E. Water Use Planning in Florida
Water Element of the State Comprehensive Plan
(revised as of October 20, 1977)
Development of water resources to satisfy human needs dates back to
antiquity. The manipulation of water for agriculture, drinking, other
domestic purposes and navigation can be traced from China, across India
and Afghanistan, through the civilizations of the Middle East, and on to
Greece and Rome. In the Americas, management of water played a signifi-
cant role in great civilizations which flourished in Mexico and in the
northwestern quadrant of South America.
For much of the twentieth century the management of water has
stressed the age-old custom of physical manipulation, augmented tremen-
dously by modern engineering and technology. Along a parallel and largely
separate avenue, the management of water quality has been slowly but
steadily progressing. During the past twenty-five years the goal of eco-
nomic development, concern for human health, changing individual values
and life styles, and a broadening knowledge of the value of the natural
environment have shifted the emphasis in water management from the historic
posture of physical manipulation to one of comprehensive management which
utilizes natural systems and attempts to approximate natural hydrologic
relationships. During the past several decades, scientific advancements
have established that land and water resources should be managed in a
highly integrated manner to insure a high quality environment and the pro-
duction of renewable resources (soil, plants and plant products, including
food products, and fish and wildlife) which are vital to the public welfare.
Water resource development has been an important factor in the phys-
ical, economic and social growth of Florida. Full-scale water management
programs began in Florida in 1850 when the Federal Submerged and Overflow
Lands Act conveyed millions of acres of wetlands to state ownership. To
finance drainage projects and facilitate development, the state sold, gave
away and otherwise conveyed the wetlands into private ownership and used
the revenue to finance public drainage projects and encourage private
drainage. In the 1930's the Federal government became heavily involved,
and drainage, flood control and navigation projects encompassed very large
areas of the state including virtually all of South Florida, and develop-
ment proceeded at a very rapid pace.
The large-scale public works programs provided structural works for
drainage, flood control, water supply and navigation. Such projects pro-
vided an effective water navigation system, provided for domestic and
industrial water supply, and provided a degree of flood control in flood
prone areas. These programs allowed intensive agricultural and urban
development in areas which otherwise would not have been suited for con-
ventional development. Natural water levels and fluctuations, however,
were the major controlling force on the health and productivity of natural
systems and renewable natural resources, and water control programs have
lowered and stabilized water levels over large areas. Resultant inten-
sive development in drained areas destroyed many natural systems, gener-
ated large quantities of polluted runoff water and concomitantly created
a very large demand for a constant supply of potable water. Water quality,
water supply and ecological problems, including at least seasonally inop-
timum conditions for agriculture, have resulted in many regions. Lowering
of regional groundwater levels and the drainage of surface waters and wet-
I.- ... A .... n-,,, rc suited in the loss of fresh water to the sea,
disrupted and degraded natural systems, greatly diminished fish and wild-
life resources, increased runoff rates, increase downstream rluuu pca a,
degraded water quality and have resulted in salt water encroachment prob-
lems in coastal communities on both the Atlantic and Gulf coasts.
To a degree, the implementation of structural drainage and flood
control programs entails certain irreversible effects. For example,
drainage projects encourage development in areas which were formerly wet-
land areas and, once developed, a continuing commitment of financial and
other resources is necessary both to continue to provide the necessary
drainage and to provide flood damage funds when the capacity of the drain-
age system is overwhelmed by a large storm. Likewise, flood control pro-
grams in upstream areas commits future management to the posture of having
to forever contend with increased flood peaks in downstream areas. Although
many aspects of such programs are essenti lly irreversible, many adverse
effects can be eliminated or mitigated by careful management modifications.
By the beginning of the 1970's it became evident that large-scale
water resource projects which were designed and constructed to achieve the
objectives of drainage, flood control and navigation, should now be man-
aged comprehensively to achieve much broader objectives, including protec-
tion and enhancement of water quality, maximum conservation of water, pro-
tection of fish and wildlife and other public values. Recognition of both
the positive and negative consequences of various water resource management
activities clearly identified the need for an integrated approach to water
In recent years, much information and understanding has been developed
in the pursuit of a comprehensive water management strategy. Of particular
importance was the Governor's Conference on Water Management in South
Florida of 1971. The Conference concluded that a water crisis exists in
South Florida due to pollution of every major water area in South Florida
and uncertainty of adequate supplies of fresh water. The Conference also
concluded that the State must have an enforceable land and water use plan
and that the prime consideration should be survival of the entire South
Governor Askew appointed a task force on land use planning to develop
legislation based on recommendations of the conference. There were, in
addition, various staff studies in the Florida House of Representatives
and a joint House/Senate Committee on water and land management legislation.
As a result of these and other events, the 1972 Florida Legislature passed
environmental legislation in the form of three historic bills: The Water
Resources Management Act (Chapter 373, Florida Statutes), the Environmental
Land and Water Management Act (Chapter 380, Florida Statutes), and the
Florida Comprehensive Planning Act (Chapter 23, Florida Statutes). These
laws provided the statutory authority and enforcement powers for develop-
ment and implementation of comprehensive plans and rules to manage water
and related resources in the overall public interest. Significant Federal
legislation was also enacted during this renaissance period.
Chapter 373, Florida Statutes, The Water Resources Management Act,
provides a comprehensive legal basis for water management on a regional
watershed basis thrcJgn fire I.ater :an~aement districts iFig. 1), coordi-
nated on the state level by the Depairt.mit of Environmertal Regulation.
Ongoing planning efforts by the Department of Environmental Regjlation,
the Division of State Planning, the water managci ent districts and other
agencies, as mandated by Chapter 373, Chapter 23, Florida Statutes, and
other statutes, are developing comprehensive policy, administrative frame-
works and agency rules and programs to implement the objectives of the
requisite statutes and hence, provide the ability to actually implement
an integrated and comprehensive water management program.
Responsibility and authority for water management is presently spread
across government from single purpose special districts through local,
state, interstate, and Federal agencies. However, due to the complexity
and intrajurisdictional nature of the resource, the major responsibility
and authority resides with the state. Given that the hydrology, ecology
and economics of Florida are highly integrated, the greatest need of man-
agement is to avoid narrow-purpose approaches and develop comprehensive
and enlightened manaqereent based on systems analysis techniques and eco-
logical and economic reality.
The major administrative and planning problems facing Florida water
management agencies consist basically of: (1) a legislative mandate to
regulate and manage water supplies for "reasonable beneficial uses",
(2) the need to develop necessary plans and policy and implementation of
the provisions of Chapters 373, 403, and 23, Florida Statutes; (3) devel-
opment of guidelines and methodology which provide a clearer test of what
constitutes a "reasonable beneficial use"; and (4) lack of sufficient
means for enforcement of existing legislation.
Although Chapter 373, Florida Statutes, provides for the integration
of the approaches used by the water management districts and other water
resource agencies, it is clear that in order for the necessary integration
to take place, there must be a 'comprehensive set of state water policies
and provision of a clearer test of what constitutes a "reasonable benefi-
Chapter 23, Florida Statutes, provides that the Division of State
Planning develop the State Comprehensive Plan which is to set forth goals,
objectives and policies for the orderly social, physical and economic
growth of the state. Executive Order 76-29, specifies that the State
Comprehensive Plan shall be composed of elements, including a Water
Element. The Water Element provides the policy basis for other water man-
agement plans and activities and makes recommendations for the provision
of a clearer test of what constitutes a "reasonable beneficial use". The
Water Element should be particularly beneficial to water resources admini-
strators and other professionals in the various management agencies, as an
overall policy statement will assist in overcoming the different organiza-
tional histories, differing basic premises, differing educational and tech-
nical characteristics and the uncertainties associated with change; all of
which work against a needed common basis for planning management and reg-
The following principles establish a broad philosophical basis upon
which the Water Element is constructed:
1. Water is a limited resource upon which all of the systems of
man and nature depend.
2. Water is vital to the social, economic and environmental
well-being of the state. All manifestations of water are
but phases of the hydrologic cycle (Fig. 2) and all water is
interrelated and interdependent and therefore must not be
managed as though it has separate and distinct classes.
3. The hydrologic cycle is vital to the development and main-
tenance of extremely important renewable resources which
derive from the interaction of water, soil, nturients, biota
and sunlight (Fig._2). '
4. If properly managed, water and related resources are renew-
able resources which maintain and replenish themselves in
such a manner that a continuous supply is available for human
use; however, these renewable resources can be degraded and
ultimately destroyed in a given region by unwise use or man-
agement and, thereby, jeopardize the maintenance of economic
prosperity and survival of the people.
5. Water and related natural resources provide much of the
basis for human activity, and the conversion and interchange
of goods (economic activity) rests ultimately upon the avail-
ability and quality of water and related resources.
6. Proper water management is vital for natural systems which
provide invaluable life support services and economic neces-
sities; provided that the ecological laws and principles which
govern natural systems are not so violated that system functions
are overly stressed or destroyed.
7. It is the manner in which water, materials and energy are
used and managed and how growth and use of space is planned
and managed that determines whether human values are enhanced,
diminished, or lost.
8. Long-term conservation of water and related resources, and
wise use and minimization of waste of such resources, forms
the basis for the state's economic prosperity in the immediate
and long-term future.
9. Many of the principal economic activities of Florida--
tourism, agriculture, mining, recreation and many other
economic activities--depend directly on an abundant and
constant supply of high quality fresh water and related
Studies conducted in Florida over the past decade show that
agricultural and urban developments depend for their ecologic and economic
vitality on the ability of surrounding regions to supply water and other
natural resources, to buffer and absorb the polluted waters discharged
from agricultural and urban systems, to ameliorate climatic extremes, to
supply fish and wildlife resources and recreation, and to provide other
vital support services and economic resources. In areas where a whole-
sale lowering of water levels has taken place, the region's ability to
generate these vital goods and services has diminished accordingly and is
symptomatically reflected by chronic water shortages, degraded water qual-
ity and other dysfunctions. Therefore, areas which have been drained under
previous programs, but which have not been intensively developed should now
be managed for water levels which are as near those which prevailed before
modification as practical under current land use practices. Such action
would revitalize natural systems, store as much water as possible, provide
for buffering of the adverse effects of nearby urban and agricultural areas
and provide high-quality water and related renewable resources for the
economic viability of the entire region.
Present management approaches must carefully differentiate between:
(1) areas which are so intensely developed that water levels cannot be
even partially restored and in which other techniques are inapplicable,
(2) areas where water levels can be partially restored and other techni-
ques employed, and (3) areas where water levels can be fully restored and
where many other techniques can be applied. Areas described under (2)
and (3) are absolutely vital to support areas described in (1). In addi-
tion, the latter areas can, in turn, be developed using recently evolved
techniques for integrating development into natural and semi-natural
Given that in any particular region, the urban sector depends on the
surrounding region for vital goods and services, and the surrounding
region likewise depends on the urban sector for economic and cultural via-
bility, water and land management must establish an optimum blend of urban,
agricultural and natural systems, each under a specially tailored water
The differentiation necessary to implement such a program is well
within the capability of present management techniques and knowledge.
The more developed a region, the more crucial it is to restore premodifi-
cation water levels in as much of the region as practical. Such a bal-
anced approach allows the best use of urban, agricultural and natural
resources which, when integrated through comprehensive water management,
are complementary and supplementary to each other.
In that there now exists a severe imbalance of highly developed
systems vis-a-vis viable natural systems in many large areas of the state,
the management emphasis for the immediate future must be on reparation of
natural systems through the reestablishment of natural water levels as
much as practical and use of other techniques. This is the optimum approach
for the conservation of clean, usable water and the production of vital
support services and renewable natural resources. Such an approach is eco-
nomically advantageous in that it (1) provides for the maximum feasible
amount of water for economic development, and (2) provides for the maxi-
mum production of renewable natural resources.
It should be understood that over the long-term there is no "either/or"
choice to be made in water management between the urban sector and sur-
rounding agricultural and natural system lands nor between water for man
or water for nature. Man and the urban sector are inseparably embedded
in the landscape and the nature of that landscape as well as most of man's
economic pursuits are governed by the same set of natural laws and prin-
ciples. Water management must, in man's interest, pattern management
around the systematic natural laws of ecology which govern the nature and
productivity of the regional landscape. This is particularly true and of
vital importance in this era when oil and other energy sources are becom-
ing increasingly scarce and exhorbitantly expensive and society, therefore,
must depend more and more on the free water resources, goods and services
supplied by nature rather than ever-more expensive technological systems.
This is the perspective upon which the Water Element has been developed,
i.e., that the natural laws and principles of water management should form
the basis for and objectives of state policy and that the resultant man-
agement program should be designed and implemented in a manner which mini-
mizes the adverse effects of intensive development upon the natural system
while, concomitantly providing for a high quality urban and agricultural
environment designed to maximize economic viability and cultural values.
To achieve this an optimum balance must be achieved between engineered and
Chapters 373, 380, 403, and 23., Florida Statutes, and other state and
Federal legislation provide the legal mandate for comprehensive water man-
agement. This document, the Water Element of the State Comprehensive Plan,
has been developed pursuant to Chapter 23, F.S., in order to provide public
goals, objectives, policies and recommendations for water and related
resource management in Florida in.the public interest. As part of the
State Comprehensive Plan, it consists of the goals, objectives, and pol-
icies for the orderly social, physical, and economic growth of the state.
The Water Element will provide: (1) guidance for public and private
water-resource development; (2) a basis for executive and legislative
decision-making at all levels of government; (3) a broad framework to
assist local, state, and Federal agencies in land use and water planning
and management; (4) the policy basis for the Florida Water Plan, which
will consist of the Water Use Plan and Water Quality Plan; (5) a basis
for the drafting of needed legislation; and (6) a basis for the system-
atic continuation of research, analysis and problem solving for water man-
agement problems in Florida. Implementation of this Element will be
accomplished primarily through the programs of the Department of
Environmental Regulation, the water management districts, Section 208
agencies, regional planning councils and local governments.
The Element was initiated by an agreement between the Division of
State Planning and the Department of Environmental Regulation (Appendix A).
An Ad Hoc Scientific Committee (Appendix B) provided initial guidance and
information. Subsequently, an Interagency Work Group (Appendix C) pro-
vided technical assistance regarding format, policy, and scientific infor-
mation. A Policy Advisory Council (Appendix D) has provided continuing
guidance regarding policy structure, format and content. The initial
drafts of the Element have been submitted for review and comment to all
interested state and Federal agencies, regional planning councils and all
local governments in the state. It was presented and discussed at public
meetings held around the state-during September 1977, and all comments have
been duly considered and changes incorporated as appropriate.
For lucidity the document is divided into sections, however, this
division does not contain any significance. That is, policies and goals
which appear in the separate sections are as important as the objectives
contained in the overall goal statement.
The Water Element focuses primarily on fresh water resources and
deals with coastal zone resources, for the most part, only insofar as
those resources depend on management of fresh water resources. PL 92-583
mandates that coastal zone plans shall be developed by the Coastal
Coordinating Council and such plans are in the final stages of prepara-
tion. Chapter 589, F.S., states that, "The state Coastal Zone Management
Plan shall be a part of the State Comprehensive Plan and shall contain a
boundary, policies, goals and programs necessary to comply with the
requirements of the Federal Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972." Both
the Coastal Zone Management Plan and the Water Element are scheduled for
submittal to the Florida Legislature on March 1, 1978. At that time the
Division of State Planning, the Coastal Coordinating Council and the
requisite Policy Advisory Councils should review and, if necessary, supple-
ment the plans to incorporate omissions.
II. OVERALL GOAL, OBJECTIVES AND POLICIES
Overall Goal Statement
State and Federal legislation direct that optimum water management
should be implemented to protect water quality, enhance water conserva-
tion, and to provide for wise use in order to maximize the long-term ben-
efit to society. Optimum management involves obtaining the best possible
results for multiple objectives in the face of multiple constraints. The
following overall goal and objectives, in conjunction with the policies
contained in the following sections, represent the state's definition of
comprehensive management of water resources.
Manage water and related resources to achieve maximum economic and
environmental welfare for all the state's citizens on a long-term basis.
To achieve this goal, the following management objectives apply:
Watershed Management Objective
Through management, maintain and where appropriate reestablish
hydrologic relationships which optimize the percolation and recharge of
groundwater, the productivity of agricultural and natural plant cormun-
ities, the protection and enhancement of soil fertility, prevention of
erosion, maintenance of optimum soil moisture and protection of water
quality and other public values.
Watershed Management Policies
1. Maintain runoff/infiltration and other hydrologic relationships
(soil profile, rate of soil erosion or impoverishments, etc.) in unal-
tered watersheds as closely as practical to those relationships that
exist prior to modification.
As watersheds are modified to provide for development, implementation
of management techniques to maintain the hydrologic relationships that
existed prior to modification will protect both private and public values
in the watershed. This approach solves management problems at their
source and is much more effective than efforts which attempt to solve
problems downstream in large water bodies.
2. Restructure rzooff/infiltration and other hydrologic relationships
in disrupted watersheds to approximate those relationships that existed
prior to modification as closely as practical; minimize the effects.of
physical changes in slope profileI and by the use of best management techni-
-qes minimize the rate of soil erosion or soil impoverishment or other
disruptions to the nutrient cycZe.
In disrupted basins, comprehensive management should be employed to
restructure hydrologic relationships as near to those which existed prior
to modification as practical in order to reestablish private and public
values and avoid costly and often insolvable problems downstream. In
highly developed watersheds, certain adverse effects may be found to be
essentially irreversible, however, many others can be moderated by manage-
ment actions. Each area should be carefully evaluated and all effective
steps taken to improve management to the maximum practical degree.
3;. lh;I and tndouw'aje usa of best management practices to control
runjJff, in:~r.'w'; ; Liat qualitij and groundwater recharge, enhance soil
-* ..-~ '. ,*. : .. 1' it v fl / 7>/y o' PT ^~ C
The following methods are examples of ways to implement the above
policies: (1) cooperative programs to provide technical information and
assistance to landowners for the employment of best management practices;
(2) detention/retention practices which slo. runoff rates and enhance
percolation through the use of vegetated swales, minimization of imper-
vious surfaces, etc.; (3) protection, and where appropriate, reestablish-
ment of wetlands for water retention, percolation and treatment; (4) control
erosion by clearing vegetation only from the immediate construction site
just prior to construction, use of temporary sediment basins, and/or other
techniques dependent on site specific characteristics; (5) reestablish
native vegetation or other water conservative vegetation as soon as poss-
ible; (6) employ progressive agricultural management techniques, such as
those defined by The Special Project to Prevent the Eutrophication of Lake
Okeechobee, the 208 Water Quality Plan 4pd other planning efforts; and
(7] develop additional techniques.
4. Insure that development does not diminish the functional values
of wetlands, except in cases where assessment of all pertinent factors
shows clearly that development is necessary to the public interest.
Water retention, water-quality improvement, fish and wildlife,
amelioration of local climate, provision of cattle forage, flood attenua-
tion, and other public and private values are provided by wetlands and
are not only vital to regional water management, but are equally vital to
regional economic and ecologic viability. These values should not be
sacrificed except in cases where it can be conclusively shown that public
values to be gained through development clearly outweigh those to be lost.
5. Manage state-owmed and state-controlled lands to maximize their
value for overall regional management of water and related resources,
within the constraints of historic biological communities and existing
Management priorities are:
(a) Uses which preserve or improve the capability of the
regional water management system for water conservation
and supply, water quality and enhancement of fish and
wildlife habitat; and
(b) Public recreation that does not degrade land or water
6. Encourage and require, where necessary, land and water management
practices that maintain and enhance water quality.
Examples of techniques to implement this policy include detention/
retention techniques, use of vegetated swales, discharge of water into
wetlands, minimization of impervious surfaces, pasture, dairy and other
agricultural management, control of runoff water rates and volumes, con-
trol of the quality of runoff, wetland protection, floodplain zoning,
management of drainage density, and effluent limitations.
7. Design future water-management plans and practices to be as
fuel efficient and maintenance free as practical and wherever practical
utilize the free energy of natural, physical processes and natural
Conventional water management has been highly dependent upon energy
derived from petroleum, particularly in Florida, where petroleum and
petroleum-based products are used intensively in the construction, main-
tenance and operation of intricate systems of canals, dikes, levees, and
control structures. Since petroleum is becoming increasingly scarce and
expensive, it is important that both planners and the public realize that
water management must be less petroleum-dependent and more dependent on
the free management services of natural systems.
Ground Water Management Objective and Policies
Groundwater is the primary source of water for drinking and other
domestic, industrial and agricultural uses. Drainage and consumptive
uses have lowered groundwater well below optimum levels in many areas,
creating management and environmental problems and other adverse effects.
Significant depression of water-table levels has adverse effects on agri-
cultural operations, natural plant productivity, and fish and wildlife.
Management of groundwater requires careful planning and control of drain-
age systems to detain and slow runoff in upland areas and increase per-
colation to ground water.
Ground Water Management Objectives
Manage recharge areas and recharge of groundwater to maintain
groundwater levels which approximate the hydroperiod which existed prior
to modifications to the maximum extent practical in any given area within
the constraints of existing development and planned land use.
Protect groundwater from both point and non-point pollution; safe
drinking water supplies and matters of human health care are of partic-
Conserve and use water efficiently as it travels through ground-
water systems and maintain adequate supplies of high quality groundwater
to provide for reasonable beneficial uses, to optimize natural produc-
tivity and to maintain and enhance water resources.
Ground Water Management Policies
1. Maintain groundwater as near the levels which existed prior to
modification as practical and insure that water levels are not drawn
down to such a degree that sustained yield is adversely affected or that
resource degradation takes pZace.
The following methods are examples which could implement the above
policy: (1) identify and protect all recharge areas; (2) preserve or
recreate the hydrologic relationships that existed in recharge areas prior
to modification; (3) install optimum water detention structures in pri-
mary and secondary canals; and (4) employ water detention/retention and
other programs which increase percolation in recharge areas. In this regard,
the relationships of groundwater levels to recharge should be further
investigated to define the total recharge system so that areas of high
volume recharge may be properly protected.
Of particular concern is the maintenance of water-table levels at
heights that maintain and enhance the productivity of surface vegetation,
natural communities and fish and wildlife. Agricultural, municipal, and
industrial activities should, to the extent practical, use runoff and
surface waters to prevent the depletion of groundwater. Utilization of
the lowest possible quality of surface water for a particular use would
insure optimum use of surface water resources.
2. Manage water, wastewater, and land use to protect and enhance
the quality of groundwater.
Within the objective of maintaining groundwater as near the levels
that prevailed before modification as practical, care should be taken to
preserve and, where necessary, enhance the quality of the water that
3. Protect groundwater supplies from saltwater intrusion by the
maintenance of a sufficient amount of groundwater in coastal aquifers
to prevent intrusion through regulation of withdrawals, maintenance of
adequate recharge, and sufficient controls on coastal canals.
Water management in coastal areas should maintain groundwater as high
as practical to prevent salt water intrusion. Recharge areas should be
protected and adequate controls on ground and surface water bodies should
be employed to maintain groundwater levels and to prevent salt water
intrusion through coastal canals and aquifers. Drainage in coastal areas
should be re-evaluated very carefully to insure minimization of salt
4. Protect and maintain groundwater supplies and aquifer recharge
areas through water- and land-management practices and, where necessary,
through regulation of development activities.
Large withdrawals of groundwater from an artesian aquifer will cause
changes in the potentiometric surface of the aquifers. These changes in
turn may result in lower levels in wells, declines in both the water-table
and the potentiometric surface, lowered lake levels, reduced stream flow,
salt water intrusion, sinkhole formation, loss of productivity and vital-
ity in native plant communities with consequent adverse vegetation changes,
loss of fish and wildlife, or any combination of these effects. Ground-
water withdrawals should be regulated to insure that these effects are
avoided or minimized. Water wells that create lowered groundwater levels
in coastal areas should be located or relocated in areas where the effect
of salt water intrusion is minimized or avoided. Artesian wells should
not be allowed to flow freely.
Infiltration of rainfall and surface water to underlying aquifers is
the primary mechanism for replenishing groundwater. Development in areas
with significant groundwater recharge should be designed and constructed
to preserve the infiltration rates and quantities, and groundwater levels
that existed prior to modification. Activities which could diminish
recharge by altering surface-water flow patterns, or reduce the amount of
permeable land surface, should be carefully evaluated to avoid damage to
the water resource.
5. Discourage the alteration of groundwater discharges that would
adversely affect surface water and related resources.
Aquifers annually release large quantities of groundwater to surface
waters. Such discharges are necessary to maintain base flow or levels in
surface water bodies, i.e., springs, streams, lakes, swamps or wetlands,
and to prevent salt water intrusion in coastal areas.
6. Allow alteration of groundwater movements within or between
aquifers only where it can be shown that such alterations are not harmful
to surface and groundwater resources.
Water stored in the ground represents the best insurance against dry
season and drought shortages and provides the most consistently reliable
source of human consumption. Such water, especially that contained in
deep water aquifers as the Floridan Aquifer, represents some of the high-
est quality of water available for domestic uses and should be protected
and preserved for such beneficial purposes. Runoff water above that
needed to maintain minimum flows and downstream ecosystems is, from a
water supply perspective, wasted to the sea.
Water conservation can be facilitated by both resource and financial
management, for example:
(a) the installation of water conserving devices in all public,
commercial, industrial and residential construction and
the retro-fitting of these devices into existing structures
as the old facilities are refurnished and remodeled or
water conserving devices are shown to be cost effective;
(b) ecological and economic processes should have priority
over less essential uses during periods when water supplies
are low; non-essential uses should be severely curtailed
during such periods and minimized at all times;
(c) the use of native vegetation and other alternatives to
lawns and ornamental vegetation which do not require large
amounts of irrigation;
(d) the use of irrigation scheduling and other conservative
irrigation techniques; and
(e) pricing mechanisms should reflect the value of water and
influence the kind, amount and timing of use.
9. Undertake an inventory and classification of the water resources
of the state and, to the extent practical, develop a standard methodology
to allow the quantitative projection of the amount of water available
for present and future conditions.
A quantitative inventory is basic to the proper management of
water resources. The sustained yield of water should be quantitatively
determined for all feasible present and future conditions in order to
determine the amount of water which can be provided for reasonable bene-
ficial uses without resulting in resource degradation.
Legal and Administrative Objective and Policies
Although Eastern property rights include certain rights to the use of
water, there is a concomitant and overriding need to protect and manage
water resources in the overall public interest as a reasonable exercise
of the police power of the state. Florida, with the enactment of
Chapter 373, Florida Statutes, and other legislation, has instituted an
administrative system for water rights which establishes the "reasonable
beneficial use" concept for the allocation of water and mandates the
preparation of detailed plans and programs for comprehensive water
management, including plans which will provide water users with advance
knowledge of regulatory practices to be imposed in water shortages and
Legal and Administrative Management Objectives
rrplement, through; substantive laws, executive orders, agency
rules, and other relevant mecharisms, the goals, objectives, and
;-Co?;': i/ f':-.2 'W:".r erc:: tf t': state -2srrehensi-e* ?ly:, provide
;f'r /:a "co:it or :'^ 'ly f c-' .as, c'jeatis, d pColidCies set f'r;:.
.Ueen into all stace and lccOl activities.
Provide for coordination between land-use and water resources
planning to avoid conflicting management objectives.
Coordinate and facilitate water resources management, funding,
planning, research, regulation, and enforcement, at all levels of
government and provide the technical information and assistance neces-
sary for local governments to develop sound land-use planning, zoning
and other management actions.
Evaluate management proposals to the extent practical within a clear
understanding of the hydrology and ecology of the particular basin or
Develop interstate agreements and programs for coordinated manage-
ment of watersheds which reside partly in Florida and partly in Georgia
The financing and fiscal management of water allocation, water
projects and water management should be based on the concept of benefi-
ciary pays to the extent practical.
Provide for the integrated management of water quality and water
quantity at all levels of government.
Legal and Administrative Policies
1. Develop guidelines and a methodology which provide a clearer
test of what constitutes a "reasonable beneficial use."
Chapter 373, F.S., establishes the "reasonable beneficial use"
doctrine as'the determinant of what constitutes a valid exercise of water
rights. In order to provide a more useful water management tool, guide-
lines and a methodology which provide a clearer test of "reasonable
beneficial uses" should be developed.
2. Develop, to the extent practical, a standard methodology to
allow the equitable allocation of water and which adequately considers
future as well as present water supply needs.
The following criteria should be utilized to develop a standard
method to allow the quantitative inventory and equitable allocation of
water in the public interest:
(a) provision of as much water as any specific region can
yield for "reasonable beneficial uses" without sustaining
(b) efficient and equitable allocation of that amount of water
to landowners, natural systems, and to satisfy other water
needs, such as municipal water supply, which are in the
public interest but which cannot easily be met through an
allotment based upon land-ownership;
(c) protection of water quality;
(d) protection of water resources, soil fertility, the water
course, fish and wildlife and other related resources; and
(e) maintenance of minimum flows for surface waters and minimum
levels for groundwater and, whenever practical, water table
aquifer levels should be maintained at levels which support
the maximum productivity of natural systems.
3. Recognize the basic interrelationship between land and water
Rights in both land and water resources should be coordinated, and
uses should be administered, regulated and managed conjunctively. To the
extent practical, there should not be separate codifications of land and
water quality and quantity management law; the law for the administration
of land and water resources should be a coordinated body of jurisprudence
which recognizes that both land and water resources are subject to the
systematic natural laws of ecology.
4. Encourage local governments to plan the location and timing of
new development in a manner consistent with the State Comprehensive Plan
and, as developed, the Water Use Plan, the Water Quality Plan, and the
Florida Water Plan.
Section 163.6131, F.S., directs that local units of government shall
plan for and guide their future development and growth. Local government
should be encouraged to adopt controls to ensure that the location and
timing of new developments is in accordance with the ability of government
to provide and maintain solid waste, sewage disposal and water supply.
Local plans should conform to state and regional water resource plans to
ensure that local development is not detrimental to the long-term main-
tenance of water and related resources.
5. Seek to resolve, as expeditiously and as equitably as practical,
the legal issues which may arise when water levels are, in many areas,
elevated above present levels to optimize water supply, water quality and
other public values.
In recognition of the need to restore water levels as near to the
levels which existed before drainage greatly lowered such levels as prac-
tical, state regulatory and planning agencies should develop an approach
to avoid protracted and costly litigation and to reach an amicable resolu-
tion between the public and private interest relating to elevated water
levels. Agency attorneys and resource managers should choose a specific
basin and then investigate such criteria as: (1) statutory authority
for elevating water levels, (2) whether water elevation legislation, rule
or rules would be advantageous, (3) the effects of elevated water levels
on various land uses, and (4) other relevant criteria. Optimum water
level elevations should be determined along with fact patterns regarding
the effect of such an elevation on private property. Negotiations and
other intercourse with property owners should be employed to reach equit-
able agreements. Public education of the need to elevate water levels
and the effects this will have on private property should be undertaken.
6. Control and management of water resources should be multi-faceted
and, to the extent practical, emplZoy economic controls as well as regu-
latory controls to insure reasonable beneficial use of resources in the
South Florida Water Management District
Rejection of Water Element
The District's foriiial position has been presented at prior Water Element
Policy Advisory Committee meetings and we will continue to work through that
vehicle, despite the fact that our involvement has not been effective in making
this a realistic workable document. In light of Mr. Hutchinson's prior comments,
however, it appears necessary to summarize our position on the water element for
1. The District can not support the current water element document. It
is not consistently grounded in sound hydrologic principles and does
not recognize the realities of water management in south Florida. In
addition much of the report contains broad sweeping statements or
inferred conclusions which are based on unknown or unspecified docu-
mentation. This is particularly true in the latter textual portion
of the document, which has not been reviewed by the Policy Advisory
As an example, two of the basic directions of the document and many of the
policies are to 1) bring water levels back to redevelopmentt levels" and 2)
employ water retention/detention areas in "upland areas" to increase percolation.
First, redevelopmentn" water levels are virtually unknown in a scientific sense
since drainage activities were initiated prior to the turn of the century, long
prior to adequate data collection programs. Second, there are very few areas
where water levels could be raised higher than they are currently without flooding
and property damage. Moreover, while the concept of "upland detention" can be
practiced in some areas of the District, most of south Florida is indeed lowlands
with already high groundwater levels. The simplistic principles of raising
groundwater levels ani usinq upland retention are not adequate concepts on which
to ba~e water resources policy. Optimizing water levels has and will continue to
he an objective ol the District's water management program.