Title: Varn Calls for More Local Control in Water Isssues
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/WL00004953/00001
 Material Information
Title: Varn Calls for More Local Control in Water Isssues
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Publisher: Suncoast News Weekly - New Port Richey, Jan 24, 1996
 Subjects
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida
 Notes
Abstract: Jake Varn Collection - Varn Calls for More Local Control in Water Isssues (JDV Box 39)
General Note: Box 29, Folder 10 ( 1996 Water - Miscellaneous - 1996 ), Item 15
Funding: Digitized by the Legal Technology Institute in the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: WL00004953
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.

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RECEIVED


/ ;f (19 %
varton Fields Talahassee
WEEKLY- 500,000
NEW PORT RICHEY
JAN 24 B6

Varn calls for

more local control

in water issues
BY ROGER WFiDFNHOF
SUNCOAST NEWS STAFF
NEW PORT RICHEY-It was as refreshing
as a glass of cool, clear water to hear an
overview of the region's water dilemmas as Jake
Varn delivered the keynote address at the West
Pasco Chamber of Commerce's Business
Development Week luncheon on Tuesday.
A packed Spartan Manor heard Varn, a
Tallahassee-based attorney who has previously
held several high-level state posts.
Born and raised in Brooksville,Varn said he
remembered coming down to New Port Richey
for high school basketball games played on out-
door courts where a "guy in a bathing suit" stood
by to retrieve the ball if it went in the river
"I know my graduating class of fifty-two stu-
dents at Hernando High was larger than that of
Gulf's," Varn said of the class of 1960. 'Things
have changed."
Don't expect the Legislature to resolve the
complex water issues facing West Pasco and the
rest of the state, Varn told the luncheon crowd.
"Pasco is just like Florida-the most heavily
populated areas are on the coast," Varn ex-
plained.
He said the subterranean Floridan Aquifer,
the source of much of the region's drinking wa-
ter, is a "bubble" of fresh water surrounded on
all sides by salt water and that Pinellas County,
for example, long ago pumped dry all of the
available ground water and started pumping
from and eventually drying up the well fields in
Northwest Hillsborough County.
He likened the Pasco ground water situation
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to "someone sticking a big straw
in the ground and sucking." The
effect this has is to dry up lakes
and streams on the surface and
shrink the underground sources.
"We've been dealing with wa-
ter problems in Florida on a cri-
sis by crisis basis," Varn said.
"The original purpose of the
Southwest Florida Water.
Management District was to deal
with too much water."
He said the hurricanes of 1959
and 1960 caused the district to be
formed and for the Masaryktown
canal, running from South


Central Hernando into Pasco
County and into Crews Lake, to
keep flood waters at safe levels.
Now, SWFWMD has too many
responsibilities and should be
limited to protecting the area's
water resources as Chapter 373,
of the Florida Statutes originally
called for, Varn said.
Leaving the district in charge
of supplying water would be like
leaving the fox in charge of the
hen house," Varn said.
Varn said local governments
should have more of a say in reg-
ulating their own water supplies
because they are more respon-
sive and could be "made or bro-
ken" by how they manage their
water resources.


He said water decisions at the
state level should be made by an
agency with appointed officials to
keep special interest groups fom
lobbying legislators.
'The last thing we need is
elected officials in the water dis-
trict, Varn said. "And what prob-
lem has the State Legislature
ever solved?"
He drew a parallel between
Florida school systems and water
issues.
"Whenever we had problems
with kids, we expected the school
systems to handle them. And


they forgot what their goal in life
was-to educate our young peo-
ple," Varn said. SWFWMD is now
in the same position, Varn de-
dared.
He predicted the water dis-
trict officials will be held ac-
countable more in the future for
their budgets and some cuts
might be used to fund projects
such as a desalination plant for
Pin
Varn said the business com-
munity needs to take a more ac-
tive role in local government.
"We've lost our sense of com-


munity," Varn said. "We're preoc-
cupied with our own problems,
but folks, we are the government.
If we want to place the blame, we
need to look in the mirror. We are
doomed to failure if we continue
to travel down this path."
Varn spoke at the kickoff lun-
cheon for Business Development
Week which continues through
Friday. For information about
seminars and other events, call
the week's sponsor, the West
Pasco Chamber of Commerce at
842-7651.




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