ATTORNEYS AT LAW
215 SOUTH MONROE STREET SUITE 500 4 e 1a
TALLAHASSEE. FLORIDA 32301-1866 OST OFFICE O EJDO
TEL (904) 224-1585 FAX (904) 222-0398 U M" 'gLW
September 17, 1996
TO: Dan Stengle VIA TELECOPY
Estus Whitfield 0
FROM: Jake Varn P O
RE: Proposed Executive Order on Water
I appreciate being invited to the meeting you conducted on
Thursday, September 12, 1996, and having the opportunity to
comment on the proposed Executive Order.
While I know that there will be additional language, such as
"whereas" clauses, added and the additional language will add to
the tenor of the Executive Order, I would urge that this
Executive Order state that the purpose of this effort is to
ensure that an adequate, dependable and cost-effective supply of
water is available to meet the reasonable-beneficial needs of all
the citizens and business in the State of Florida. In my
opinion, this effort needs to take a positive approach, such as
the one I have suggested. As proposed, the Executive Order
appears to place an emphasis on the "negative approach." For
example, the first element in the Executive Order is dealing with
"Minimum Flows and Levels." If this is the first issue, it will
be perceived as the most important. Also, the first thing that
comes to mind is that the priority is on limiting the amount of
water that is available.
Having participated in a number of exercises on this issue,
these prior exercises have failed because people thought there
was going to be less water (i.e. a water shortage) and everyone
started positioning themselves to protect what they had. With a
limited supply of water, competing users start fighting from the
outset and no progress is made. The State needs to have a plan
to meet all the reasonable-beneficial needs. In other words,
there will be enough water for everybody. Part of determining
what is a "reasonable-beneficial" use requires the water
management districts to determine how much water can be withdrawn
(from ground water and surface water sources) without harming the
resource or other users. Thus, establishing minium flows and
levels is part of the process, but it is not the most important
or the ultimate objective.
CAILR I. N, FII. I. W AR). EMMANUIE I. SMII I & CUTILI P.A.
I ,\AM I' I AN I ) I' N \At >1 A I \ IIAHA111 I W I I I'\l B II I I'I I I Ilt .
September 17, 1996
Another difficulty I have with the proposed Executive Order
is that it makes arbitrary and artificial distinctions or
divisions. For example, how can you separate "water supply
planning" from "water supply development and funding?" These
issues are inter-related and must be dealt with at the same time.
The regional water supply plan is to identify "economically
feasible" water supply options. I really question how far the
water management districts can go in preparing a regional water
supply plan when another unit of government (usually local
government) is the ultimate decision-maker as to what sources of
water it will utilize and as part of that process determines
whether it considers the source to be "economically feasible."
There is a limit as to how far the water management districts can
go with the regional water supply plans. At a certain point in
time the water user (usually the local government) must determine
which source it wants to utilize. A water management district
does not have the statutory authority to force a local government
to use a particular source for water supply. Where does the
regional water supply plan end and water supply development and
funding begin? There is no bright line between these efforts.
I would also urge that the Executive Order emphasize that
solutions should be sought at the regional level. The problems
and solutions vary from region to region. One solution,
especially a statewide approach, will not solve all the problems.
The proposed solutions should recognize and work within the
existing framework of DEP and the water management districts.
Numerous options should be available and each region could select
the options best suited for that region.
Should you care to discuss this matter further, please call.