodies has shaped its
growth and development for a century.
Towns and cities were built around some
lakes; citrus groves were established
around others. Throughout the real es-
tate boom period, the depression and
subsequent decades, populations grew
and citrus acreage expanded. Elements
of the hydrologic system interacted natu-
rally to maintain balance and equilibrium

along the receding shore of Lake Lotela in
Shade trees at center trace the old shoreline.
of Ridge water resources. Rainfall was
the primary inflow to the cycle.
Essential to the balance were the nu-
merous lakes and aquifers including
the prolific Floridan aquifer that re-
tained and stored the rain. Later, much of
it would be released through evaporation
from open water bodies such as lakes
and streams, transpiration from vegeta-
tion, stream flow and ground water out-
The first evidence that the system
was seriously out of balance appeared in
the early 1960s. Lake levels fell dramati-
cally. Crooked Lake, Lake Lotela, Lake
Jackson and others dropped as if plugs
had been pulled from under them. In a
sense, they had.
Residents who lived on lake fronts
continued on next page

What's A

WUCA is an acronymfor Water
Use Caution Area. WVCAs are des-
ignated where water resources are
seriously stressed and do not meet
current or projected demands. The
designation signals the start of an
ongoing regional management ef-
fort tostabilize and improve the water
Working groups comprised of
representatives from civic and envi-
ronmental groups, business and
industryand localgovernments work
with District professionals to ham-
mer out recommended solutions.
Short, mid and long-term actions to
stabilize conditions are acted upon
by the District Governing Board.
Comprehensive Water Resource As-
sessment Projects (WL4Ps.), which
can take up to three years to com-
plete, determine levels of safe yield
and influence long-range regula-
tory action. Safe yield is the quantity
of water available for man's use in
an area without causing unaccipt-
able adverse impacts to the water
resources and associated natural
Special water management
practices that involve mandatory
conservation and tighter regulation
of water use also are formulated.
WUCAs are new to the South-
west Florida Water Management
District. But the concept ofsafeyield
management has been implemented
successfully inseveralareas, includ-
ing Arizona, New Jersey, and in the
neighboring South Florida Water
Management District.
The District is authorized to
declare WUCAs underChapter40D-
2, Florida Administrative Code, as
amended in 1989. Its water use
permitting program also was imple-
mented under this chapter.
Hydroscope Winter '89-90

had little choice but to take dropping lake
levels in stride; they extended and re-ex-
tended docks to keep them in water.
Meanwhile, citrus acreage was expand-
ing as growers relocated from northern
counties to the milder winter climate of
the Ridge. Moreover, the practice of irri-
gating groves to increase citrus yield was
becoming more common place on the


- -.
1'' -

An archival photo of the first municipal pier
in Sebring (top), constructed of wood in
1912. The pier was replaced in 1927 with
the present concrete pier which now stands
completely out of water.

Ridge. Heavy
groundwater pump-
ing brought more
stress to the system.
In 1978, shortly
after management of
the Ridge resource
was transferred to
the Southwest Flor-
ida Water Manage-
ment District from
the South Florida
district, a study was
made to determine
the cause of the

declines. Below normal rainfall and heavy
ground water pumping were identified.
The District, which had begun to issue
permits for high volume ground water
usage in 1975, intensified its regulatory

Since then, conditions have worsened.
The average annual water level of
Crooked Lake in Polk County dropped
six feet from 1980 to 1987. The lake's
period of record high in 1960 was 124 feet
above NGVD (National Geodetic Vertical
Datum), or sea level. Today, its average
annual water level is below 110 feet.
Other lakes, such as Lakes Clinch and
Lotela also registered record low levels.
A second study, Ridge II, began in
1987. It concluded that lake declines
were due to more complex factors.
Withdrawals from the Floridan aquifer, or
ground water pumping, was certainly a
major cause. The pumping increased
downward leakage from lakes and from
the surficial aquifer, which lies above the
Floridan. The study also found that
drainage systems had contributed to
declining levels. Specifically, improve-
ments to the natural lake drainage sys-
tems had increased the rate of discharge

from both the lakes and the surficial
aquifer. Major withdrawals from the
Floridan aquifer by the phosphate indus-
try although 10 to 30 miles west of the
area also helped induce leakage or
draw downs from the lakes. If these
man-made alterations to the natural
hydrologic system were not enough to
cause an imbalance, nature itself tipped
the scales with almost 30 years of less
than average rainfall in the area.
"Decreased rainfall is a critical factor
in the Ridge hydrologic imbalance," said
David Moore, Director of Resource Proj-
ects and the District's authority on WUCAs.
"From 1961 to the present, rainfall has av-
eraged three to five inches less than in the
first 60 years of the century," he said..
Moore said the Ridge normally gets
53 inches of rainfall annually, 40 inches of
which is returned to the atmosphere
through evaporation and plant transpira-
tion. The remaining 13 inches, in the
natural course of events, either is carried
away by streams or percolates into the
Large quantities of water that are
pumped from aquifers must be replen-
ished or recharged. The amount of
aquifer recharge on the Ridge varies
because of hydrology and geology. Moore
estimates that the northern part gets 10 or
more inches a year while the southern
gets only two to five inches. The Floridan
aquifer is recharged by two sources:
leakage from the surficial aquifer and
leakage from lakes. Lowering the water
level in the Floridan aquifer induces ad-
ditional leakage from the lakes and from
the surficial aquifer. Lowered lake levels
also reduce the amount of water lost to
"By inducing lake leakage by
drawing down the deeper Floridan aqui-
fer so far that it creates a drain on lake
water water is captured that might
otherwise be lost to evaporation," Moore
said. "But there comes a point where the
straw breaks the camel's back. When too
much water is leaked, lake levels keep
going down, even without increased
pumping. That is what is happening now
on the Ridge."

Hydroscope Winter '89-'90

In 1989, the Governing Board of the
District made several changes in rules
regulating water use permitting. One
change mandates the evaluation of sur-
face and ground water withdrawals on a
cumulative basis. This is to determine if
adequate resources are available for
competing uses within an area. The
board also authorized installation of flow
meters on high volume agricultural pumps
to more accurately measure the amount
of water used. Then, it designated three

W hat is the District's overriding objec-
ive in establishing the Ridge WUCA?
"We are trying to maximize the amount of
water we can use in the area while
stabilizing lake levels," Moore said. "Our
priority is to protect existing legal users,
and that includes the citrus that is in place
right now."
Before determining how much water
can be pumped or consumed, the safe
yield of the resource must be established.
Safe yield is defined by the District as the
quantity of water available for man's
consumption in an area's aquifers or
surface-water bodies without causing
unacceptable adverse impacts.
A Water Resource Assessment Proj-
ect (WRAP) has been underway for sev-
eral months at the Ridge to determine,
among other things, the safe yield of the
systems there. It will require at least two
more years to complete, and its findings
will be the basis for long-term conserva-
tion measures for the Highlands WUCA.
Meanwhile, tougher conservation actions
will be mandated. "We want all water
users to be more efficient," Moore said.
"As a whole, Ridge communities have
done an excellent job of using water
more efficiently," he said. In the last 15
years over half of the growers have
converted from high-volume to low-vol-
ume irrigation, and this has saved water,"
Moore said.
What will it mean to live and work in
a Water Use Caution Area? It will mean
learning sound water conservation prin-
cipals and putting them into practice. It
will mean working to bring down the
daily average per capital consumption of

water from 200 gallons to the District
average of 150 gallons and lower. The
measures which are being formulated to
stabilize resource conditions on the Ridge
require demonstrated conservation prac-
tices by all sectors, and the participation
of everybody is important to accomplish-
ing the objectives of a Water Use Caution
Agriculture is the leading consumer
of water in the Ridge WUCA. It uses
approximately 70 percent of the total
water permitted. Public supply is permit-
ted to use 20 percent, followed by indus-
trial at 8 percent. Rural use accounts for
most of the remaining use. Grove owners
will be urged to convert to more efficient

If we develop practices

and implement them...

we should see improvements"

under tree irrigation systems; the District
will permit quantities of water associated
only with low-volume systems. Utilities
must take steps that will lead to the treat-
ment and reuse of waste water. New
plumbing codes to require low-volume
fixtures in households are expected. New
landscaping codes will require the use of
more water-efficient plants and trees,
incorporating several Xeriscape principles
(seepage 13). Utility rates will be inverted
to encourage water conservation. Leak
detection programs will be required of
utilities. Industrial conservation will be
required on an individual basis and may
include elements of the public supply
conservation program.
How long will it take to stabilize and
improve Ridge water resources? "It is
difficult to determine," said David Moore.
"If we develop practices and implement
them as they have done in other states, I
think we should see improvements within
four or five years."
-Gloria Boykin

Hydroscope Winter '89-'90

On the Edge of


be preservation
7f Southwest
Florida's wilder-
ness and wildlife is a
primary benefit of the
District's land re-
sources program. Thepublic can enjoy wilderness
areas at 10 park sites developed on District lands.
An environment of uncommon natural beauty. ., ., 4
awaits visitors to theJohn B. Sargeant, Sr. Memo-
rial Wilderness Park. The 23-acre park, which lies
just north of Tampa off U.S. 301, is operated by the
Hillsborough County Parks and Recreation De-
partment. It is part of the 17,000-acre Lower
Hillsborough Flood Detention Area and Wilderness
The park was recently renamed to honor the
land preservation efforts of the late John
Sargeant, Sr:, who served on the Hillsborougb
River Basin Boardfor 27 years. Oiginally known

10yosco Winter
Hydroscope Winter '89-'90

as the Flint Creek Wilderness Park, the site
offers opportunities for recreation and environ- '
mental study. Facilities include an outdoor
dining pavilion, grills and rest rooms. A launch '
area accommodates small boats and canoes. r
Persons on foot can access the Hilisborough
River via the boardwalk which extends over the
swamps and wetlands to the river. The board-
walk is also a good platform for fisingfor
bass, brim and bluegill.
Canoeists who make the trip down river to
Morris Bridge Park may see alligators sunning
on fallen trees Strollers on the boardwalk can '"
spot red-shouldered hawks, great blue herons,
osprey, little blue herons and a variety of
wading birds.
tn the hardwood swamp, the knees of huge
cypress trees stand like statuary beneath the
leafy canopy. Red maples and ash also line the
riverine corridor, and blooming aquatic plants
illuminate the swamp. Winter park hours are
from 8 a.m. to 6p.m. daily.

Hydroscope Winter'89-
Hydroscope Winter 89- 90





by Richard V. McLean

think of their state as wet. Mention regulators is to take all reasonable steps within the WUCAs will have to adopt best
Florida and swamps usually come necessary to protect the resource for the management practices. While many sys-
to mind, although most were people of the District. In this way, we can teams are now water efficient, others not
drained years ago. The state still is rela- assure that Floridians will have the water only are inefficient by design, but also are
tively wet. It continues to get about 52 they need, while preserving the natural operated inefficiently. Soon, even an ef-
inches of rainfall a year, and the natural quality of life for residents and visitors. If ficiently run inefficient system will be un-
hydrologic system is dependent on that the people did not care about this protec- acceptable in resource-stressed areas.
rain. But demand for the resource has tion, we would not have the laws that are Water use permits will be issued or re-
upset the balance in some geographical now in place, and we would not have the newed only for the most efficient irriga-
areas, limiting the supply and dictating District rules based on those state stat- tion systems.
major changes in water use habits, utes. We are responding to the need of WUCAs developed for several rea-
This demand created by 30 years the people of the state. sons, notably because of the repeated use
of rapid growth and development along The biggest task we face within the of inefficient water use practices. If such
with increased agricultural irrigation WUCAs is achieving the public under- practices are permitted in new areas, the
will not subside. It can only increase as standing that water supply problems exist, same problems will be duplicated. Our
the population grows. If water managers and will continue in areas of concen- area of concern, then, extends beyond
are to successfully pro- the WUCAs, although it is
tect the resource and focused on them because
insure adequate water The time has comefor more serious resource problems there
supplies, then conser- are more critical.
ovation actions such as We do not expect that
those planned for approaches to efficient water use. currently unstressed ar-
Water Use Caution eas will develop condi-

Areas (WUCAs) must
become routine throughout the District.
The 1990s will bring several new re-
alities to water users. Floridians will not
be able to use or waste water as freely as
they have in the past. They no longer will
be able to follow inefficient agricultural
practices used by their grandfathers. And
they will not be able to waste large
amounts of water on lawn irrigation.
In the past, discussions about limit-
ing water use have been little more than
polite exchanges between water manag-
ers and users. "No, we have nothing
against recycling waste water, if it comes
to that." Or, "Yes, we could go to an
efficient irrigation system, but why go to
the expense?" The time has come for
more serious approaches to efficient water

treated use. Through each WUCA work-
ing group we are trying to formulate con-
servation and control measures that will
be effective, without causing undue eco-
nomic hardship. Therefore, it is impor-
tant that all user groups be represented.
Historically, local governments along
the coast have turned to alternative sources
to solve water supply problems. In the
1990s, all governments within the Eastern
and Northern Tampa Bay Water Use
Caution Areas will evaluate alternative
water sources such as reuse or desalina-
tion. In the past, public water suppliers
have let economics determine the devel-
opment of new sources: "Is it cheaper to
build another well field or to go to desali-
nation?" In the future, the driving issue
will be: "Where is the water supply source,
and how much will it cost to develop it?"

tions leading to a WUCA
designation. With the rules we now have
in place at the District, we will limit use
to a safe level and avoid resource deterio-
Meanwhile, water conservation and
the efficient use of water cannot be post-
poned until the resource is critically
stressed. They must begin early, and
become ingrained in our lives. If prop-
erly managed, we do have the water to
meet our needs and
preserve our Florida
lifestyle. But we
must become more
efficient and utilize
all the sources avail-
able to us.

Richard V McLean
is Deputy Executive Director of Resource
Regulation at the Southwest Florida
Water Management District.

Hydroscope Winter '89-'90



by Lois Sorensen

Editor's note: This is the first of a regular
feature focusing on water conservation and the
many ways it can be practiced. Xeriscape, the
concept of water efficient landscaping, is
introduced here and will be explored in future

Landscape codes in several cities,
especially in the District's three
Water Use Caution Areas, are
being reviewed and revised to
require that new landscapes be water
efficient. But how can
homeowners and busi-
nesses with estab- .
lished lawns incorpo-
rate Xeriscape prin-
District planners
and water managers
will say, "by retrofit-
ting." Retrofitting is a -
term that originally was
used to describe the repair or replace-
ment of water-wasting plumbing
fixtures. The same principle applies
outside: a water-devouring yard can be
retrofitted by regrouping or replacing
plant materials and irrigating more
Getting Started
Getting started with a Xeriscape
retrofit is like getting started with most
projects. First, make a plan or land-
scape design. This is essential to
avoiding costly mistakes. A good
design enables the landscape to be
retrofitted in stages, as time and budget
Commercial properties and many
homeowners often use a landscape
architect or other "Green Industry" pro-
fessional to create conceptual drawings

Lois Sorensen is a District water con-
servation planner. She frequently
speaks to groups about Xeriscape and
other water conservation topics.

and planting plans. Do-it-yourselfers
can create their own and enjoy the
research and planning.
To create a workable Xeriscape
design, start with these basics: graph
paper and pencils (with good erasers);
District brochures (see inset); a Florida-
specific plant identifier book; and at
least one "green thumb" advisor.
There are two main parts to a Xer-
iscape design: a site analysis and a
planting plan. A site
ERISCAPfE analysis, or inventory of
5 POKE N the existing landscaping,
) H RE/ is the first step. Do an
overview of the property.
,. Outline both "hardscape"
(buildings, fences, pave-
Sment, pools) as well as "softscape"
- (turf, trees, flower beds). Note sickly
plants and other signs of improper wa-
tering. Mark general north-south and
east-west orientations. Also note high
spots and low-lying areas.
Such notations will help to deter-
mine the sunlight, drainage and soil
characteristic of the design area. Also,
have the soil tested. A landscape built
on ground fill may have vastly different
soils within the same working area.
County extension services can help
with soil testing.
Compare the inventory with what
is desired: Is it a freeform natural look,
or a high-maintenance manicured ap-
pearance? Which landscaping style will
complement the home's architecture?
Is a micro-irrigation system planned for
the vegetable garden or flower beds?
Do surrounding views need conceal-
Developing Ideas
Take the time to look at home
improvement magazines and books on
landscaping or architecture for inspira-
tion. Borrow a library copy of Lawn

and Landscape Care: the Water Wise
Way, a video developed by the
Hillsborough County Cooperative
Extension Service with funding from
the District and the West Coast Re-
gional Water Supply Authority. Take
time to visit at least one Xeriscape
demonstration site. Tour neighbor-
hoods. Talk to family members and
"green thumb" contacts. Contact the
nearby community college, vocational-
technical center, or extension service to
find out if they are offering gardening
classes, seminars, or locally produced
TV shows.
During research, take notes and
make sketches. Use several copies or
tracings of the site analysis drawing to
experiment with planting ideas. To
get a fresh perspective, set aside ef-
forts, or show the plans to a friend. In
an upcoming issue, the selection of
appropriate plants for different land-
scape zones will be discussed.

Several publications dealing
with outdoor water conser-
vation and Xeriscape are
available from the District.
They include: Seven Steps to A
Successful Xeriscape, the South-
west Florida Water Management
District Plant Guide; and the
seven-part Urban Outdoor Water
Conservation series. A map of
the District highlights five Xeris-
cape demonstration sites. For
copies or more information on
Xeriscape, contact Lou Kavouras,
Outdoor Water Conservation
Planner for the District.

Hydroscope Winter '89-'90

- Conservation

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