Title: Chapter 20, Item 6 - Key Policy Issues - Future Integrating Land and Water Management
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Title: Chapter 20, Item 6 - Key Policy Issues - Future Integrating Land and Water Management
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Language: English
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Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida
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Abstract: Jake Varn Collection - Chapter 20, Item 6 - Key Policy Issues - Future Integrating Land and Water Management (JDV Box 70)
General Note: Box 24, Folder 2 ( Emerging Issues and Conflicts - 1976-1994 ), Item 22
Funding: Digitized by the Legal Technology Institute in the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.
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Bibliographic ID: WL00004595
Volume ID: VID00001
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CHAPTER 20, ITEM 6

KEY POLICY ISSUES FUTURE

INTEGRATING LAND AND WATER MANAGEMENT





During the decade of the '70's, Florida Introduced an extensive planning

and regulatory network at all levels of government. Various agencies dealing

with land resources and water resources have prepared, or are preparing, plans

and codes for their area of geographic or functional jurisdiction. Despite all

these activities, we continue to face complex problems regarding growth management

and natural resource planning. During this decade of planning and regulatory

experience, the need to fine tune the planning infrastructure of the state was

clearly identified. One of the preliminary steps towards fine tuning the system

will be to meet the challenge of integrating land and water management -- first

at the planning stage, to be followed by successful implementation of plan

recommendations through the regulatory process.

Early experience showed that when different agencies prepared their

state-mandated plans, efforts were made to meet only the minimum requirements of

the law. Interagency coordination was very weak or nonexistent among agencies,

despite ample provisions and encouragement provided by state legislation. Under

these circumstances, it was predictable that very few plans reflected an integrated

approach to land and water management issues. Existence of an atmosphere of

interagency coordination and cooperation is a basic step needed to integrate land

and water management. All levels of government will have to contribute to a

great degree if a cooperative atmosphere is to be developed.

In Florida where land and water are intrinsically related, so is the

inseparable connection between a local government and a water management district.


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These two entities must get together in land and water management planning and

regulation so that decisions, although made separately by each, will be compatible

and complimentary. Additionally, at the regional level, it will also be important

that full coordination and consistency between policy plans of the regional

planning agency and the region's water management district be achieved. Regional

planning agencies, as representative of area local governments, will be able to

provide a valuable forum for water management districts when addressing area-wide

issues regarding land use and water management and their integration.

At the state level, water management districts are viewed as extended arms

of the State Department of Environmental Regulation (DER). In the past, acting

in partnership with a number of state agencies in matters of power plant siting,

comprehensive plan reviews, Developments of Regional Impact (DRI) reviews, Save

Our Rivers programs, State Water Policy, Resource Management and Planning

Committees, etc., has clearly indicated that there must exist a spirit of

cooperation in planning and regulation at the state level among state agencies

and the water management districts in Florida. Water management districts have

to.further strengthen the existing relationship with state agencies so that land

and water management, at the state level, are fully integrated. Likewise,

federally funded public water works projects will have to be closely coordinated

with local governments' comprehensive plans. Water management districts will be

expected to coordinate endeavors of different levels of government so that there

is full consistency among their plans.

Local governments in Florida have prepared and adopted comprehensive plans

pursuant to the mandate of the Local Government Comprehensive Planning Act of

1975. The initial round of state/regional planning council/water management

district review of local plans was more of a record keeping process than a format

for providing guidance and technical assistance to local governments in their










planning efforts. A few water management districts did launch programs on a

limited basis to provide assistance to local governments regarding planning of

water resource related elements of a plan; however, on a state-wide scale they

failed to provide such assistance to the local governments. If water management

districts are prepared to meet the challenge of integrating land and water

management, there exists an unlimited potential for undertaking such endeavors,

especially during the regular updating process of local comprehensive plans.

Outlined below are several ways water management districts can Initiate this

coordination.

-- Regarding potable water planning at the local level, water management

districts need to work towards providing a complete picture of water

resource availability and supply outlook to local government in terms

of quantity, quality and costs. Determination of resource availability

should include estimates of yield from all sources, separately and

combined, and associated costs of supply. Availability of such vital

information will be beneficial to local elected officials who have the

ultimate responsibility to make land use decisions.

-- In terms of drainage, water management districts should make local

governments adequately aware of runoff removal capability of any given

basin and of compatible land uses which can meet drainage constraints and

prevent flood damage.

-- Water management districts should point out sensitive areas from a

water quality point of view and work with local government so that a

compatible land use is proposed for such areas.

-- Water management districts should work closely with local planners in

the evaluation of existing and proposed wastewater treatment and disposal

methods so that alternatives that carry the least or no threat to water

resource contamination are recommended.










-- Water management districts should assist local governments in undertaking

a proper inventory and analysis regarding site selection for solid waste

disposal. Similar involvement is necessary regarding siting of

industries that generate or store hazardous and toxic waste. Water

management districts' Involvement In this matter will be In terms of

safeguarding the water resource.

-- Water management districts need to Identify water related sensitive areas,

i.e., aquifer recharge, wetlands, flood plain, etc. that are desirable

to be retained in a natural and unaltered condition from a water manage-

ment point of view. Further, water management districts will have to

provide assistance to local governments so that local land use plans

will provide ample protection for such areas.

It is essential that a spirit of planning integration between water management

district and a local government be continued throughout the comprehensive planning

process and then followed through to decision-making at site specific levels.

Communication channels established during the planning phase need to be continued

or formalized to assure compatibility at the permit issuance phase between the

two entities. The question of whether a land use decision has to be made prior

to issuance of a water use and/or drainage permit or vice versa is a thought-

provoking, and at times a controversial, issue. However, if there is full

integration between land use and water management plans, then the answer to the

question becomes a matter of establishing a mutually acceptable procedure between

local governments and a water management district, with full cognizance between

the two agencies that the burden of making land use decisions rests on the

elected officials' shoulders.

At the regional level, water management districts and regional planning

councils need to continue coordination on matters of DRI reviews, hurricane


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evacuation planning, water resources related elements of regional policy plans,

etc. As mentioned earlier, regional planning councils provide an appropriate

and valuable forum for water management districts in dealing with area local

governments collectively. Water management districts should use that forum as

needed. Although gubernatorial appointment of District Board members to regional

planning councils has helped to bring them closer, nonetheless the potential

contribution to a region emanating from these agencies working together is not

yet tapped. Some land use and water management related tasks that are deemed

appropriate to be dealt with at the regional level are noted below.

-- Regional planning councils should move towards producing a composite of

the local land use plans for their region so that water resource matters

are coordinated at the regional level.

-- This composite plan should be used in Identifying flood plains,

environmentally sensitive areas, water bodies, estuaries, etc.

-- Regional planning councils need to take an inventory of platted but

undeveloped land within their area and coordinate with Districts in assessing

their potential impacts on water resources. If negative impacts are

anticipated, then the two agencies should prepare recommendations to

local governments for corrective actions, such as deplatting, lot pooling,

lot recombination, acquisition, rezoning, transferring the development

rights, etc.

During the middle '70's, when the state of Florida was preparing its first

state comprehensive plan, it became obvious that there existed a lack of general

consensus between land planners at the state level and water managers at the

regional level regarding issues pertaining to management of natural resources

and accommodation of unprecedented growth in the state. Water managers felt

that the state plan had turned out to be an advocacy plan rather than being a










rational plan that reflected a balanced approach towards growth management.

Despite last minute efforts by many to resolve the diversity of planning

philosophy between the state planning agency and the water management districts,

the state plan submitted to the Florida Legislature in 1977 failed to provide for

the integration of land and water resource management between state and

regional agencies. Later, in the beginning of the '80's, under the leadership

of.DER, a State Water Policy was prepared which successfully incorporated the

Districts' view and the state's perspective regarding water management Into a

concise policy document. DER's adoption of this policy in a rule format provided

a legally binding direction to all water related planning in the state. It is

pertinent that this State Water Policy be made a vital part of the state compre-

hensive plan. When the state planning agency, Department of Community Affairs,

revises its comprehensive plan, it Is essential that full consistency be attained

between the state's plan and its water policy. Water management districts, DER

and DCA planners will have to work in close cooperation in order to achieve that

goal. Further, we would also like to see an emergence of a generalized state land

use plan which is also cognizant of existing local and regional plans. All

policies and plans at the state level will have to be evaluated within the frame-

work of such a state land use plan. The water management districts will have to

face the challenge of preparing water management plans addressing drainage, water

use and water quality issues and pursuing the integration with the state land

use/comprehensive plan.

The decade of the '70's provided a golden opportunity in Florida for planning

and management of natural resources and sensitive environments. Much progress

has been achieved in growth management and protecting our natural systems; recent

passage of Save Our Coast and Save Our Rivers programs have further reinforced

our commitment in this regard. Nonetheless, there is a need for water management


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districts to proceed with extreme caution as future water management issues will

be more complex than they were in the past. In many regions of Florida, easily

developable land is being rapidly consumed by development and it is projected

that soon there will be a scarcity of land, especially in South Florida, that

is naturally suitable for development. At that time, we can anticipate tremendous

pressure from development Interests to encroach upon the "marginal and submarginal

lands" which are not naturally suitable for development since they carry moderate

to severe limitations for accommodating such uses. When such situations arise,

there is a need for related agencies at all levels to get together in preparing

stringent guidelines and performance standards for development so that water

resources and environmentally sensitive areas are not adversely impacted.

Overall, planning and management of land and water resources has to proceed

hand-in-hand in an integrated manner so that short term economic gains do not

result in long term degradation of environment and water resources. Nobody with

a sensible mind would want to see the ultimate degradation of the very environment

for which he/she chose to live in Florida.




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