Title: Tracking The Water Shortage
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/WL00004534/00001
 Material Information
Title: Tracking The Water Shortage
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Publisher: Hydroscope Vol. 21 No. 2
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida
Abstract: Jake Varn Collection - Tracking The Water Shortage (JDV Box 91)
General Note: Box 23, Folder 1 ( Miscellaneous Water Papers, Studies, Reports, Newsletters, Booklets, Annual Reports, etc. - 1973 -1992 ), Item 37
Funding: Digitized by the Legal Technology Institute in the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: WL00004534
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



First Quarter Rainfall Continues Below Normal

The pattern of below normal rainfall
continued through the first quarter of
1990 with the exception of February,
which brought slightly above average
rainfall. The overall rainfall deficit hardly
changed as the District approached the
driest months of the year.
January rainfall was 0.8 inches Dis-
triac-wkle. or Qoly 3 percent of the Whi-
tone ayere~:tee.faZet 4. 1 Sts'sm $b.
.Wz ri7

the southern part of the District were 5.3
feet below the January average. In the
northern part, wells were two feet below
the average for the month.
February brought relief from the
declining groundwater levels. Rainfall
District-wide averaged 3.9 inches, com-
paredo ohe historic averaof 2.8 inches.
.$awtreadt oIww Qwas6;M peia

age. In the northern part wells registered
1 9 feet below the average.
March rainfall was again below nor-
mal with 1.6 inches recorded District
wide, compared to a historical average of
3.5 inches. Stream flow declined to 33
percent of its average. Ground water
levels continued to fall, Of 61 wells
.MooWTo iOlTy17 wee in the normal
'a .. ., Ox^'? N^

Volume 21, Number 2

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

0 printed on recycled paper
Hydroscope was published at an approximate cost of $5,625 or
75 cents per issue.

Spring 1990

HydroNews Earth Day 1990 Tampa Bay Named

to National Estuary Program Water Wise Week Tabloid
In-School Water Resource Education Program Introduced
Water Index Reflects District Groundwater Health
Dee River Ranch Renamed Michael T. Potts Preserve

6 Where Did All the Water Go? Understanding
and Managing the Water Shortage Impacts to
agriculture, public supply and wildlife reveal the delicate
hydrologic balance upset by the water shortage and man's
overuse of the resource.




Water for the Future A Q&A session with William
K. Hennessey, Deputy Exective Director of Community Affairs

FOCUS Those Constricting Restrictions... : A perspective
offered by the Manager of Water Use Planning Terry Johnson

Plant Selection and Wise Use of Turf
with Xeriscape Getting to know yourplants, by Lou

On the cover: Wildlife, like the offspring of
the nesting Florida Sandhill Crane can be
displaced and endangered by severe drought.
SPhoto by Frank Budz
0 ntecvr idielk h fpigo
0 h etn lrd adilCaecnb
*0ipae n nagrdb eeedogt
*0ht y rn~d

Hydroscope Spring 1990

_ ~ 1_1

Earth Day 1990 Southwest
Floridians Celebrate Their

Southwest Floridians turned out by
the thousands to show their concern
for the health of the environment on
Earth Day week end, and at functions
both before and after the 20th anni-
versary of the first Earth Day.
In cities and towns throughout the
District, a renewed environmental
awareness was evident. Thousands of

Shoreline restoration is discussed by
SWIM's Steve Stuart.

people turned out at Lowry Park in
Tampa where the highlight of activi-
ties was the Water Tent coordinated
by the District. Exhibitors and their
presentations included: the West Coast
Regional Water Supply Authority's
mobile irrigation laboratory; a re-
claimed water display by the city of
2 St. Petersburg; water games for kids
Hydroscope Spring 1990

by area 4-H Clubs; a mini-Xeriscape
model by the Hillsborough County
Extension Service; and replicas of low-
volume bathroom fixtures by the city
of Tampa Water Conservation Depart-
ment. WFLA-TV meteorologist Laura
York distributed materials for home
water audits.
The District's SWIM department
replicated a shoreline restoration using
plants donated by a native plant
nursery. Other District displays in-
cluded Geographic Information
Systems mapping charts, taped
footage of actual deep well monitor-
ing and distribution of water conserva-
tion and shortage information.
St. Petersburg held its annual
Green Thumb Festival at Boyd Hill
Nature Park on Saturday and Sunday,
where the District showcased several
water resource-related projects. On
Friday, an environmental rally on
Franklin Street Mall in downtown
Tampa during the lunch hour was
highlighted by a tree planting in a
park featuring Xeriscape principles.
Also, a summit in Tampa served as a
forum for business leaders and envi-
ronmentalists to exchange ideas on
how to protect and restore the Bay
Area environment. U

Tampa Bay Named to
National Estuary Program

Tampa Bay has joined Puget Sound,
Chesapeake Bay, Boston Harbor and
13 other estuaries across the country
as part of the National Estuary Pro-
gram (NEP), a federal cleanup initia-
tive funded through the Clean Water
Act. Also added to the NEP list was
Indian River Lagoon on Florida's east
coast. Three estuaries Tampa Bay,
Sarasota Bay and Indian River Lagoon
- out of the 17 involved in the
program are located in Florida.
"This is welcome news," said
Michael J. Perry, Director of the Dis-
trict's Surface Water Improvement
(SWIM) department. The SWIM
department already manages a multi-
million dollar District cleanup effort
on Tampa Bay and other polluted

surface waters in southwest Florida.
Federal assistance through the NEP
should complement SWIM very well,
according to Perry.
"We should be able to mesh the
two programs together to avoid doing
the same work twice. And the NEP
will help us develop a broader con-
sensus about what the really critical
needs are for Tampa Bay," Perry said.
NEP funds are generally allocated for
planning and study, some of which
has been completed already. The
program is meant to have a three to
five year life-span, after which the
local sponsor (in this case, the Dis-
trict) would be responsible for im-
"Because of the head start we
have with our SWIM plan, we hope
that some of the $5 million potentially
available through NEP might be used
for implementation of bay improve-
ment projects," Perry commented. He
added that the District already has
begun to implement many SWIM
projects, and tying those into NEP
would make sense for both programs.
The NEP process usually takes
about five years from start to finish.
Tampa Bay might progress more
quickly because of the advance work
done through SWIM, which has been
active for nearly two years. Tampa
Bay was nominated for the NEP last
year, with strong support from the
District and a variety of bay advocacy
groups. Commercial, recreational and
governmental organizations all pushed
for the nomination and subsequent
designation, which had the support of
Florida's Congressional delegation as
well. U

Water Wise Week Returns

Helping kids learn how and when
to save water is an activity worth re-
peating. So, for the second straight
year, the District and the Tampa
Tribune sponsored Water Wise Week
in participating elementary schools
throughout the District.
Designed to promote, educate and
encourage water conservation, the


program's central teaching tool is a
16-page activity book, printed in
tabloid newspaper format. The
project helped familiarize students
with daily newspapers as they studied
the weather section and read about
environmental issues.
Almost 75,000 copies were dis-
tributed to schools within the
Tribune's circulation area, which
reaches most areas within the District.
Becky Clayton, District School
Education Coordinator, said, "This
was the first time some of the chil-
dren were introduced to the hydro-
logic cycle, water conservation and
our area's great dependency on rain-
fall to meet water supply needs." She
added, "Kids in the middle grades are
receptive to the conservation mes-
sage, but if we start earlier, our
chances of succeeding will be even
better." C]

District Introduces
In-School Water Resource
Education Program

A comprehensive overview of
where water comes from, how it is
stored, supplied, used and reused
was introduced on a pilot basis this
spring. This first in-school water
resource education program will be
made available to intermediate level
schools District-wide in the fall.
The initial program, developed
for fifth grade classrooms, includes a
32-page text book, a 16-page "take
home" activity book, and an 18-page
teacher's guide. Elementary schools
in Highlands, Hillsborough and
Manatee counties participated in the
pilot project.
Becky Clayton, District School
Education Coordinator, said the
curriculum was piloted "to test the
water resource materials for strengths
and weaknesses before general distri-
bution." Evaluations will be made by
students, teachers and a special work
group, including representatives from
the water management district, county
school districts and local water

Materials for
other grade levels
will be developed in
coming years.
Currently under way I
are revisions to the
Northwest Florida
Water Management
District's award-
winning Waterways
curriculum for
middle schools,
hands-on activities
for primary schools,
and career awareness
and decision-making
skills for high school
students. All materi- The importance o
als will meet the water resource ed
Florida Department
of Education's state-
wide performance standards.
An in-service component for
teachers is being developed for the
1990-91 school year. A two-day, 20-
hour training session will give teachers
the background they need to use the
classroom materials effectively. The
session will provide teachers with a
basic knowledge of water in southwest
Florida, including technical informa-
tion, present and future water issues,
and the need for water resource man-
agement. U

Dee River Ranch Renamed
Michael T. Potts Preserve

The District has acquired the final
tract of land in its Dee River Ranch
project, a major aquifer recharge area
in the Lake Tsala Apopka region of
eastern Citrus County. Addition of the
880-acre parcel brings total project
acreage to 8,500. After approving the
acquisition, the Governing Board
voted to rename the project the
Michael T. Potts Preserve, in memory
of the District employee who ac-
cidently lost his life while working
there last year.
Fritz Musselmann, Director of
Land Resources, said "The preserve is

'wetlands an illustration from the District's
ucation program.

an area of high recharge to the
Floridan aquifer and lies in a part of
Citrus County which has a very high
potential for groundwater contamina-
tion." Under District ownership, the
land will be maintained in its natural
state and condition and potential for
groundwater contamination will be
minimized, he said.
A mixture of small lakes, marshes
and swamps separated by acres of
uplands characterize the Michael T.
Potts Preserve, which also supports
diverse wildlife. Marshes and wet-
lands make up almost half of the
project, four miles of which border the
Withlacoochee River and its
Acquisition of the land in the
preserve is integral to the District's
overall Plan for the Protection of the
Green Swamp River Systems. Its
many benefits include: natural flood
control through water detention; water
conveyance; preservation and restora-
tion of natural ecosystems and their
functions; prevention of encroachment
within the floodplain and open space
and recreational opportunities for the
general public. The Michael T. Potts
Preserve was purchased with funds
from the Water Management Lands
Trust Fund, commonly known as the
Save Our Rivers program.
continued on page 4 3
Hydroscope Spring 1990

continued from page 3
A land use plan detailing recrea-
tional uses has been approved by the
Governing Board. Such passive
recreational activities as hiking,
horseback riding, canoeing, camping
and picnicking are permitted. U

Water Index Reflects
District Groundwater Health

W ater shortage restrictions have
been in effect for more than a year,
and the District has been faced with
the challenge of communicating the
severity of the shortage to the more
than 3.3 million residents of southwest
To help the public understand the
complexity of the water shortage, the
District's Hydrologic Data staff has
developed a Water Index a mecha-
nism to measure the "health" of the
groundwater system.
The water index is derived
statistically by comparing the ground-
water levels of a regional network of
52 monitoring wells which repre-
sents the hydrologic conditions of the
entire District with historic levels.
These levels reflect the state of the
groundwater resource. This value is
affected by rainfall and the demand
on the groundwater resource.
A frequency analysis, which is a
statistical procedure that ranks data
according to frequency distribution is
used. This analysis results in a
cumulative percentile ranking of
historical values. Current groundwater
levels are then compared against
historical levels in the same well to
determine the appropriate ranking.
Values are averaged to arrive at the
water index number for both the
southern and northern areas in the
Due to the hydrologic differences
between the District's northern and
southern counties, a water index
based on the lithology in both areas
has been derived. In the southern
portion of the District, below the
4 Hillsborough and Polk County lines,

the Floridan aquifer is deep and
confined, which makes it difficult
to access and even harder to
recharge the water supply. The
Intermediate aquifer exists at
shallower depths, suffers from
heavy demands and is not
easily recharged.
In the northern counties the
Intermediate aquifer does not
exist and the Floridan aquifer is
near the surface, which allows
rain water to easily penetrate the
soil and recharge the aquifer
The southern portion of
the District has a high popula-
tion density along the
coast. Inland
areas are
marked by \
increased ,
uses and ~);01
urban devel-
opment. ,,
Coastal develop-
ment is less in
the District's
northern counues
and agricultural use
of land is substantially less.
The water index was released to
the media in late February. Since
then, the index has appeared weekly
in major newspapers within the
District. It has also become a weekly
feature during the weather segment of
the evening news on television
stations throughout the Tampa Bay
On Wednesday afternoons the
media receives a weekly update of the
water index by telephone or by
facsimile machine. The update also
indicates the change in value from the
previous week and provides an
overall rating of good, fair or poor. U

New Mining Rule Protects

A new rule to protect wetlands
affected by the mining of sand, peat,
rock and other non-phosphate materi-

als became effective in April. The rule,
Chapter 40D-45 of the Florida Admin-
istrative Code, is designed to insure
water quality, restoration of wetlands
and protection of adjacent lands from
drying or flooding because of mining
activities. Adoption by the Governing
Board earlier this year came after
seven months of workshops and
public hearings.
The rule requires a surface water
permit for construction or alteration of
a surface water management system.
It includes criteria for the evaluation
of off-site flooding, water quality and
wetlands impacts as a result of mining
activities. In the rule's Basis of
Review section, acceptable mitigation
and compensation ratios, timetables
for compensation and bonds for
assuring compensation are
detailed. Q

Hydroscope Spring 1990

Mobile Lab

EvA uAmvGEknaE

A agricultural conservation
practices, including
efficient irrigation
systems, are essential to
the District's effort to
S make conservation
second nature to all
water users.
District-funded mo-
.- bile irrigation laboratories
S- a three-year project to
\ evaluate agricultural
irrigation systems are
an important part of this conservation
Evaluations are conducted by the
Soil Conservation Service (SCS) of the
United States Department of Agricul-
ture. The labs are based at the SCS
Office in Palmetto in Manatee County
or the SCS office in Wauchula in
Hardee County. From there conserva-
tionists respond to requests from sur-
rounding counties for the free confi-
dential service provided by the District.
At the site, conservationists collect
data to evaluate the efficiency and ef-
fectiveness of the irrigation system.
According to SCS conservationist Jack
Creighton, "We look at how uniformly
the water is being applied. We also try
to detect from this if there are any
design flaws and installation or mainte-
nance problems with the system."
Crop information and soil informa-
tion also are obtained. An analysis of
the irrigation system to determine
discharge uniformity, pressure distribu-
tions, operation rates and water
distributions are performed. The
system's efficiencies are then calcu-
lated, and a computerized irrigation
schedule is provided.
"We also try to determine how well
the owner or manager understands his
irrigation system and how well he
manages it," said Creighton. "Then we

use our evaluation
to help them better
understand how the
system works and
how it can be used
to match the water
needs of their
crops," he said.
Ron Cohen, the
District project
manager, said, "The
mobile lab team ba-
sically provides
owners with infor-
mation to help them
modify existing irri-
gation systems to
make them more ef-
ficient." Evaluations
may be scheduled
for all kinds of
irrigation systems and for all crops any-
where within the District.
"The amount of water saved can
be substantial," Cohen said. "One nurs-
eryman estimated that he saved 15,000
gallons per irrigation cycle by changing
worn sprinkler heads on his system.
The result is a saving of the water re-
source and the grower's money as
well," he said.

Photos by Michael Crow

When system efficiencies are calculated,
conservationists use the evaluation to help
owners better understand how to match the
system to the water needs of their crops, often
resulting insubstantial savings. Evaluations
can be scheduled for all irrigation systems
and crops (above).

Conservationists from the mobile lab team
collect data on agricultural irrigation systems
(below). Water pressure and uniformity of
distribution as well as operation rates are
checked. This and other data are used to
evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of
the system.

ro, -

Hydroscope Spring 1990


he r he late
small body of water as a
helicopter approaches the
strawberry fields. Long arcs
of water from irrigation
sprinklers cross each other
in mid air before settling on
the crop and the soil. The
excess water trickles down
the rows toward the recov-
ery pond where it will be
stored for reuse.
At another field farther
south, groundwater is
pumped along open ditches
between the rows of a large
tomato field. The crop had
to be replanted after the
Christmas freeze, as did
most others in the area. A
part of the water runs off the




& Managing the
Water Shortage

field, never reaching the
roots of the tomato vines,
and collects in pools and
puddles along a dirt road.
Much of the runoff will be
lost to evaporation.
These fruit and vege-
table crops are vital to the
economy of the state. The
strawberries and tomatoes
grown in Hillsborough and
Manatee counties each
spring are consumed with
almost ritualistic fervor by
Floridians. They are among
the amenities of living in
sub-tropical Florida.
But these and other
counties within the South-
west Florida Water Manage-
ment District have gone
without adequate rainfall for
months. And in this land of
berries, oranges, cucumbers,
melons and squash -
where the fields are rarely
fallow the water shortage

is critical. It is under these
conditions that the less
efficient irrigation systems of
the vegetable growers come
under increased scrutiny by
water managers.
Several miles to the north,
both the District and officials
at the West Coast Regional
Water Supply Authority
monitor the ground water
levels of well fields in Pasco
County. A computer
prompts them to stop
pumping from one well
field, and shift to another
with higher groundwater
reserves. The process of
rotating well fields to keep
the residents in the greater
Tampa-St. Petersburg area
supplied with water has
been going on for several
weeks. The objective is to
prevent degradation of the
Floridan aquifer through
over-pumping and to avoid
draining surrounding
wetlands and lakes and to
protect the ecology of the
land around the well fields.
It is a balancing act that has
been relatively successful so
In Tampa, residents who

observe restric-
tions on lawn
watering regard
with disdain the
mindless viola-
tions of neigh-
bors, often
reporting them to
local authorities
who have been

asked to strengthen their
enforcement of restrictions.
Lawn and landscape
businesses, with an eye to
future shortages, promote a
water-efficient landscaping
approach known as Xeris-
The water shortage of
1989-90 has entered its
second year and reached its
most critical level. Modified
Phase III severe restrictions
have been declared through-
out the central and southern
part of the District, while
Phase II continues else-
where. Relief from summer
rains is still weeks away.
Small ponds and
marshes have dried up
throughout the central and
southern part of the District,
forcing cattle to graze in
different pastures. Wildlife,
too, is displaced and even
endangered, like the off-
spring of nesting Florida
Sandhill Cranes. According
to District Environmental
Scientist Manuel Lopez,
prolonged dry spells can
impact the reproduction of
these wading birds. Sandhill
cranes nest in marshes atop

moat-like by
water. When
the water level
drops, the
eggs and the
young are
more vulner-
able to preda-

bc 0

Hydroscope Spring 1990


tors. "This may be a bad
year for the reproduction of
wading birds,
but they will The water in the
survive," said Hydrologic Cycle is
Lopez. "The always moving.
greatest impact

on wildlife will
be if the rain does not return
in June and July," he added.
Several groundwater
monitoring wells have
registered record lows,
especially in East Hillsbor-
ough and Manatee Counties
where agricultural water use
is high. All wells were at or
below levels of more than a
year ago, when they sig-
naled the start of the water
shortage. Tighter water use
restrictions may be on the
horizon for all sectors,
including agricultural and
public supply.
How is it that Florida,
which normally gets ap-
proximately 54 inches of
rainfall a year, can have a
shortage of water for so long
a period? Where is all the
water that Florida is known


Of all the water in the
world, 97 percent is saltwa-
ter, leaving only 3 percent to
be distributed among all
other parts of the hydrologic
cycle. About 2 percent of
the earth's water is frozen at
the North and South Poles,
leaving only 1 percent for
human use.

The water in the hydro-
logic cycle is always mov-
ing. It is either falling on
earth, running across the
earth into streams, rivers and
lakes on a path to the
oceans, or it is infiltrating
into the earth and recharg-
ing the aquifers, where it
still moves on a downward
gradient toward the sea.
People intercept for their
own use some of the water

from surface and groundwa-
ter reserves. If it is not re-
plenished by rainfall, the
source of all water in
Southwest Florida, these
reserves are increasingly
depleted. Of the approxi-
mately 53 inches of rainfall
the District normally re-
ceives annually, according to
hydrologists, 39 inches are
lost to evaporation and
transpiration, 8 inches are
lost to runoff into lakes and
streams and the gulf and
only 6 inches are left to
percolate into and recharge
aquifers. Deluges that come
from tropical storms, while
providing some recharge,
are usually lost to runoff.
Southwest Florida's
water shortage is caused by
taking out more groundwa-
ter than Mother Nature has
put back in. The water that
Floridians are accustomed to
receiving through rainfall, is
moving through some other
part of the hydrologic cycle,
in the form of water or
vapor. Until significant
quantities of rainfall return,
the water shortage n ill

Hydroscope Spring 1990

How Do
Track a

t any given time,
i the health
I- 1 A of the
District's water
resources are
measured by
comparing the
amount of rain-
fall, level of -
surface waters,
level of ground-
water and
volume of stream I
flow with the his-
torical pattern. A ..
water shortage :-
generally is de- .,
cleared when one
or all of these
measures fall sig- Dr
nificantly below
Is the District in a
drought? "Yes," said Stuart
Anderson, Deputy Executive
Director, Resource Manage-

ment. "For the last three
years we have received 80
percent of our historical
rainfall average. During this
period, rainfalls have
sometimes been so heavy
that they brought yearly
averages to near normal
levels. But such averages
do not tell the whole story.

.9 .,)I

fed-up livestock ponds force dairymen
ranchers to find other water sources.
Most rains fell in a very
short time span, causing
excessive runoff and
flooding. Aquifer recharge
was insufficient, and the net

result is that our overbur-
dened groundwater supplies
did not get the relief they
Statistics collected over
the past 60 years show a
District-wide rainfall average
of 53 inches, Anderson said.
But the average over the last
15 to 20 years is about 51.5
inches. "That's
a decline of 5
percent of the
total," he said.
"Whether the
trend will be
sustained or
not remains to
S- be seen."
Ki -"a- What will it
take to end the
"Rainfall, a lot
of slow, evenly
rainfall," Ander-
-" son said. "It
took time to
an get into this
situation so it
will take time to get out."
He also said that the mini-
mum needed to stop the
decline of groundwater
resources is at least 53

inches of rain in the next
year, evenly dispersed in
rainfall events that percolate
into the ground and do not
occur in such density that
most of the rain is lost in
runoff. Is this likely to hap-
pen? "It's possible, but it
will probably take more
than a year for a complete
rebound of aquifer levels,"
Anderson said.


ater managers
regard the present
.w water shortage as
temporary or short-term,
brought on by almost two
years of below normal
rainfall. The shortage places
in sharp focus the need for
more efficient management
of the resource. Such
management is a responsi-
bility not only of water use
regulators, but of water
users from all sectors -
public supply, agriculture

Hydroscope Spring 1990

~~ -~rz~a

2~ _~Sn~

and industrial. The conser-
vation habits developed
today will be essential to
long-term water supply
In addition to wide-
spread water use restric-
tions, the District has intensi-
fied its efforts to make the
public more aware of the
limited resource and the
need to conserve. Through
print advertising and public
service announcements,
efforts are underway to
establish and reinforce a
conservation ethic among
the ever-changing popula-
tion of Southwest Florida.
"Water Wise Week", a
program for elementary and
middle school students, was
observed throughout the
District for the second year
this spring.
New this year is the
water index (see related
story on page 4), a measure
of the health of groundwater
supplies for both the
northern and southern half
of the District, derived from
comprehensive data. Devel-
oped for use by newspapers
and television, it gives

Recreation on small lakes Is curt
the water shortage enters its seco

water-watchers a quick
grasp of groundwater condi-
tions. Since its introduction,
levels have generally
fluctuated between fair and

The District
also has worked
with local gov-
ernments to de-
velop a model
landscape ordi-
nance which en-
courages the use
of Xeriscape, or
plants in new
and retro-fitted
Efforts to bring
about greater
compliance with
water shortage
--" restrictions have
.. been coordi-
nated with local
officials, and
violations have
kf ".' been substan-
tially reduced.
ailedas However,
ndyear. compliance is
still below what
is needed to adequately
reduce overall demand.


hen a change in
the rainfall pattern
finally brings the
temporary water shortage to
an end, Phase II and III
restrictions will give way to
permanent year-round
conservation measures that
limit lawn irrigation to three
days a week. However, a
second kind of water short-
age, one that Mother Nature
alone cannot replenish with
abundant rainfall, now grips
three areas in the southern
part of the District.
Critically low groundwa-
ter levels there caused the
District's Governing Board to
declare three Water Use
Caution Areas (WUCAs).
Water shortages there,
although aggravated by
current rainfall deficits, are
the result of long-term water
resource depletion by public
supply, agriculture and

'.1 A "' w ater fro m in."
J ,fw. 6WIP.-ft'. land

es. Th r&C~mfia
iztin f o al ad
If r~r~'~r;;Ti.s rule& ki pam- 0

becE e a hjr

m~mS~c~n~S -";iJjP7'~

Hydroscope Spring 1990

industry. In other words, the
groundwater has been
overused. Special water
management plans to
stabilize the resources in
each WUCA are nearing
completion. The task of
restoring groundwater levels
to normal will be difficult, if
not impossible. Water
managers already are work-
ing to identify new or
alternative sources of water
for each. The three WUCAs
and the counties they
encompass are: Northern
Tampa Bay (Pinellas, coastal
and southern Pasco and
northern Hillsborough);
Eastern Tampa Bay (south
Hillsborough, Manatee and
northern Sarasota) and Lake
Wales/Highlands Ridge
(central Polk and western

in Transition

water management
practices have
*,", changed through-

1 1

'~~-*5' 'Lii

The greatest Impact on wildlife will he if the rains do not return this su
out the years, in response to tion. "We have gone

increased demand, new
data and new technology.
Today, planners and manag-
ers anticipate several
changes in the way water is
supplied and managed.
District Planning Man-
ager Robert Christianson
believes water management
in Southwest Florida is be-
ginning a period of transi-

through several stages, the
most recent being, 'make
sure individual water with-
drawals don't impact adja-
cent users or unduly affect
the environment,'" he said.
"Now, we are at a point
where we need to know the
cumulative effect of water
use within an area from a
regional perspective. We

Need to manage
S that very directly
to be sure these
effects are accept-
said that the first
step in the new
managerial phase
is to understand
how much water
is available in a
region and how
much can be
safely removed
and used. To that
end, planners, hy-
drologists and
other technical
staff have em-
barked on a com-
merr. prehensive,
nmmer. '
needs and sources study.
"This study is critical to the
decisions we need to make
about water supply manage-
ment," he said.
Historically, needs and
sources analyses have been
limited first to public supply
needs. "We are taking that a
step further in several ways,"
Christianson said. "We are
now projecting over the

Hydroscope Spring 1990

A large corporate fountain Is idle In Tampa, as businesses move to conserve water.

entire District, we are
accounting for all users, not
just agriculture and public
supply, and we are estimat-
ing how much water we can
take out of the aquifer," he
Andy Smith, Manager of
Resource Evaluation, said
both conventional and
alternate water supply
sourcess nill be included in

.... w^Ai/X t -: ',- ..

pope _-e--\.;.' -v '^ ^

the study. Conventional
sources will include fresh
high quality ground and
surface water. Alternate
sources will include desali-
nation of brackish ground
water and reuse of treated
waste water. Water conser-
vation measures will be

evaluated in all
water use groups
and will be
included as a
reduction of
projected de-
mand. Smith said
the study also
will closely ex-
amine the possi-
bility of regional-
izing distribution
systems for
public supply.
"We hope to
accomplish two
main goals with
it in fiscal year
'90. One is to
complete a one-
time base line as-
sessment that is
accessible now,"

Smith said. The second goal
is to develop a tool that the
District can use on a con-
tinuing basis, to update new
needs and sources as they
become known, and to
investigate various strategies
for meeting water supply
needs, he said.

The District will imple-
ment the results of the
needs and sources analysis
through its regulatory
procedures. The findings
also will guide water use
permit holders and appli-
cants toward available water
sources and quantities.
Guidelines will be issued on
a county basis on the
maximum amount of water
that can be derived from
each source.
"With this tool," said
Christianson, "I think we
will ultimately be saying,
'We believe this is the
direction water supply man-
agement should go over the
next 20 or 30 years to insure
affordable water for Floridi-
ans.' That will bring us to a
new plateau." E

Cover story photos
by Michael Crow

Hydroscope Spring 1990






Nobody likes to be told when to water the lawn. Or
to find out they can't wash the car on their day off. Or,
worse, to learn that their entire crop irrigation schedule has
to be changed to comply with tightened water use rules.
To be restricted in the way we use water somehow
goes against our collective grain. Yet most Florida resi-
dents recognize the necessity of mandatory conservation
measures, especially during a prolonged water shortage
such as the one now gripping southwest Florida. And most
make an effort to comply with the restrictions once they
are understood. Therein lies the key to successfully manag-
ing a water shortage: communicating water use rules and
conservation measures to a public eager to help.
The District has been under water use restrictions for
more than a year. The most severe restrictions issued to
date, limiting lawn watering to twice a week, were recently
declared in most counties from Pasco south. Agricultural
irrigation there has been limited to
between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m.- the One caller wC
most rigid in the history of the se cou bath
water management district. During e coud ba
this time the District has provided Dane


the public with information on the

shortage and restrictions through newspapers, radio and
television. Media response to our efforts to communicate
the gravity of the shortage has been excellent. Without this
responsible coverage of deteriorating ground and surface
water resources, and both the District's and the public's
efforts to better manage and conserve the resource, stiffer
restrictions probably would have come earlier.
Also during this period more than 30,000 people have
called the District to ask questions about the shortage and
restrictions. We have responded to more than 1000 requests
for variances most about irrigation of large properties
and fund-raising car washes. At least 400 inquiry letters also
have been received.
The telephone calls and letters have helped us to better
understand the needs and concerns of water users, along
with the inconvenience water use restrictions can cause.
They also have made us more aware of how many people's
livelihoods are dependent upon water. Because of this,
most commercial businesses are exempted. The intent of
water use restrictions has never been to bring financial hard-
ship to the owners and operators of these businesses.
The normal test for a variance is to allow the individual
to meet the need and still not exceed the amount of water
available under the current restrictions. One caller wanted
to know if she could bathe a litter of Great Dane puppies.
12 She was advised that, since indoor water use was not

by B. Terry Johnson, AICP
restricted, she could wash them in her bath tub or sink.
Another caller was permitted to wash his car daily because
he worked in a mining area that left damaging chemicals on
the vehicle. This variance request was unnecessary since
water use to protect health and safety is allowed under the
The District's Local Government Coordination Depart-
ment has also met with representatives of 45 local govern-
ments to gauge local opinion of the shortage situation and
hear their views of how we can help them support and
enforce the restrictions. Representatives included mayors,
city managers, council members, utility directors and law en-
forcement officers. This coordination must be ongoing to be
effective, and it continues with this objective in mind.
Because so much agricultural activity is concentrated in
the southern counties of Manatee, Sarasota, Hardee, DeSoto
and Hillsborough counties, the District scheduled a meeting
with agricultural interests there.
ited to know if The level of interest and the
Slitr f Grat willingness to comply with restric-
a litter of r eat tions was very high with this
Suihhio.P sector.

Agriculture has had to bear its

share of water shortage restrictions at one of the most
critical points in the cycle of crops. Many crops were
wiped out by the Christmas freeze of 1989. To recoup some
of their losses, growers replanted almost immediately,
placing a heavier than normal strain on groundwater re-
sources in the area. The water conservation practices being
encouraged and implemented in this area will go a long way
toward ensuring availability of water in the future.
Have we communicated the seriousness, and in some
cases, the severity of the water shortage in southwest
Florida? Yes, we have succeeded on numerous levels. But
the process of establishing a conservation ethic in all sectors
of our population is never-ending. As homeowners, suppli-
ers, growers and all other users of water become increas-
ingly aware of the need to conserve
our finite resource, more efficient
conservation techniques and practices
will follow. It remains for all of us to
become involved in the solution if the
quality of life we cherish is to con-

B. Terry Johnson is
Water Use Planning Manager
at the District.

Hydroscope Spring 1990


One of the key elements to a
successful Xeriscape is the use of ap-
propriate plants. This simply boils
down to using the right plant in the
right place.
Once you have developed a Xeris-
cape plan for your Florida landscape
- and you have determined its
sunlight patterns, drainage and soil
conditions you are ready to select
plants for your home's specific environ-
ment or "micro-climate".
First, get to know your plants.
Take time to learn a plant's characteris-
tics, such as its size at maturity, light
and soil requirements, cold hardiness,
rate of growth and, of course, water re-
All plants have a place in a Xeris-
cape. The idea is to place a specific
plant in an ecologically compatible
spot. It is extremely important to
group the plants according to their
water needs. Combine all "thirsty"
plants into one area. Water this area
separately from other zones. Some
areas may survive on natural rainfall
and not need irrigation.
Certain plants have physical char-
acteristics that help them conserve or
retain moisture. Leaves of drought-
tolerant plants, for example, are often
small, thick, or waxy. These character-
istics help reduce moisture loss due to
evaporation. Plants with woody stems
tend to be more drought and cold-
tolerant. Other plants have extensive,
far-reaching root systems which may
tap shallow underground water
sources. Whenever possible, preserve
or plant shade trees. Shade trees have
many benefits, including the reduction

Lou Kavouras is the District's
Outdoor Water Conservation Planner.

of soil moisture evaporation. They also
cool buildings, driveways, patios and a
variety of shade-loving or under-story
Native Florida plants can be used
very successfully in a Xeriscape if
properly placed. However, the fact
that a plant is native does not mean it
will survive in every micro-climate.
Some native plants grow in wet,
swampy areas, while others flourish in
high, dry scrub communities. Remem-
ber, choose plants that are adapted to
your particular conditions.
Groupings of native plants can
help attract wildlife to your yard. Birds
are especially attracted to plants that
bloom, produce berries, offer protec-
tion or provide good nesting sites.
The District's Plant Guide has been
developed to help in the selection and
placement of appropriate plants in a
Xeriscape. The guide contains informa-
tion on some 250 plant species, and is
cross-referenced by common and sci-
entific name. The Plant Guide is
part of the District's ,

St. Augustine grasses
(above) require regular
irrigation, but an
established deep root
system can provide
greater drought tol-
erance; Bahia grass (at
right) however, is extremely drought tolerant.

by Lou Kavouras
ongoing Outdoor Water Conservation
The selection of appropriate grass
varieties is equally important in creat-
ing a Xeriscape. Turf water require-
ments vary with the type of grass
selected. Bahia grass, for instance, is
extremely drought tolerant because of
its extensive root system and its ability
to go dormant (brown out) during dry
conditions. It recovers quickly when
water is applied. St. Augustine grasses
require regular irrigation but, if watered
and maintained properly, a deep root
system can be established to provide
greater drought tolerance.
Lawns of any variety consume a
great deal of water and require fre-
quent maintenance to keep them
looking good. In a Xeriscape, lawn
grasses are used only where appropri-
ate or necessary. Grassy areas should
be of sizes and shapes that can be
easily watered and maintained. Good
horticultural practices, such as mowing
at the proper height and frequency,
fertilization and appropriate pest
control are necessary to maintain a
healthy lawn.
Try to preserve natural areas. Use
ground cover plants, mulches or pervi-
ous decks and patios to reduce the
need for turf in your landscape.
Installation of plants can be as im-
portant as proper selection. The use of
soil amendments and mulch, two
essential elements of a Florida Xeris-
cape, will be the subject of the next

Spoken Here!

Hydroscope Spring 1990

Plant Selection and

Wise Use of Turf with



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