Title: Part of Section 7, Section 8: Positive Water Management-Crux of the Problem
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/WL00002193/00001
 Material Information
Title: Part of Section 7, Section 8: Positive Water Management-Crux of the Problem
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida
Abstract: Part of Section 7, Section 8: Positive Water Management-Crux of the Problem
General Note: Box 10, Folder 7 ( Unknown - 1979-1980 ), Item 12
Funding: Digitized by the Legal Technology Institute in the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.
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Bibliographic ID: WL00002193
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

The results of 97 responses received within the time limit established
for the survey are in Table 7-4 at the end of this section. Table 7-1 compares
the actual well field or water resource.area in acres owned or controlled by
each system (column 2) with that required by the water crop concept in acres
(column 4). Some systems show zero acres for well fields. This is because
their wells are along rights-of-way of streets, parks, golf courses, and other
municipal facilities, which are not mainly dedicated to water supply.

Of the 97 systems inventoried not a single one complies with the water
crop regulation in its strict interpretation. This actually means that of
those systems (including the largest ones in the state) none could presently
obtain a consumptive use permit if the water crop regulation was strictly
applied. The city of Fort Lauderdale (No. 29 on Table 7-1) would require
46,410 acres for well fields, while it actually has only 32.3 acres. The city
Sof Miami (No. 59: Miami-Dade Water & Sewer Authority) would require 187,700
acres, while it actually has only 540 acres. '

iA more relaxed interpretationof the water crop regulation is to consi
as "otAerwise controlled by applicant" the entire area served or to be served
by. the system. prowided it is on the mainland. This interpretation is used
entirely at the discretion of the Board of SWFWMD and is applied in some cases
and not in others. Areas on keys, islands, and beyond the Intracoastal Waterway
are iut considered as a part of the total service area, within this application
of the water crop regulation.

This relaxation in the interpretation of the water crop concept makes "
easier for the applicant to obtain a consumptive use permit. However, in oIr ~t
opinion, this relaxation has serious legal ramifications. That is, if the
entire service area is considered as "otherwise controlled by the applicant,"
then owners within the area would have to surrender the "alleged right" of
' their water crop allotment. If they do so, we cannot foresee how those owners
could have their own individual wells for lawn irrigation, cooling, self-
supplied industry, or whatever other consumptive use they may desire or
actually have under operation, without exceeding the water crop in the service

Even when the service area on the mainland is included in the more
relaxed interpretation, there are 11 systems of those inventoried which do not
Meet the area requirements, considering the average flow for the past year.
These systems are shown on Table 7-2. Included in the group are two of the
Largest systems in the state: No. 29, Fort Lauderdale and No. 59, Miami-Dade
Water and Sewer Authority.

Table 7-3 includes 10 additional systems whose service areas are within
20 percent of the water crop requirements, considering last year's water
Production. This means that those ten systems could not ever produce more
than a maximum of 20 percent over what they produced last year, even if the
relaxed interpretation is applied.

The difference between the service area on the mainland (in square miles)
and that required by the relaxed interpretation of the water crop regulation
can be noted by comparing columns 3 and 5 of Tables 7-2 and 7-3.



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In general, the requirements for well fields owned or leased by the
responding water systems range from less than 1 percent to 25 percent of the
water crop requirements; while their service areas on the mainland range from
10 to 230 percent. The.-dditional requirements. to, ge. the.Woter crop -wTd
fierce Fe ki4's.,waste.r wteeiia tQ purchase or c.. Wlemp e Q w a titiqs of land.
fwe dtilthMenl wel .fiels, or .the alleged water rights n -ttt service. area. os
i.4sh Th4u hI be. very. wer.ioP burden econoomially to those systems- atd
their users, most of them citizens of Florida.

Another significant issue regarding the relaxed interpretation of the
water.. pp rega4etion -is tat t t excludes those portions of tU-ds~ 0peh4rrea
not on the mainland, such as keys&. islands, and areas beyond Lthe Iatraestal
Witrwey. These areas include many of the state's urbanized or potential urban
communities. In order for these people to obtain water under the new regu-
lations, they would have to acquire water rights to large tracts of land on t
mainland, or make water supply arrangements with mainland communities that
would in turn acquire these additional water rights. A aseirmsidet'of~ lolida,
thM eaw~~pe e shItld have an equal right to water as those persons f ving orf the
otwaM'ui-- '





g~-- -I ---- --~---~ -- 6 r

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Full benefit of Florida's water resources can only be realized if positive
management is exercised by those regulatory agencies charged with the responsi-
bility of managing our water resources. Failure to exercise positive manage-
ment will lead to under-utilization of these renewable resources, with conse-
quent increase in cost to the general public. With the current rapidly
increasing costs in most sectors of the economy, the pursuit of a management
policy that promotes substantial and unnecessary higher costs for water
development and supply is questionable. It is, therefore, appropriate to ask,
"What is positive management?"

Positive waer resources management .my be de4aed as the making of sfnd
decisio.ns-tA emerge rtwrsarfbl1e- cOservatfln- and use of existl q water
: seawuw ^Msadk- s ..& $man.#towe su9p ies&. ta .auchi a ft p*&- madeis -ze
tLt"a- we*s-inWl s-h -v4inrS taI uests aiiIe raoat qitab.aistribution
of ssilab3 e w4er- s9t.4es... mhea.based pow~ semed admjcda- atioemr and
econQ ig.d Uise.-. seK .decisions will tend t ci ev cfePep4iumw etWt rattorr of of
; F e4r4"' s wate* rmeirrfes.


The cofttrol of water in .Florida has eomrged as a growth control tobl.
Consequently, political considerations have substantially increased their
significance in the water resource decision-making process. In our opinion,
technical considerations have often weighed insignificantly in this process. tcs .
The mesult4 iasbe4- trent rn*twd regulatory decisions nt6Ciorstent with 242 c
opt9mum tfitizzeten of Flor4da's water resw&rces. As the power of regulatory -
agencies to manage our water resources increases, the consequences of such rp
decisions become more significant, resulting in rapidly mounting cost to the
people of Florida.

State regulatory agencies have apparently elected to implement, by ain-
istrative procedures, an interpretation of the 1972 Water Resources Act whi,
in effect, focuses the thrust of water resources management practice in
Florida upon the use of water as a growth control tool. By limiting, and some-
times reducing, utilization of available water supplies by growth areas, over-
conservation of these supplies has resulted and growth has been temporarily
restrained. In certain areas they have overlooked the fact that growth in Florida
will continue, and that it must be carefully planned and provided for, years in
advance. We believe that these.agencies are not promoting optimum utilization of

I 8-1 130

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Florida's water resources, and are inadvertently introducing a level of
distortion into the public and private long-range decision-making process.
This distortion is based upon a shortage of water supply created by administra-
tive regulations, rather than from inadequate resources.

By ceatrast ptWibewe water resources management would result in strmui"-
taneeos eptimuw wtii at.ion of avai labie water resources and paae* t .for new
sourcesoof water, wit e.quitUble distribution of ava44&abe supplies &nd costs.
T biS4 _axppesh awtMd aciiae seai ipus cos t, to-4e -coInmer- e wMa 4 aemsourage
reoss u, eeap wavn- of water.-end envirmenstal prtactie n s jastif.ied4.y
tWIe-t fncrea ijA coit of supplying water frusms re distant sources.

The interpretation of existing law by which water may be used as a growth
control tool centers around the issue of "reasonable use." sAW.cIwaterPuns rs 4t .
.pe M for W-ua peiews, pmpWted-entr that weas ete darivea ptlfrf mIy 'Sm aC s
useIhIgma uir adie opfrty. In recefl ye r adveNri et s mtiiun 4u >
)aI&*4ehainIagiM aje *have e d. to. deoa t f Wyr.efg tetfl p'et4t$ng
for benerwafuf165.fakse ow f wuter, senasi teSkt Atb fUb 4 l We Aitemsmah
The 1972 Water Resources Act represents the most recent landmark in the devel-
opment of such legislation. Under the provisions of the act, one interpretation
is that a proposed use of water should be balanced against the need for that I
water by other users, in order to determine the most reasonable, beneficial se.
abfWhrwtetev, ePtt A bistrpreuWtionw af, 4M ra 4b frnep4Pe tr fne S --cr I
water wase-for wl r pMa-pefte arenas -to e a --eabMle WMe 3iMP -o Cr'
sistis or PseesFt&fe d ettere use4-f r4 tWiterl.sg j 4*-U. r*iSniawwe 4 'v-ncq r
w aterpitaea.htt-err t $ftterpretttein of the law 4 f*4aaN r eaune fin
mwst f tOafrpeprF t.,wIEe flt t right twaeu.MowMb-e a64. mb.m e sn-er A i
raMsei t f l -right. to -the tiadowers 1olf rnft wtemry us. L as
use or se6a it as'they with. .I

Rules and regulations for management of surface and groundwaters have
been adopted, or are in process of adoption, for each of Florida's water
management districts created by the 1972 Water Resources Act. Each of the
adopted rules is different, reflecting variations in hydrologic characteristics
of the area and differing philosophical and political approaches to water
management. Common to each-approach, whether spelled out in the rules or
incorporated into their implementation, is the utilization of the "water crop"
concept, which relates water allocation to land ownership. Other criteria are
also spelled out or utilized, some of which are designed to protect the water
resource and others to protect adjacent landowners from excessive drawdowns or
adverse effects caused by water production. Many of these criteria are
arbitrary and represent an attempt to define indicators which, when exceeded,
are.assumed to result in unacceptable adverse effects.


These rules and regulations provide the governing boards with'wide
latitude to select those-iriteria which they deem pertiwnt to each
iad4vidual case. Unfortunately, experience to date suggests that, with this
latitude-and with the current frequent interpretation of "reasonable use"
4dia;ssed above, water management decisions are increasingly reflecting ae
attempt to control growth.by limiting utilization of available water
resources to levels below those which the resource can safely supply.
Such decisions will cost the people of Florida substantial sums of money
for acquiring additional land or "water rights," building new sources,
new pipelines, pumping stations, and related facilities to.supply








the balance of the demand not covered by the application of the water crop and
other criteria to existing or proposed fields. Positive water management would
avoid these unnecessary costs.

The application of administrative rule to relate water use to water
rights associated with land ownership will require the public purchase of
"water rights" from the landowner for water pumped from the aquifer under his
land. In essence, the public is being asked to purchase the recharge capability
of the owner's land.


Better alternatives to existing management practices are available,
all of which require an understanding of Florida's water resources and
associated problems. ibe s 0aba prs mfln~L. a e oprc. : S EwS4 ns~ d the
prnmet .Ma .b- -'sew eb nr cof 4teety -srsimpi-st-im l t ha t
undj ^^w'at^^^^b/"^^W &4'Wl t -r j, t-WNr wv ufn-i W l'flyaep' WI*4 his
atrtaeheaet Ieti mputma t oginan t sodect'soos t4t, 4# *r e pute are .ifre-
qena ty e t*4the pIM tr-+ttereit.

The amount of water available to a water user in any given area is
established by the consumptive use permit process. Each consumptive use permit
should be issued according tto certain criteria, many of which are set forth in
the 1972 Water Resources Act. The intended use should: (1) be a reasonably
beneficial use; (2) not interfere with any presently existing legal use;
(3) not harm the resource; (4) not cause significant adverse effects upon the
environment; and (5) be consistent with the public interest.

Based upon these criteria, a reasoab e *e lpnuwwi uemmu Mgenmt approach
can hbe. 4dwIapoeS tM &.rrG ow ss th jeagemfs SaSeiSiStMith wcu;t
mafgigamb pfaltimes. Thejmi eaAp 4ht*M tB4, &eMeeJi Ow&eraJ
canifiecen^ *

1. Theaster crop conepte wmld be uttind vnly as an eerPell indicator
of tW! v'at ila&tilIty it large are with reasonably well defined
hydrological boundaries, such as a basin, and should not be applied to
each individual permit.

2. When water emand approaches availability witUin a basin. the
management authority would evaluate all technical and related
considerations, and would allocate water between competing users
based upon a reasonable, beneficial use, consistent with the public
interest. This would be based on the concept that the water
resources of the state are held in public trust to serve the best
interest of all the people of Florida. .In every case, there..,wquld be.,,
pro4-oions for positi-e measures by the wateriusers,, d&srnedtto
a44eviate adverse effects upon srwrrouming prwopety. attributfl e
towater production. Such measures woeid be an integral part of
the galUseale and meanagewtn _ecis4 e* regarding the reasonableness
of proposed water uses.

8-3 132


For instance, a major well field supplying water for several thousand
people quite often causes lower groundwater levels and sometimes lower lake
levels and ecosystem changes on surrounding lands, particularly during dry
weather periods. To reduce production at such a well field to a level consis-
tent with the water crop on well field property or service area would almost
certainly alleviate these adverse effects, but at tremendous cost to develop
alternate water sources.

Reducing well field production to a level greater than the water crop that
still alleviates the adverse effects on adjacent land would ultimately require a
greater number of well fields to supply a given demand for water. By constructing
more well fields and associated pipelines and treatment facilities, 'the cost of
water to the consumer increases substantially.

A thtrd alternative would be to provide for positive measures by the well
field user to alleviate significant adverse effects on surrounding property, to
the extent that adverse effects are caused by well field production. Adjacent
wells can be deepened and pump modifications can be made; small control struc-
tures can be provided on nearby lakes to retain storm runoff; wells can be
drilled to augment lake levels; water can be diverted from the well field to
maintain a high water table in critical areas; and other innovative measures
can be implemented to alleviate adjacent adverse effects. Experience has
shown that this type of approach is generally far less costly than either of
the previous two alternative approaches. In the event that such measures are
not feasible or become too costly, the well field owner will find it more e
economical to build a new well field or to acquire more adjacent land.

In the typical case, all three of these alternatives may be.consistent *U4
with protection of the resource and the environment againstt adverse effects. M,
However, the first alternative will definitely lead to significant under-
utilization of the resource, and. maximum total cost to all water 4 4s* The
second alternative may lead to under-utilization and consequent increased cost,
depending upon the constraints imposed. Only the. third approach achieves
optimum resource utilization at minimum cost, and should therefore be considered
reasonable and in the public interest.

The third approach is typical of positive water management. It requires
understanding of the problem, careful evaluation of the alternatives, and a
management decision based upon sound hydrologic principles.

Many of Florida's current water shortage problems are in our opinion a
shortage of positive water management. Use of innovative management tools such
as those discussed above, combined with hydrologically sound, long-range
planning for water supplies, can resolve many of our current problems and
provide for future water demands, thereby achieving full utilization of the
resource at minimum cost to the people of Florida.

Many other management tools are available. Improved drainage practices
would provide the necessary flood protection for some developed areas while
maintaining higher groundwater levels, thereby increasing water supplies in
storage. Implementation of constraints upon building or rebuilding in flood-
prone areas will ultimately provide greater flexibility to water management
authorities to maintain more water in ground storage. Due consideration should




be given to the increase in the regional water availability resulting from
evapotranspiration reduction caused by groundwater withdrawals. Storage of
storm runoff in conservation areas and in Lake Okeechobee would also increase
water availability. Underground storage of storm runoff in aquifers could
facilitate subsequent reuse during dry weather periods to maintain aquifer
levels. Artificial recharge or additional substantial storage with minimum
free surfaces exposed to the atmosphere can significantly increase available
water. Adequately treated effluent from wastewater facilities will sdon be used
to irrigate golf courses, public parks, and median strips in the city of St.
Petersburg, thereby significantly reducing .municipal demand for potable water
supplies. Similarly, adequately treated effluent can possibly be utilized to
create saltwater intrusion barriers in saline, coastal aquifers. All of these
alternatives cost money, and yet as the cost of other sources of water increases,
these become viable, cost-effective alternatives. Positive water management
will ensure that each is evaluated against the true cost of optimum utilization
of all existing water resources.

The state must clarify the desired objective of reasonable, beneficial
use of this renewable resource consistent with the interest of all the people
of Florida. Such clarification should also provide a management framework
designed to achieve this objective through decisions based primarily upon
souid technical evaluation, as well as full consideration of legal, political,
economic, and other related criteria.

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