Water, Water Everywhere But ....
Wednesday, July 16, 1997, Marco Island
("Two Paragraphs" on needed future efforts)
Augmented Natural Aauifer Recharge
We all realize that Florida's growth, and its concurrent use of land, causes Increasing
amounts of impermeable surfaces such as rooftops and paved surfaces, plus the demand
for fast drainage of excess rainfall. All of this is detrimental to the replenishment of
groundwater which only takes place through rainfall finding its way Into the ground and
then to the shallow and deep aquifers that are Florida's lifegiving "natural storage" assets.
It is also not difficult for us to understand that we must ensure that sufficient deposits are
made if we expect to continue making withdrawals. Yet, up to now, few efforts have been
made to assist nature with recharge to protect the natural systems on the surface of the
earth and the constructed systems in the ground -- the tens of thousands of wells invested
in by six generations of Floridians.
We can generally agree that:
S water is a renewable resource,
S the state is blessed with large amounts of renewal resources through abundant
S groundwater is the major water supply source in the state (and the citizens
preferred choice of supply), and
S rainfall recharge is imperative to replenishment of groundwater.
Knowing this, and with the extensive human and economic advantages that we have, one
of our most important missions for the future must be:
Capture rainfall during storm events, and with passive treatment and
augmentation works, knowledgeably and extensively distribute and recharge
that water into our aquifers for storage to help sustain the natural systems on
the surface and the constructed groundwater extraction systems in the ground.
This work can, and should, be done by the water management districts. Chapter 373
supports the construction and operation of water resource management works by the
districts and the scientific, technological and financial resources are there. When
challenged to find ways to do this new and proactive water resource work, I believe the
districts will respond enthusiastically.
THOUGHTS ON WHAT FLORIDA MUST DO
ABOUT THE OVERALL WATER RESOURCE
AND WATER SUPPLY CHALLENGES.
IN FLORIDA WE ARE BLESSED WITH ABUNDANT RAINFALL. THE ANNUAL
AVERAGE IS IN EXCESS OF 50 INCHES AND FLORIDA RANKS AMONG THE HIGHEST
OF ALL OF OUR 50 STATES IN RAINFALL AMOUNT. IT IS HARD FOR THE GENERAL
PUBLIC TO TAKE SERIOUSLY THE WARNING OF WATER SHORTAGES AND WATER
CRISIS. WHATEVER THE BELIEFS WE DO FACE REAL SHORTAGES IN SOME AREAS
OF OUR STATE, SUCH AS THE PROBLEMS IN THE SWFWMD IN PASCO
HILLSBOROUGH AND PINELLAS COUNTIES. WE FACE THE PROSPECT OF MORE
PROBLEMS THROUGHOUT SOUTH AND CENTRAL FLORIDA IN THE NEAR FUTURE
IF WE DO NOT TAKE POSITIVE ACTION.
THE LEGISLATURE TOOK A POSITIVE STEP IN PASSING H.B. 715 DURING THE
LAST SESSION. THIS LEGISLATION IS DESIGNED TO PROVIDE GUIDANCE TO THE
DISTRICTS IN ADOPTING MINIMUM FLOWS AND LEVELS AND TO ALSO PROVIDE
GUIDANCE IN THE CREATION OF WATER RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT AND WATER
SUPPLY PLANS ALONG WITH THE CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PLANS TO ASSURE
IMPLEMENTATION. IT IS NOW THE TASK OF THE WATER USERS AND THE
LEGISLATURE TO SEE THAT THE LAW IS IMPLEMENTED BY THE DISTRICTS OR WE
WILL STILL BE FACED WITH ALLOCATION OF WATER BETWEEN USERS AND NO
MEANINGFUL DEVELOPMENT OF TRADITIONAL AND ALTERNATIVE SUPPLIES TO
MEET THE NEEDS OF ALL USERS INCLUDING THE NATURAL SYSTEMS.
IN LOOKING TO THE FUTURE I BELIEVE THAT FOR MANY YEARS TO COME
WE WILL BE FACING THE QUESTION OF HOW WILL WE PROVIDE FOR THE EVER
INCREASING WATER NEEDS OF OUR ECONOMY AND AT THE SAME TIME PROVIDE
FOR SUFFICIENT WATER TO SUSTAIN OUR NATURAL SYSTEMS AND TO RESTORE,
THEM WHERE APPROPRIATE.
I BELIEVE THAT SERIOUS THOUGHT AND DEBATE SHOULD TAKE PLACE ON
THE POSSIBILITY OF REFOCUSING THE MISSION OF THE DISTRICTS TO WATER
SUPPLY AND FLOOD CONTROL. AT PRESENT THE FLORIDA LEGISLATURE HAS
ADDED MANY PROGRAMS TO THEIR MISSIONS AND THAT HAS SERVED TO PUSH
WATER SUPPLY AND FLOOD CONTROL INTO THE BACKGROUND. WHY WOULD
OUR LEGISLATURE MAKE THESE CHANGES AND POSSIBLY DAMAGE OUR
ECONOMY AND INJURE OUR NATURAL SYSTEMS? I AM SURE THEY HAD NO
INTENT TO HARM THE EFFECTIVENESS OF THESE UNIQUE AGENCIES. I BELIEVE
THAT THE ANSWER LIES IN THE EASY FUNDING THAT THE LEGISLATURE COULD
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF IN THE FORM OF THE DISTRICTS ABILITY TO LEVY AD
VALOREM TAXES. A GOOD EXAMPLE ARE THE SWIM PROGRAMS. JUST LOOK AT
THE FUNDING OR LACK THEREOF FOR SWIM THAT HAS BEEN PROVIDED FROM
THE STATE. IT ALSO MIGHT BE THE APPROPRIATE TIME TO LOOK CAREFULLY AT
THE FUNDING METHOD THAT NOW EXISTS FOR WATER MANAGEMENT DISTRICTS.
HOPPING GREEN SAMS SMITH PA 4 4077408958
Legislation is needed to address two key issues relating to the ability of private utilities
to meet water resource requirements. First, utilities need to be able to fully recover the costs
of environmental compliance. Once a permit with its conditions is granted, or a consent order
issued, or rule requirements imposed on a utility, the ratemaldng authorities cannot be allowed
to "second guess' the need for the facilities necessary to comply. Rates must be set to recover
those costs -- and that does not mean allocating those costs into rates that may never be
Second, utilities need to be able to build plants and improvements in cost effective
increments, and recover all the costs associated with that investment. This issue, known as the
"used and useful" means of investment, is critical to water supply development. Current
limitations on investment are not only an economic disincentive (actually a barrier) to achieving
economics of scale, but is inconsistent with the environmental agencies construction process
which look at least 5 years ahead.
Utilities must receive the correct economic signals and not be caught in the middle
between their environmental and economic regulators. Without such signals, the chances of
having water resources in place when needed are greatly diminished.
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