ATTORNEYS AT LAW
215 SOUTH MONROE STREET. SUITE 500 MAILING ADDRESS:
TALLAHASSt. FLORIDA 32301-1866 POST OFFICE DRAWEK 190
TEL 904) 224-1S85 FAX (904) 220398 TALLAHASSEE, FL 32302-190
October 7, 1996
TO: Dan Stengle
FROM: Jake Varn JhL'
RE: Executive Order No. 96-297
Suggested Priority Issues
I appreciate being invited to the meeting on September 30,
1996 and being afforded the opportunity to comment on Executive
Order No. 96-297 and the suggested priority issues distributed at
the September 30th meeting.
With respect to the establishment (or more appropriately,
the non-establishment) of minimum flows and levels, under the
Model Water Code and Chapter 373, Florida Statutes, especially in
water shortage areas water use permits are to be conditioned in
such a way as to preserve minimum flows and levels. In my
opinion, without establishing minimum flows and levels in these
areas, a water management district cannot determine that a
proposed use is a "reasonable-beneficial use." Further, in those
areas of the State where water use is approaching the safe yield
of a water supply source, the water management districts should
not be approving long term permits for major water users. In
addition, in these areas the water management districts must
utilize a common expiration date in order to determine the
"reasonable-beneficial users." "Reasonable-beneficial use"
cannot be determined in isolation and all proposed users must be
evaluated at the same time if the water management districts are
to determine the "reasonable-beneficial uses."
With respect to the water supply planning by the water
management districts, what is the legal effect of these regional
water supply plans? The water management districts indicated
that these water supply plans are to be part of the district
water management plans. The legal status of these district water
management plans is questionable. The Governor's Task Force On
Land Use And Water Planning made several recommendations to
clarify the status of the district water management plans, but at
CARLTON, FIELDS. WARD. EMMANUEL. SMITH & CUTI.ER.. P.A.
f/Z'd I/-AMM ORLANDO PENSIACOLA (ALLAHASSKE CI~ tJM) i 1L *C" Q] l ayo_ wtoJS:70-7-iT 9& 1Q 130?
October 7, 1996
this time there is no statutory authority for such plans. If the
legal status of the district water management plans (and the
regional water supply plans) is not clarified, I have serious
doubts as to what is to be accomplished by the preparation of
these water supply plans.
In particular, I am concerned as to the following:
1. Is each of the regional water supply plans to be
adopted as a rule under Chapter 120, Florida Statutes?
2. May the water management district deny a water use
permit because it is inconsistent with the district's
regional water supply plan?
3. What if a district's regional water supply plan is
inconsistent with the Florida Water Plan? State Water
Policy? A strategic regional policy plan? A local
government comprehensive plan?
As to the foregoing issues, will the Office of the Governor
consider these issues as part of its efforts under Section 4 of
the Executive Order?
With respect to funding for water supply projects, at the
outset the critical questions are:
1. Are additional funding sources needed for water supply
2. If there is a consensus that additional funding is
needed, we must determine the range of funding
envisioned or required. The level of funding must be
known in order to identify potential funding sources.
In my opinion, we must have a dedicated, recurring
source of funding for water supply projects.
3. Depending on the funding sources, we must make
provision for getting the funding to the entities that
will be constructing the water supply facilities. In
addition to determining who is eligible for the
funding, do you want to impose any limitations on the
In summary, I am concerned that our current efforts are not
focused. It is not clear what the parties are attempting to do.
What is the purpose of having the water management districts
prepare a regional water supply plan? My concern is that the
GJM Qc131 NWOi~i3 WVtS:OT 96. ZO 130
October 7, 1996
water management districts will complete a regional water supply
plan that will go in the bookcase with all the other plans.
Please do not construe these comments to be negative. I
applaud you for the effort. However, we must deal with all of
these issues if you want to resolve the water supply problems we
face in various parts of the State.
GdUM a G3IJ WOida L'WOS:0T 96., 2 i DO