Title: Letter: Water Element, State Comprehensive Plan attachment: Staff Comments
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/WL00002516/00001
 Material Information
Title: Letter: Water Element, State Comprehensive Plan attachment: Staff Comments
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida
Abstract: Letter: Water Element, State Comprehensive Plan attachment: Staff Comments, To: Wallace Henderson From: Derrill McAteer, Nov 1, 1977
General Note: Box 10, Folder 21 ( SF Water Use Plan, State-Water Element - 1977-78 and 1985 ), Item 18
Funding: Digitized by the Legal Technology Institute in the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.
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Bibliographic ID: WL00002516
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
4 hi I I A11

wrest loidda
SWater anagernLent Distriot
PHONE (904) 796-7211

SDERRILL McATEER, Chairmr n Broouville N. BROOKS JOHNS, Lakeland HELEN THOMPSON, St. Petersburg
THOMAS VAN DER VEER Secretary. Yankeetown NICK TENDER, Tampa
S C. BEXLEY, Treasurer, Land O'Lake GEORGE RUPPEL, Clearwater Donald R. Feaster, Executive Director

November 1, 1977

Mr. Wallace W. Henderson, Assistant Secretary
Department of Administration
Room 530, Carlton Building
Tallahassee, Florida 32304

RE: Water Element, State Comprehensive Plan

Dear Mr. Henderson:

The Southwest Florida Water Management District has participated in
meetings of the Policy Advisory Council (PAC) as requested by the
Lieutenant Governor and appreciates the opportunity to provide input
toward development of the Water Element of the State Comprehensive Plan.
We are concerned, however, that development of this important document
is being unduly .rushed toward completion in an effort to have it approved
by the Governor and put before the Legislature by next spring.

The Southwest Florida Water Management District-is very much concerned
about the current draft of the Water Element prepared by. the Division of
State Planning (DSP) as the foremost guide to the future of this state
as it relates to water resources.

Originally, it was our understanding that the five portions of the State
Water Use Plan being developed by the five water management districts
plus the water quality aspects to be developed by the Department of
Environmental Regulation (DER) in coordination with the Division of
State Planning (DSP) would provide the initial basis for. the Water
Element. As it now appears, a Water Element is being promulgated
separately and independently, and probably will be completed before the
State Water Use Plan. The time and effort required by the involved
agencies seems to us a significant duplication of effort.
We feel the Water Element would be a better document if we went back to
the original proposal to use the State Water Use Plan. It will be based
upon a sound, well-documented data base, put together by staffs intimately
familiar with local resources and problems and shaped by the Boards who
face the many complex and critical water resource problems on a day-by-
day, region-by-region basis.

Si L J 1, _. I 1Al 'l I

Mr. Wallace W. Henderson
Page Two
November 1, 1977

It also seems that many of the issues being discussed by the Policy
Advisory Council have been- included in other elements of the Compre-
hensive Plan which have already been approved by the Governor and
further consideration by the PAC would be either unnecessary or would
result in conflicting policy which the Governor would be obliged to

Because many of the issues with which we were very concerned have
already been approved by the Governor and because. we have serious
questions about a number of the remaining policies now being presented
to the public via meetings around the state, the Governing Board respect-
fully requests that you reconsider and defer presentation of the Water
Element until the State Water Use Plan has been completed. A list of
specific policies and issues contained in the current draft that deeply
concern us ts attached for your review.

We are concerned the policies adopted by the PAC.will be attributed to
the Governing Board of the Southwest Florida Water Management District
because of the District's membership and participation on the Council
even though the Governing Board is the only District authority that can
adopt such policies and it has not been in a position to do so.



CC: Lt. Governor J. H. "Jim" Williams
SWFWID Governing Board
Randy Whittle
Joseph Landers




Following are staff comments concerning the October 11, 1977, draft of Water
Element of the State Comprehensive Plan. The Planning Staff concurs with
most of the objectives and policy statements in the draft Water Element of
the State Comprehensive Plan. In fact, many of these statements were de-
veloped directly from the planning principles which appear in our own
District Water Management Plan. There are, however, two (2) concepts
which the staff finds particularly troublesome. One of these is the com-
pulsion to return conditions to a redevelopment status (Item #1). The
other is the manner in which exceptions to specific policies will be
handled (Item #7).

1. The staff has several questions relating to the concept of returning
hydrologic conditions to the premodification situation.

a. How is premodificatlon defined? Is this back at the turn of the
century; beginning of white occupance or the beginning of Indian

b. It is very difficult, and in some cases impossible, to establish
what premodification conditions were once they have been defined.

c. We do not accept the notion that a return of premodification con-
ditions is inherently good in every case. There is no documentation
to substantiate the idea that premodification environment is the

d. We question the technological feasibility o returning to premodifi-
cation conditions even if we knew what they were and decided those
conditions were better,

e. From an ecological point of view, many of t ese modified conditions
have existed for a long enough period of tie that a new ecosystem
has been established. Any change to premodification -conditions would
seriously disrupt existing habitats and ass ciated ecological com-

(Following Items 2 -J pertain to Individual section s containing water
management objectives and policies dealing with spe ific aspects of water

2. Watershed Management Objectivesand Policies

a. Our statement concerning excessive concern with a return to pre-
modification conditions applies to Policy Statements 1 and 2.

2. continued

b. Policy Statement No. 5 concerning historical biological communities:
we believe that this statement is vague as it currently stands. Who
is to define historical biological communities, at what point in
history are these to be identified and finally, what constraints will
be placed on the use of these "historical biological communities"?

3. Groundwater Management Objectives and Policy Statements

a. The redevelopment comment refers to the first policy statement of
the first management objective. We can envision certain situations
in which it would be beneficial to maintain water levels at an even
higher level than premodification situations.

b. Under the first policy statement, we are not certain as to the
meaning of the term "cropping". Does this refer to the water
crop concept or does it have some other meaning? This term
should be clarified at least in the accompanying statement.

4. Surface Water and Floodplain Management Objectives and Policies

While Policy Statement No. 1 sounds audible on the'surface, we.question
the practicality and even the possibility of realistically implementing
this policy.

5. Water Supply, Water Use and Water Conservation Objectives and Policies

a. At this point, we should like to point out that unless there is an
objective statement requiring the return of water uses to prede-
velopment levels, it will be virtually impossible to return any
aspect of hydrologic system to redevelopment levels.

b. In Policy Statement No. 3, which advocates the maintenance of
surface waters at or above average seasonal levels, it should be
pointed out that this would run completely counter to any flood
control activities within the surface system.

c. In Policy Statement No. 5 concerning the transfer of water, we
disagree with the necessity for State review for each and every
water transfer proposal. Water transfers within a water manage-
ment district should be the sole concern of the water management
district involved.

6. Legal and Administrative Policy Statements

Policy Statement No. 7 concerns the allocation of cost to water manage-
ment projects. The policy statement begins "insofar as is practibable
and administratively feasible, the identifiable beneficiaries or water
project services should bear appropriate shares of development and
operating costs through systems of pricing or user charges". The
question of who benefits from particular water management projects Is
subject in part to.individual philosophies and in part to the extent

li;- 1, ,1 I J, .I A l

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4L .A. continued

and in part to the extent secondary benefits are considered. As
it stands, this policy is ambiguous and will likely create more
problems than it solves. This policy brings up another issue
which is of considerable concern to the staff.

.-'. There are a number of policies in which the qualifier "insofar as
practicable" or "possible" is used. While we agree that there must
be considerable flexibility in the application of these policies in
order to deal with the realities of local situations, we believe
that these qualifiers as stated are far to vague. Who determines
what is practical or-feasible or possible? Is it the State, water
management districts, local governments, local interest groups,
vested interests or someone else? We see the possibility for an
endless procession of legal suits unless it is specified exactly
who has the principal responsibility for determining the practicality
and feasibility of deviating from the policy statement. We see the
necessity for a great number of deviations from specific policies
for specific areas throughout the State:of Florida. As it stands,
it would appear that everyone of these deviations is a potential
lawsuit. We suggest that the water management districts are in the
best possible position to determine when, where, and how much a
specific policy should be deviated from in the interest of solving
local problems. Clearly, some agency must be given primary responsi-

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