i j FIRST DR"FT
WATER REGULATORY AUTHORITY
1. Section 373.016(2), Florida Statutes, declares it to be the
policy of the Legislature to "promote the conservation, devel-
opment, and proper utilization of surface and ground water"
but also to "prevent damage from floods, soil erosion, and
excessive drainage" as well as, among other things, to
"preserve natural resources, fish and wildlife."
2. Section 373.223(1), Florida Statutes, requires that "to obtain
a Consumptive ustQ permit... the applicant'must establish
that the proposed use of water: (a) is a reasonable
beneficial use... (b) will not interfere with any presently
existing legal use of water; and (c) is consistent with the
Subsection (3) provides that the governing board "may reserve
from use by permit applicants, water in such locations and
quantities, and for such seasons of the year, as in its
judgement may be required for the protection of fish and
wildlife or the public health and safety.... However, all
presently existing legal uses of water shall be protected
so long as such use is not contrary to the public interest."
0 3. Section 373.219(1), Florida Statutes, provides that the
governing board "may impose such reasonable conditions as are
necessary to assure that such use is consistent with the
overall objectives of the district.., and is not harmful to
the water resources of the area.... (and that] no permit
shall be required for domestic consumption of water by
4. Section 373.019(5), Florida Statutes, states that "'reasonable
beneficial use' means the use of water in such quantity as
is necessary for economic and efficient utilization for a
purpose and in a manner which is both reasonable and consis-
tent with the public interest."
5. Section 373.042, Florida Statutes, provides that "the water
management district as a whole, the department or the governing
board shall establish... minimum flow for all surface water
courses in the area.... Cand] ... minimum water levelLCs...
Cfoir ... ground water ....." and that "the governing board
shall also consider, and at their discretion may provide
for, the protection of nonconsumptive uses in the establishment.
of minimum flows and levels."
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APPLICATION I %&WFWMD: .
Unfortunately, the "public interest" has hot been defined
by the legislature or specific ally addressed by the courts
in this state insofar as.it r lates to use of water.
The primary problem is to det rmine just how much water may
be consumptively used in the dist ict, and still be consistent
with the public interest and not interfere with any presently
existing legal use of water.
It is necessary to determine the effect of removing water
through consumptive use. SWFWMD has been wrestling with this
for almost 15 years, and has made substantial progress.
The scientific staff, together with USGS, consulting firms,
and others have developed techniques which have proved to be
quite reliable in calculating predictable results from with-
drawals of varying quantities of water.
Obviously, these calculations must be based upon an accurate
determination of aquifer characteristics and an assumed amount
of precipitation over an extended period of time. These
factors vary throughout the district and are measured through
the use of pump tests.
To determine the amount of water available in the district,
the water crop concept has been developed. It is now an ac-
cepted fact that peninsular Florida receives no water from
north Florida. There is a hydrologic divide extending across
the state just south of Gainesville and no water flows south
across that line, leaving rainfall as the only source of
Thae amount of water available on a continuing basis has been
designated as the water crop or water budget. In its simplest
terms," water crop (WC) is defined to be the amount of rainfall
(precipitation, P) minus the amount of evaporation and plant
usage (e totran pi'rati, t). A study done by the USGS
in the mid-1960's formed the basis for the numerical values
attributed to water crop. To date, no subsequent studies
have refuted these values as averages over the entire district.
The current valuation of the water available over the entire
District, as defined by the water crop method (WC = P Et),
is 1,000 gallons per day per acre, or approximately 13h
inches of water per year.
The evapotranspiration within the District has been determined
to be approximately 39 inches per year and the average annual
rainfall ranges between 50 and 55 inches. Therefore, the
water available over the entire district as defined by the
water crop method (P Et =WC) is 11 to 16 inches, say 133
inches of water per year, or approximately 1,000 gallons
per day per acre.
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