Title: Southwest Florida Water Management District - Recommendatiions
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/WL00004939/00001
 Material Information
Title: Southwest Florida Water Management District - Recommendatiions
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida
Abstract: Jake Varn Collection - Southwest Florida Water Management District - Recommendatiions (JDV Box 39)
General Note: Box 29, Folder 10 ( 1996 Water - Miscellaneous - 1996 ), Item 1
Funding: Digitized by the Legal Technology Institute in the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: WL00004939
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



OFFICE TEL:1-904-488-7093

Department of

Environmental Protection

Marjory Stoneman Douglas Building
3900 Commonwealdi Boulevard
Tallahassee. Florida 32399-3000

Virginia B. Wetherell


Telephone #904/488-7454 (SC 278-7454)
Fax #904/488-7093 (SC 278-7093)

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"Protcc, Conserve and Manage Florda's Environment and Natural Resources"

Prined aon recycled paper.

Lawton Chiles


FAX #:



-- --


Mar 29 96

9:40 No.001 P.01

DEP-SECRETRY'S OFFICE TEL:1-904-488-7093 Mar 29 96 9:40 No.001 P.02


officee of the Getberor

Mr. Joe L. Davis
Southwest Florida Water Management District
PO Box 1149
Wauchula, FL 33873


Over the past 2 years, as the debate over water has escalated, the
Governor's Office, DEP and Water Management Districts have worked closely
together, through the Water Resources Coordination Commission. I appreciate
your cooperation in this joint effort.

As the 1996 legislative session begins, all of us are being asked for
recommendations. Although some difference in perspective is natural, it is
important that our positions on the central issues be set forth clearly and
consistently. That is the purpose of this letter.

As everyone realizes, there are gaps in our statutory system. The
underlying problem, however,,is the failure to fully exercise existing authority in
order to fully implement the statutes. Thus, although we support thorough
review and strengthening of the statutes, we have an obligation and the ability,
through aggressive coordination and supervision, to make the existing system

First and foremost, we must maintain our system of water law. Florida
water law is founded on the principle that water is a state resource; it belongs to
the public. Any policies or actions to the contrary erode Florida water law. We
are very concerned that current efforts to promote reallocation of water uses and
issuance of long-term permits for traditional sources of water will move us
toward a system of prior appropriation, which we oppose, and away from our
reasonable-beneficial use system. Reallocation of water uses may be appropriate
under very limited conditions where uses must be transferred out of water
caution areas to achieve long-term restoration goals. However, safeguards must
be in place to prevent this narrowly applied management strategy from
encouraging a water market and resulting in a prior appropriation system.


- -

Current statutes contain comprehensive systems for both land use
planning and water use and development. Unfortunately, however, these
systems have not been coordinated. Assessment of water needs and sources and
identification of ways to provide for future potable water are required in local
government comprehensive plans. These requirements of the Growth
Management Act cannot be implemented, however, until Water Management
Districts provide local governments with scientific data regarding needs and
sources, and more specifically, minimum flows and levels necessary to maintain
the functions of rivers, lakes, wetlands and aquifers.

I know you have made great progress on compiling data on needs and
sources, as well as initial work on minimum flows and levels. This must be
accelerated, even if resources have to be shifted. In addition, you must expand
your efforts to assist local governments in applying and understanding the
policy implications of this technical information. Each Water Management
District should accelerate the organization of joint technical task forces with local
governments. Public and private water and sewage utilities should be included.

To assure the linkage of water use and development with Comprehensive
Land Use Planning, and to provide a more comprehensive effort to coordinate
and communicate regarding water resource issues, the WRCC should include at
each meeting the participation of the Department of Community Affairs, the
Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission, the Department of Agriculture and
Consumer Services, and the Public Service Commission.

It should be presumed that needs and sources determinations by water
management districts constitutes the best available data. Therefore, local
governments and regional water supply authorities should not be allowed to
ignore or contradict needs and sources determinations by water management
districts, unless they rebut the presumption that the district has presented the
best available data. In the event of disagreement, appeals should be heard by the
Governor and Cabinet. Additionally, local governments and regional water
supply authorities should not be allowed to establish well fields, or withdraw
water from other local governments' jurisdictions without first maximizing the
use of local sources. This is clearly an area where statutory clarification is

The current debate on minimum flows and levels is at the heart of the
effort to link water and land use planning. Therefore, let me state clearly the
position of the Governor's Office:

Mar 29 96

9:41 No.001 P.03

"DEP-SECRETRY'S OFFICE TEL:1-904-488-7093 Mar 29 96 9:41 No.001 P.04


1. The establishment of minimum flows and levels is a very important tool in
protecting and managing water resources, and providing for a sustainable
Florida. They are integral to water resources planning, land use planning,
and decision making.

2. Minimum flows and levels must be based on sound science using best
available data. It is our position that establishing minimum flows and
levels is based solely on the scientific criteria of the viability and
sustainability of the resource. It is a floor number, below which
significant harm to the resource could be anticipated. Minimum flows
and levels should be re-evaluated periodically and revised when

3. Governing boards must expedite the establishment of minimum flows
and levels for priority water resource areas, with guidance from the
Legislature, the department, and the public on what the priorities should
be. In order to formalize and expedite the timelines for this work, I
propose that the next two quarterly meetings of the WRCC be devoted to
this issue. Each district should submit preliminary recommendations for
priorities for discussion at the first meeting, in sufficient detail to show
proposed starting and conclusion dates for each priority study. Priority
water resources in water caution areas, and areas of stress such as Pasco,
Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties shall be in the first year's schedule.
Final plans should be approved by the governing boards prior to the
second meeting. Districts should also work on a way to coordinate with
each other to achieve consistency in scientific methodology.

4. In budget and planning considerations, districts should reallocate
resources to expedite establishment of minimum flows and levels for
priority water bodies, rather than spreading resources thinly over the
entire state. The intention is to complete the task by the end of fiscal year

I appreciate the difficulty of your task, as well as your dedication to
carrying out your responsibilities in positive and meaningful ways. Let us
continue to work together for a sustainable Florida.


Buddy MacKay

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