Title: The Water Resources of Florida - Summary
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/WL00002893/00001
 Material Information
Title: The Water Resources of Florida - Summary
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Publisher: State of Florida - Executive Dept. - Tallahassee
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida
Abstract: Richard Hamann's Collection - The Water Resources of Florida - Summary
General Note: Box 12, Folder 1 ( Materials and Reports on Florida's Water Resources - 1945 - 1957 ), Item 7
Funding: Digitized by the Legal Technology Institute in the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: WL00002893
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



Florida's surface and ground water resources probable equal

or exceed those of any other area of equal size on the American contin-

ent. Over most of the State vast quantities of water await development.

Average annual rainfall is 52.7 inches, 175 per cent of the national

average and no part of Florida is deficient in this respect. Some 50

streams have an average daily fas of about O billion gallons, their V

flows virtually undiminished by man's minor extractions. Sixty-six

limestone springs, some of thea among the largest in the world, contri-

bute their share to the water that escapes unused, myriad lakes and

arge swamps yield an untold levy to evapo-transpiration. Beneath the

State lies a part of one of the most extensive and productive ground

water reservoirs in the Nation the "Floridan Aquifer". This great

reservoir holds in storage an enormous volume of water without the high

losses from evapo-transpiration which take place from surface reser-

voirs and throughout most of the State the water surface remains at its

original level. In addition to its importance as a great underground

storage reservoir, since it underlies practically all the State it acts

as a giant distribution systems conveying water from ints of recharge

to points of use. Its value to the economy of the State is inestimable.

Equally important in the utilization of surface water is the

fact that the generally flat topography and high water table are well

suited to the use of two-way (drainage-irrigation) water control

systems at minimum cost. Pollution, while serious, in certain localized

L .__ r_~~~~~__~

areas, has not yet become a serious state-wide problem ane its overall

extent is only such as to draw attention to its evils rn"' its wasteful-

ness, while leaving unimosired a vast system of rivers, lakes, beaches,

and underground waters The problem of salt water intrusion is potentially

serious along both coasts but in almost every instance the Troblem may

be solved by the -roper aolication of known principles anW technios.

Rstimeted. ercentage increases for lT70 withdrawals of water

in 71*rida in the three catagorie of municipal and rurnl, industrial

and irrigation far exceed corresponding figures for the Nation as a whole.

If the total estimated present usage for all -uuroses of 1.2 billion gallons

per day increases to 4.9 billion gallons per day as predicted, it will

still represent only a small percentage of total water available. The

present status of the laws governing the use of water in Florida is

extremely uncertain. Following the completion of necessary studies, a

water doctrine should be adopted under which the surface and ground

water resources of the State could be developed "ith maximum benefit

to the overall economy.

-- -- -- --.-----------


The General Setting. Florida's situation with respect to its

water resources is in marked contrast to the arid regions of the south-

vest. Over most of the State vast quantities of water await development.

Precipitation is abundant, Streams empty substantial volumes of water

into the ocean, their flows virtually undiminished by man's minor

extractions. Numerous limestone springs, some of them among the largest

in the world, contribute their share to the water that escapes unused.

Myriad lakes and large swamps yield an untold levy to evaporation and

to the transpiration of native vegetation. Beneath the State lies a

part of one of the most extensive and productive ground water reservoirs

in the Nation the "Floridan Aquifer". This great aquifer plays a dual

role in the water-resources picture. On the one hand it serves as a

giant reservoir, storing water in periods of excessive rainfall against

gradual release during droughts. On the other hand, it acts as a

system of pipe lines, transmitting water to points distant from the

areas of recharge and distributing it conveniently to cities and in-

dustries and to isolated farms and rural homes.

The Hydrologic Cycle. The surface and ground water resources

of an area represent one element in the hydrological cycle of nature.

Water vapor is added to the atmosphere from the oceans through evapora-

tion, carried inland by moving air masses and deposited as rain or snow.

A major portion of this precipitation is evaporated from inland waters

and land surfaces

and land su:races ani tr as:pi-d by plant life Thc b-al-cs of th

Yater enters the streak or the ground water :ceservoirs to be iuti,.iately

returned to the oceans. The complete cycle is often expressed in the

form of an equation -?whersein; +rainf.a. t r- un-off + evaporation and tran-

spiration. In the equation. the term "run-off" is used Ji its bred

sense and includes both surface run-off and recharge iinto udergA-our

reservoirs. \

When applied to the i roper area, the deter.:inz tion of eacih

element of this equation would at once provide the tuater ..M.r 3., picture

for that Iaea. In its application to the Stats cf .Flo:ida< however,

the insolubi.ity of the- equation becors _:-.':ut f'roeM a consideration

of the o.esm'ents Which it includes,

Rainfall The first element of the cycle is annual rairnf-llo

No part of Florida is deficient vwith respect to rainfall. 'n the

extreme southeastern and no.,t-h western sections of the S--., the oaerage

ies6 inches and thboughoat the central peninslv.a it is generally Tore

than h6 inches. The average annual rair.nfall for the s ::.t, a a hole

is 52 7 Inches which is 175 por cent of the national ave era- ;aj .-ifall

of 30 inches,

AlthIogh there are wcll- :': '.-. o.'. w-et seasons and actual droughts,

geserallyl the rainfall is fairl.,-r woll. di.stribulted thIboughout the year,

The period of great est rainfel usna.ll begin Jin Jie and ends in

September, but extends ijinto Octob-a' in southeastern Elo:ida~ '[horc is

considerable variation in r'a.~:fa3l .._L- year to :'.:.' and stations with

l.J;nr records ,how: tlhat in the wettr years the total p,-;cip:tation m

- 2 -

double that of the drier years. For example, rainfall at Gainesville
ring the 50-year period 1901-1950 averaged 50 inches annually but
nged from a low of 32 inches in 1917 to a high of 65 inches in 1941.
Although paper No. 11 of the Division of Water Survey and
search, published in August 1954, contains records of 78,728 station-
aths of rainfall at U19 stations, rainfall data for Florida are far
om complete. A large number of these stations have been in operation
r only a few years and there are only a few areas in the State where
a number and distribution of active rain gauges are sufficient to
Dvide accurate data. There are at least four counties that have no
aging stations and at least nine counties having only one station to
cord the rainfall over the entire county.
Toporaphy Florida is divided into five natural topographic
visions: the Central Highlands, the Tallahassee Hills, the Marianna
lands, the Western Highlands, and the Coastal Lowlands. There are
sm fifty streams in Florida and there are lakes by the thousands
There is a vast amount of stored water in streams at any given
ment and of course a very large amount of stored water in the many
Ies, which are located mostly in the Central Highlands. These lakes
astitute a valuable source of irrigation for citrus, as well as
ving to ameriorate the nearby air temperatures during the brief
riods of cooler weather which sometimes prevail in the area.
The topography of the State is especially well suited for the
Sof two-way (drainage-irrigation) water control systems. This is
Because so much of the land is level and the water table so near
surface. Since the supply of surface water is so large, the cost
|o-way water control is at a inimim,
Oeology and HydroloE The Floridan Aquifer which underlies
t all of Florida, the coastal area of Georgia, and the southerrmost
of South Carolina and Alabama, consists of a series of limestone

formations having a total thickness of several thousand feet throughout

most of Florida. At some places the aquifer is exposed at the surface,

but throughout most of the State its top is several hundred feet beneath

the surface. In areas where the top of the aquifer lies at or near the

surface, or is covered only by pervious materials, much of the annual

rainfall enters the aquifer, creating areas of low run-off. The rain

which enters the formation in these areas is stored over long periods

of time, sustaining the flow of springs and rivers during droughts, and

providing a perennial supply to wells.

Evapo-transpiration. Of the national average annual rainfall

of 30 inches it is estimated that 21 inches or 70 per cent is returned

to the atmosphere by evaporation from land and water surfaces and by

the transpiration of vegetation. Of the average rainfall of 52.7 inches

received by Florida, a major but as yet undetermined portion is lost in

this manner. The total loss by evapo-transpiration, as it is now

commonly called, is governed principally by the temperature and the

amount of water available. In very humid regions, where there is gener-

ally sufficient water to satisfy demands, the mean annual evapo-transpir-

ation is chiefly a function of temperature. In addition, however, con-

sideration must be given to other climatic factors such as relative

humidity, wind movement and solar radiation. Data presently available

with respect to evapo-transpiration losses in Florida can best be

described as "fragmentary". Important studies of evapo-transpiration

under Florida conditions are now in progress at the AgriculturalExperi-

ment Station of the University of Florida.

*U- 1

Run-off. After the demands of evapo-transpiration have been

the remainder of the annual rainfall is ultimately discharged into

surface streams to be returned to the oceans. With some exceptions,

sWsh may include certain areas in Florida, the average annual run-off

eof a river basin is believed to represent the limit of development of

both the surface and the underground water resources of the area. AVn

development in excess of this amount must rely on water imported from

other basins, on the using up of water in storage or on the reduction

.of loss by evapo-transpiration. Although the average run-off for Florida

as a whole has been estimated to approximate 1l inches annually, there

is quite an appreciable variation in run-off from one part of the State

to another In the northwestern portion of the State, both precipita-

tion and run-off are high, run-off in the 150 square mile watershed in

Waihington and Bay Counties being estimated at i5 inches per year. This

rather high figure, amounting to some 70 per cent of the annual rainfall

for that area, results from the high rainfall, a relatively lower average

annual temperature, steep topographic gradients and relatively impervious

subsoils. In other areas of the State with equally high rainfallrun-

off may average as little as 10 inches and in some small closed basins

may be absent altogether. Upon examination, such areas are found to

have little topographic relief, high annual temperatures, or a soil

mantle and underlying rocks with a large capacity for the penetration

and storage of ground waters.

The streams of Florida have an average flow of about 0O billion

gallons of water per day whereas present consumption in the State for


-1.. --- -- I---- ----, --- -- -~*

lprposes is estimated to be only 1.2 billion gallons per day. While

are streams in which the low flow would require storage works,

are a large number where the mean flow would be more than adequate

umay purposes.

Recharge and Ground Water Resources. The geological influence

n the drainage pattern in Florida is most evident in those areas of

low annual run-off, where downward percolation recharges the underlying

oricdan Aquifer. The series of limestones which comprise this Aquifer

are in general porous and in some areas cavernous, the net affect being

That they are capable of holding in storage enormous volumes of water

The general movement of water in the aquifer is indicated by mapping

the height of water levels in many wells which penetrate it. If obser-

vations are made of the height to which water will rise in cased wells

penetrating this aquifer and lines drawn on a map through points where

these values are the same, there is obtained a map showing with consid-

erable accuracy the top of the piezometric water surface throughout the

formation. Such a map is presented as an appendix of this report. In-

spection of such a map reveals information of greatest value in evalu-

ating the ground water resources of the State. For example, within a

small area in Polk County between Lakeland and Haines City, water will

rise in cased wells penetrating the formation to a height,of 120 feet

above sea level. This is called the "southern piezometric high". The

levels slope downward from this area fairly regularly in all directions.

The area then represents a typical area of recharge within which surface

water finds its way into the formation and flows downward through the


Blsl~a~~ --~--- ~---- -- -

~Lar~arerru --------- ----- ...I ;..,....,...

formation along its slopes. Another large high, the so-called "northern

piezometric high" extends in a broad band from just north of Palatka in

Putnam County through Bradford and Baker Counties to the Georgia line.

In the upper levels of this high water stands at a height of 90 feet

above sea level. Smaller sub-highs are located near Deland in Volusia

County, near Brooksville in Hernando County, near Dunellon in Marion

County, and just south of Madison in Madison County. Since water,

whether on the surface or below it, "always flows downhill" a well-charted

piezometric map affords information with respect to the direction of

underground water flow. Such information is available for most of the

Florida peninsula and the data may be used with a considerable degree of

certainty. They show, for example, that surface water recharged into

the southern high in Polk County may be recovered under considerable

artesian head along the lower East Coast of Florida as far south as Miami

and along the West Coast from Tampa westward to Fort ayers. They like-

wise show that water recharged into the northern high in Bradford and
Baker Counties may be recovered under even higher artesian heads from

the municipal wells supplying Jacksonville and the adjoining beaches.

The general coastward slope of the piezometric surface also indicates

that much of the water moving in the aquifer wastes into the sea. As a

single example, preliminary measurements of a giant flowing spring four

miles off-shore in the Atlantic Ocean opposite Crescent Beach indicate

a flow approximating that of the major springs of the State, and this is

only one of a very large number of similar leakages, large and small,

which probably exist. This discharge of an untold but probably very



large volume of ground water into the sea prevents an accuratee balance

of the hydrological equation for Florida. If, how-ever, the other

elements of the equation could be accurately determined, a fair estimate

of this loss could be made from a knowledge of the physical characteris-

tics of the aquifer.,

Florida is unique in that it possesses nuamrous springs which

deliver very large quantities of ground water undor artesian pressure

to contiguous streams. The flow of these springs constitute good evi-

dence of the enormous eaount of pgound water stored beneath the State.

Of the 75 first magnitude springs in the United States, Florida possesses

17. A "first magnitude spring" is defined by the United States rGeolog-

ical Survey as one having a flow of 100 second feet or more. In addition,

Florida has 49 other springs which flow between 10 and 100 second feet.

The combined average daily flow of the two largest springs, Silver Spring

Run and Rainbow Springs, is 971 million gallons. The combined average

daily flow of its 66 major springs is 3.607 billion gallons. This is

greater than the estimated 3 billion gallons of water used daily by all

American cities which use ground water as a source of supply and is 17

per cent of the total daily consumptive use of water by all American

industry. It is more than three times the total present use of water in

Florida for all purposes,

Asseming that each cubic foot of saturated limestone holds in

storage 0.1 cubic feet of water, a very conservative figure, the throe

thousand square mile area included within the 60 foot piezometric contour

of the no then piezometric high and which includes parts of Futna:,.

Bradford, Baker, Clay and Duval Counties holds in storage in a thickness

of only 600 feet the enormous total of 37,200 billion gallons of water.

This is equal to the entire United States run-off for 28 days, Similar

calculations for the entire State put the volume of fresh water in

storage underneath the State at about ten times the capacity of Lake

Mead, the Nation's largest man-made reservoir impounded behind Hoover

Dam on the Colorado River. While it must be kept in mind that only a

fraction of this stored water can be claimed for use, the voliure with

which we are dealing is so vast as to characterize it as one of the

greatest underground water reserves on the iaxrican Continent.

This great reservoir holds water in storage without the high

losses from evaporation and evapo-transpiration which take place from

surface reservoirs and throughout most of the State the water surface

remains at its original level. It performs two important roles in the

water-resource picture On the one hand, just as the surface and over-

head storage tanks in a municipal water system enable that system to

meet the widely varying daily and hourly peaks of demand. so this giant

reservoir may be heavily drawn upon during the dry seasons of each year

or during a succession of dry years, since the water thus withdrawn will

be returned during the next period of normal or excessive rainfall. On

the other hand since it underlies practically all of the State it acts

as a giant distribution system, transmitting water from areas of re-

charge to points of demand, to cities and industries and to isolated

ferms and rural homes wihre it may be withdrawn f-rom wells Its value

to the economy of the State is inestimable,

S9 1-

__ _

Water Quality. Paralleling the importance of the quantity of

water available in Florida to all water consumers is that of its quality.

Since water is brought into contact with materials that may affect its

original purity, the quality of vater is subject to continual change

throughout the course of the hydrologic cycle. The amount and type of

change in chemical quality depends upon the chemical and physical

characteristics of the soil and rock materials in contact wiZth the water,

the time of contact, and the temperature.

The major characteristic of surface water quality, with the

exception of lake water, is its almost continuous variation. Much of

the variation in quality observed results from variations in precipita-

tion, ground water inflow, and variations in quality of water of tribu-

tary streams. The temperature of surface waters varies constantly

throughout the year, and in Florida the average daily water temperature

usually follows rather closely the average daily air temperature.

Streams in Florida whose flow consists mainly of drainage from

amps are generally very low in hardness and dissolved solids but high

organic color. In contrast, the water from limestone springs is

ear but quite hard. Waters of streams fed largely by these springs

therefore relatively hard and clear during periods of low flow but

after and highly colored during high flows.

In contrast to surface waters, the quality of a given ground

er is characterized by its nearly constant temperature and relatively

orm content of dissolved matter. Because of the l-iestorn composition

the aquifers underlying the State, ground watm- for the ost part is

- 10 -

quite hard, the hardness as a rule increasing, vith depth. The hardness

is derived from solution of limestone from the aquifer by recharging

water containing carbon dioxide and organic acids.

Waters from deeper strata of the artesian aquifer over much of

the State are apt to be highly mineralized occasionally to the extent

of several times the content of sea water. Such water owes its mineral

content to the solution of marine residuals deposited in the formations

during ancient invasions of the sea.

Most deep artesian waters throughout the State contain varying

amounts of hydrogen sulfide, which imparts an unpleasant taste and odor,

but which may be easily removed by aeration. Water from the many flowing

springs found throughout the State is usually quite similar in chemical

quality to water from wells in the area penetrating the artesian forma-


In some coastal areas of the State, ground water levels have

been reduced by pumping or drainage to the point that salt water from

the sea has moved inland against the lowered fresh water head. Mach of

the ground water in such areas has thus become too salty for general use.

A limited amount of data on the chemical qualities of Florida's

surface and ground water have been published in bulletin form by the U. S.

Geological Survey, the Florida Geological Survey, and the Division of

Water Survey and Research,

Pollution. The problem of pollution by the discharge of both

sanitary and industrial wastes into the waters of Florida and of the

South as a region is in its infancy when compared to the conditions which

-11 -

i __

-- --- -~

exist in the industrialized areas of the east and mid-west. Of the State's

2077 miles of shore and beaches, approximately five thousand miles of

rivers and many thousands of lakes, most today are unpolluted. This does

not mean, however, that Florida does not have serious pollution problems

because it does. Certain of our rivers, lakes, harbors, bays and bayous

have been polluted by domestic or industrial wastes and in certain areas

of the State the underground waters have been seriously polluted by un-

treated sewage and industrial wastes finding their way into the aquifers

through drainage wells. Ihile this practice is no longer permitted in

Florida, the damage in maiy instances has already been done. The State

Board of Health characterizes as the "sore spots" in Florida's pollution

problems the following:

Domestic Sewage. Without question the most common source of

pollution in Florida is domestic sewage. In 1940 only 9.7 per cent of

the population of the State were served by adequate sewage treatment. By

1953 this percentage had increased to 34 per cent despite the fact that

the population of the State doubled during that period. In the past

eight years Florida cities have spent more than $200,000,000 on sewage

disposal facilities and this rate of construction has been substantially

ahead of the national average. Officials of the State Board of Health

see no reason why this trend should change and predict that by the year

1960 the sanitary sewerage situation in Florida should be under very

good control. The State Board of Health points out, however, that since

the population of Florida is expected to increase 117 per cent by 1970

whereas the total U. S. population is expected to increase only 33 per cent

- 12 -


during the same period, a great responsibility rests upon the cities and

towns of the State to expand their sewerage systems and treatment facil-

ities to keep pace with this accelerated growth.

Industrial Wastes. It is difficult to evaluate the situation

with respect to industrial pollution as it presently exists. Most of the

problems occur in correction with three industries Citrus processing

plants must dispose of large quantities of process water and the organic

wastes which are present have thus far proved very difficult to treat by

the usual processes. One citrus plant may have for disposal an amount

of waste equivalent to the domestic waste of a city of 100,000 population.

Waste waters from the vast phosphate mining operations in several counties

of the Florida West Coast area pose a constant pollution threat to two

of the State's major streams, the Peace and Alafia Rivers, and their

tributaries, Florida has at the present time eight mills, seven producing

wood pulp by the kraft or sulfate process and one by the sulfite process.

It is estimated that these mills use a total of 225,000,000 gallons of

water per day, a substantial amount of which must be disposed of as waste.

In considering the problem of industrial pollution it must be kept in

mind, as will be brought out a little later, that it seems certain that

the State will participate to an increasing degree in the tremendous

program of industrialization of the South now under way. Every wet pro-

cess industry which comes to the State will bring with it its own waste

disposal problem. However, industry has come to recognize that pollution

is bad business. Nanagement is fully aware that this condition is an im-

portant part of its public relations program. There is an increasing

- 13 -

------------------------- -- ~m-~

tendency throughout the country for industry to accept the philosophy

that the cost of the treatment of its waste should properly be charged

against the cost of production and that the public must be willing to

pay these increased costs as reflected in the price of the finished pro-


Constant research is being carried on in industrial laborator-

ies, at the universities and by the State Board of Health on better

methods of industrial waste treatment. The problem can be minimized or

even solved in many cases by the proper choice of the plant location and

by utilizing its special topographic features. In many cases waste treat-

ment may result in the development of useful by-products, the sale of

which may reduce or even cover the cost of the treatment of the waste.

The practice of using treated sewage or industrial wastes for crop irri-

gation or for recharging underground formations is increasing throughout

the country. In California more than 100 small and medium size towns

make their sewage treatment plant effluent available for crop irrigation

or for stream bed ground water recharge. Completely treated sewage is

satisfactory for many industrial water uses,

In summary, if the State's natural endowment in water resources

has been somewhat impaired by misuse, the overall extent of this impair-

ment is only such as to draw attention to the evils and wastefulness of

such misuse, while leaving unimpaired a vast system of rivers, lakes,

beaches and underground waters.

Salt Water Intrusion. Since the turn of the century, the problem

of salt water intrusion has posed a constantly increasing threat to the

- 14-

-=L--r^---.-=---- --------- .L-~ '^";'-C'-~-

quality of the public water supplies of the towns and cities located on

the East or West coast of the State. The problem is particularly serious

in Florida because of its long coastline, because many of its major cities

and towns are located on the coast, and because the porous underlying

aquifers permit free passage of salt water where the fresh water head is

not sufficient to repel it. Salt water intrusion results from two main

causes. One is the excessive lowering of the fresh water level due to

close spacing or excessive pumpage of wells. The second cause is the

movement of salt water up drainage canals, ditches or rivers where inter-

cepting works have not been provided. Since 1920 more than $700,000 has

been spent on studies of salt water intrusion in the Greater Miami Area

alone and a similar study involving the spenditure of $50,000 over a

three-year period is in progress in Volusia County. Studies such as

these and others have provided sufficient information such that in almost

every instancethe problem may be solved by proper application of princi-

ples and technics which have evolved from these studies.

Lowerng of Upderground Water Levels. The statement is fre-

quently heard that the level of ground water throughout the Nation or

throughout the State is steadily being lowered. In neither instance is

the statement true. Considered as a whole, the available supply of

artesian water in Florida has scarcely been touched by current drafts.

It is only in certain localities that the demands for water are even

approaching the capacity of the underground aquifer to supply it. A few

examples may be used to illustrate this point. About 100 million gallons

of water per day is presently being drawn from wells in the vicinity of

-- -- -r.,_


Jacksonville for municipal and industrial uses. This draft has caused

substantial lessening of artesian pressure, especially around the town

of Fernandina, north of Jacksonville. This decline of water levels does

not, however, indicate a depletion of the reserve, as it would in some

other areas. It merely indicates that the aquifer lacks capacity for

transmitting water from the area of recharge, at a rate sufficient to

maintain original pressures. Around Jacksonville the limestone aquifer

is overlain by impervious formations and functions principally as a

conductor rather than as a reservoir. Just as the sise of a pipeline

limits the quantity of water that will flow through it so does the

capacity of an aquifer to transmit water determine the rate of flow

through it. However, the rate of flow is also determined by the steep-

ness of the slope of the underground water surface. When the water level

is lowered the slope is increased and water moves through the aquifer

more rapidly. Thus the lowering of the artesian pressures in the Jack-

sonville area by steepening the piezometric pressure has induced more

water to move in from the recharge area. Each increase in draft will

further steepen the hydraulic gradient and the maximum yield of the wells

will be realized only when the draft has increased to the extent that no

further lowering is economically feasible. These sae principles apply

throughout all areas of the State where water may be obtained under

artesian conditions, which includes moat of the State.

It has already been pointed out that the lowering of the fresh

water surface along the sea coast may result in salt water intrusion. It

uld also be pointed out that in areas far removed from either coast

- 16 -

excessive pumpage from wells may result in increased mineralization of the

water by bringing to the surface the highly mineralized waters confined in

the lower aquifers. This problem is particularly important in Seminole,

Manatee and Sarasota Counties and is of potential importance in other areas

of the State.

Drought and Flood Control. Numerous efforts have been made to

control the supply of surface water on the southern half of the Florida

peninsula. The newly created State of Florida first assumed responsibil-

ity for reclaiming about 20 million acres of the public domain in this

area in 1850 in return to a title to the land granted under the provisions

of the Swamp and Overflowed Lands Act. For the next 90 years, practically

all of the efforts to reclaim this land were based on drainage projects.

To discharge its responsibility the State (1) sold land to individuals

and corporations in large and small tracts, (2) authorized the creation

of drainage districts, both large and small, and (3) secured the assist-

ance of the Federal government to erect major water control facilities.

None of these efforts were entirely successful and by 1947, it was clear

that the surface water supply in south Florida could not be satisfactorily

controlled by simply draining the land.

In 1949, Florida's surface water control policy was extended

and refined in Chapter 373.27 and Chapter 378, Florida Statutes, 1949.

Under this policy, water control programs will be planned and executed

within problem areas to be identified in subsequent legislation on the

basis of intensive study. The first area identified under the new policy

is known as the Central and Southern Florida Flood Control District,

- 17 -

- ---------;--------


----- --- 4

embracing about 23 thousand square miles, including the Upper St. Johns

watershed, the Kissimmee River watershed and all of Lake Okeechobee

drainage and overflow area. In establishing the boundaries of this

district, the State, for the first time recognized the principle that

water control programs encompass the natural boundaries of watersheds

rather than the arbitrary and often political boundaries of the unsuccess-

ful drainage districts prior to 19W7. The comprehensive objectives of

controlling water in this district are to:

1. Remove flood waters rapidly.

2. Store surplus water.

3. Prevent overdrainage.

h4 Prevent salt water intrusion.

5. Protect developed areas.

6, Permit additional urban and agricultural development.

7o Navigation improvement.

8, Fish and wildlife conservation.

9. Ground water recharge, with incidental benefit of

moderation of temperatures both high and low,

In developing an overall surface water control and conservation

program in this area, the district works with local groups, relating it

to the needs of the individual communities and with the United States

Corps of Engineers on major facilities such as canals, dykes, dams and

locks. In terms of dollars and cents, a major portion of the total cost

of the project will be borne by individuals, local agencies and the State

of Florida. The total cost of the project has not yet been estimated but

-18 -

the Federal government' s contribution for major facilities will approach

300 million dollars. Congressional authorization for the Corps of

Engineers to complete the project was included in the Flood Control Act

of 195I0

The current schedule of activities in the district calls for

completing plans for all primary and secondary works by 1956 and construc-

tion by 1965 providing (1) annual federal appropriations of 10 million

dollars are available in 1956 and 1957 and 25 million dollars from 1958

through 1965 and (2) the State appropriates funds needed to make the

contributions to constructors, the amount of which will be established

precisely at a later date. County, state and local agencies bear 39 per

cent of the cost of major facilities.

Water Usageo Water usage in Florida may be divided into three

categories that used to supply human needs which may be characterized

as "municipal and rural"; that used directly by industry; and that used

for irrigation of all agricultural crops. Table I presents estimates of

the amount consumed in each of these categories in 1950 and an estimate

of the corresponding withdrawals for 1970. The average daily per capital

use of water in this country in 1950 was 138 gallons and since 1900 it

has increased at the rate of approximately I gallon per capital per day

during each year. By 1970 it is estimated that the average per capital

consumption will be 155 gallons daily. In 1950, 57 per cent of the State' s

total population of 2,771,305 was urban and 43 per cent rural. It has

been assumed in this report that of the State's estimated 1970 total popu-

lation of 6,013,300, 70 per cent will be urban and .30 per cent rural. The

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_ _.__


Water Consi~mpion in Florida

1950 Withdrawals


of total

1970 Withdrawals


of total

-.----- Is,---,.h ~ F 4 ....

Municipal and rural

Direct industrial




















1970 estimated use for all purposes is 417 per cent of present use,

-::-*- :i:~-.T~:r;;irn~*C .I-i--.,- -~--r --,ryi~l~- ii;l..--. .r.-,mlr-~-a~~a~

- -c~

figures in the table have been arrived at by multiplying the respective

urban populations by the appropriate daily per capital consumption; by

assuming that rural populations will consume an average of 50 gallons per

capital per day and by adding estimated increments for water consumption

by tourists.

The figure for 1950 direct industrial use was obtained by total-

ing fairly accurate figures for water used by the paper, phosphate and

citrus industries and adding a reasonable increment for smaller industries.

It should be pointed but that it is very difficult to arrive at a figure

used for irrigation since it bears little relation to the total of in-

stalled pump capacity by reason of the fact Qhat the pumps are usually

operated intermittently and over relatively short periods during each


In the 1952 report of the President's Materials Policy Comida-

sion it is estimated that increase in water production in the United

States in the 25 year period 1950-75 will be 50 per cent for municipal

supplies, 170 per cent for industrial, and 25 per cent for irrigation.

Attention is called to the fact that our estimates of 1970

water use in Florida vary very widely from the above. It is believed,

however, that they are conservative for the following reasons:

In the case of municipal and rural, our estimate is based upon

the assumption that the 1970 population of Florida will be 217 per cent

of the 1950 population whereas the 1975 United States population is

assumed to be only 133 per cent of the 1950 population. The estimate

that water used by industry will increase from 350 agd in 1950 to 700 mgd



1__ L

in 1970 is based upon the assumption that Florida will participate to an

increasing degree in the tremendous industrial development which is now

taking place throughout the South. The Southern Association of Science

and Industry estimates that the South will gain three thousand major man-

ufacturing plants in the next ten years and that a high percentage of

them will be chemical plants. The South now has one-third of the chemical

industries of the Nation and this ratio is expected to increase to one-

half within the next ten years. Since the outbreak of the Korean War,

half of all the new chemical plants built in the Nation have been located

in the southern states. Florida is now one of the fastest growing

chemical manufacturing states in the country according to a recent study

made by the Manufacturing Chemists Association. This survey shows that

Florida completed $152,000,000 in new chemical construction projects

during 1953 and will add $83,600,000 more during the next three years.

In 1952, Florida was ranked 26th among chemical manufacturing states.

The Manufacturing Chemists Association concludes that when this construc-

tion program has been completed Florida will move near the top ten

states in chemical manufacturing.

During the past decade Florida farmers have realized that

irrigation pays substantial dividends in increased crop yields. Irriga-

ted tobacco has shown yields of from 1700 to 2600 pounds per acre as

against the State's average of 1250 pounds per acre. Furthermore,

irrigated tobacco brings a higher price per pound than the State average

for the same grade.

The number of irrigated farms in Florida has doubled in the

- 21 -

last ten years from 3800 in 19ah to 7600 in 1954. Today there are

3000 acres of irrigated corn in the State as compared to none ten years

ago; more than 7000 acres of tobacco are irrigated, in 19~4 none was

irrigated. Nearly 230,000 acres of truck farm land have additional

water supplies as compared to 125,000 a decade ago; 161,000 acres of

citrus are now irrigated, four times the 1944 total. Improved pastures

under irrigation have increased from 10,000 acres in 1944 to 75,000

acres at present.

Best estimates of present use of water for all agricultural

purposes is 525 agd. This represented a total of 191 billion gallons

per year or 7 million acre-incheso It is estimated that by 1970 farmers

will control the total of 3400 million gallons per day, equivalent to

the total annual usage of 1250 billion gallons or 46 million acre-inches,

This is more than six times present use. Much of this water control

will be accomplished with two-way structures, that is, structures that

can be used interchangeably for drainage or irrigation. However, the

use of overhead irrigation systems will increase greatly during the next

17 years. The additional irrigation of about 600,000 acres of fruit and

nut crops will call for the application of an additional 6 million acre-

inches of water. More intensive irrigation of field crops will expand

the volume of water utilized by about 7 million acre-inches. The

establishment and improvement of pastures will call for the application

of approximately 26 million acre-inches of water. By controlling an

additional 39 million acre-inches of water by 1970, it will be possible for

farmers to utilize fertilizer more effectively, and by doing so, obtain

larger crop yields of better quality agricultural commodities

22 -


Lqal Apcts aG1 RjMh. a* Florid.da hca; -qo thur Qcr ct-iCi to1

serve as a guide in cdvec.opig a.;d regulating the use of her L srf..c$: zCd'

ground waters. As water use in certain areas of the State appro.:ches th ,

readily available total supply% the public interest denerds ani acc.v;.-

tion cf the increasing uses to const.an'r souppy so that h, k w,:iciZu

economic advantage, both fo:'r the present and futureo, can o secured f;::cm

the resczr'cem kt this i T t. lw dSC.s in and d&teries h hCtbar

\z:3Laxi.m coromij.c be.efits a ob-;iad oh aied or 'wbther one seicrAt of ouT

economy binofits but to tho 'e ''l ma .e-t.- ienr of tho State as a. tWhol

~e prees'nt 'tat of t.e ..s ;, ;-':'i... l;: O We in ol: r..tic

is extrem Iliy uncertain, Older case : la, er,;'anc.iae, bePa3 :the iturn o.2 the

century, adopts the Engl:ish coir&:.on lc.: approach of ma.in y-::: pr-otection oi

riparian owners on s.urfaco strez-a;s Mhile allow: complete **-.:-,': of

w~ithdrFawal to t he one0rs of land oxwV W.;.*:: ;:.; ground Wtater s-upplies. Di.cta

in later cases r :: ,:I.-r in.odify these ruleb by cn,- _-:'.:-- -,he :.-.;':p.Ee

of reasonable ne as as af 1.: catiot on theo .?ndoner's absol'utie r '..-:':L:. thus

reaking the supply at leasf-t pvatisCly available for othor usi2s. .L .;2.?

dicta, hoser:veir h:ae not yt tainted d tahe sate-ure o.f prcede..t: ThyS Oa-

sul:ting unccrtai.nty -" have the disadvat;Fe of jiscoura'inS p:'-tntial

users whose presence wouid bs of great present coono:'~cc befit to t'ie

State. Ui.nce, hom-,r, in a:'n.t rca-, of -.orida r-*'; '/ an yt far exccCds
d,,mand, it r-y .- fortunes that tk. la. has moft y;t :co: i'.xed bheca.,se

corrective action can b taken if the SKat becomes .awa, of the :a'd M'S'

laws to e-.'a.oun};j te; ls n:;::, -..-.. IC ne-, of "'loida' .ai;'ble ,:t.-

*.:..;,*r.- As orzce e:@::tnsie- dGio:.nds :.*re :acle on the available .; ly *h

need will rapidly increase for the development of an integrated system of

laws for controlling the use of both surface and ground water. These

laws mast be certain enough to encourage maximum use by agriculture, in-

dustry, and the public. At the same time they must be sufficiently

flexible to permit the State to benefit from technological advances rather

than to freeze the use in a pattern which may at some later date prove


A study should be made to determine and evaluate the existing

water laws of Florida, both state-wide and local. In addition, a

thorough study should be made of water law in those states where the

problem became acute at an earlier period and resulted in legislation

which has been in operation for a sufficient length of time to be intel-

ligently appraised. Any such study must necessarily include an evaluation

of the measures adopted to control the pollution problem, since pollution

obviously acts to the detriment of the usable supply. These studies could

then be the basis of a water doctrine whereby the surface and ground water

resources of the State could be developed with maximum benefit to the

overall economy of the State.

Certain existing legislation is worthy of brief mention. The

State Sanitary Code delegates to the State Board of Health the responsi-

bility of safe-guarding the quality of the State' s domestic and municipal

supplies which of necessity involves supervision over the disposal of

domestic sewage and industrial wastes in order that the waters of the

State may be protected from pollution. It is the feeling of the State

Board of Health that these statutes could be better enforced if it could

-24 -

__ __ __I~

bN'ig .nuii:;ion su.'.t i:: to -zvmi of ?n.per j.,ialf.ioi,: in cases involving

pol.tji-i.:-n Under ha newa Code, cha'mi.e walls Ir- no :nger permitted

W' 1953 Leisntura anactd .A las, 2.- 253, Senate Bill

niter 7 in titld "An Act oa oott aPnd control ^he artesian .-'aterm

ci" 'h St,.te; provide. ;. duties of cer'rt"in State a. County officers in

regard thereto; and providing p;., ua.ty for th.a iolati-on of this act%

It r. aCto that shutoff vlves ) installed o all owiw:i. artesian ~-J.]

and ib thee valves o cled G:. e;t, AVn e -atp- is big ascd fu

o).it2 na' ul purposes it af-tra due noti -c t on a lnom anr refums t

install such a -, alve axd oparat. e it properly, he ,ho nr p a videoss that t',.

sheriff of the counA or the Ko;ic Mo3yicaL urvey can plug the el

or install a vaIvt -d th cas :.;omos a limn '.a:t he .:-* :"yh, it.

ever, the law has not fin for promO effective ;ino no .o: -:mn

appro'priated for its a:. in:. f or -:. o v vi ,

Fi d ...av3r -r is ..of; W.. oc AC

Florida's wrate rasourcms W tha ows.v:yL der.l-:::it of uv sin.t.: an
:OPpai,'s... 1 ,'t-. .. ., ;. : on W.- r Yesou to W a $ .'' ..s onf o lQ aK t

entire problem a. port itW i.ndi to thO 12 5 Lzislatur.r,

: .. .. .
Stata agencXin70100a 3.1 g;j, w; v f 001' '. &V- '-, : t Or Dom.,

Also 1100i om' n fun o t. -wa -r,>w: T hit b2' : .. I.s

..needed.-;, noon n Q 4 j.c":,o m "h, t Q:' ben.

done but f.... on ., ; bnQ. ,
i.-. i O '': _, o ]: ..- ..L ,: % c E C

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