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NORTHWEST FLORIDA WATER
PUBLIC INFORMATION BULLETIN 81-1
J. William McCartney
wa)lfel eI4!anayemenf ^fwil
Route No. Box .300. Havana. Florida 32333
February 9, 1981
It is again a pleasure to publish the summary of our annual meeting. The
meeting this year was tremendously successful, owing largely to the participa-
tion of the many fine and articulate panelists and moderators, and to Governor
Bob Graham who gave the banquet keynote address. To everyone involved, we
express our sincerest appreciation and gratitude.
We publish this summary each year because the discussions at the annual
meeting are important to the people of Florida. Contained in this summary are
frank comments and personal opinions directed at the most pressing issues in
water and resource management by some of the State's most knowledgeable
authorities. Some minor editing of the discussions has been accomplished with
the reader's convenience in mind. For any misrepresentations that might
appear as a result of my editing, I am solely responsible and apologetic.
We hope you will enjoy reading this summary and that you will find it
helpful in gaining greater insight into the very important and complex
business of resource management.
HENRY C. LANE
TOM S. COLDEWEY
Vice Chairman Port St. Joe
R. L.PRICE, JR.
WILLIAM C. SMITH
W. FRED BOND
NORTHWEST FLORIDA WATER MANAGEMENT DISTRICT
FIFTH ANNUAL MEETING
Thursday, October 23, 1980
11:30 a.m. 1:30 p.m.
- 2:45 p.m.
3:00 p.m. 4:15 p.m.
6:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m.
- 9:00 p.m.
Friday, October 24, 1980
8:30 a.m. 9:45 a.m.
10:00 a.m. 11:15 a.m.
Musical Entertainment provided by Dale &
Linda Crider-Florida Game and Fresh
Water Fish Commission
Capital City Country Club
Panel 1 State Water Programs: A
Strategy for Coordinated Delivery
Capital City Country Club
Panel 2 Optimum Management of Inter-
state River Basins
Capital City Country Club
Capital City Country Club
Address by Governor Bob Graham
Capital City Country Club
Panel 3 Water Management: the View
of the Legislature, 1980
Capital City Country Club
Panel 4 Resource Management: What
Was Intended and What It Is
Capital City Country Club
Annual Meeting Adjourned
NORTHWEST FLORIDA WATER MANAGEMENT DISTRICT
FIFTH ANNUAL MEETING
Hon. Tom Coldewey, Vice Chairman, Northwest Florida Water Management District
Governing Board, Port St. Joe, FL I
Mr. Rich McWilliams, Northwest Florida Water Management District,
Hon. Buddy Runnels, Northwest Florida Water Management District Governing
Governing Board, Destin, FL
Hon. Marion Tidwell, Northwest Florida Water Management District Governing
Board, Chumuckla, FL
Mr. L. M. (Buddy) Blain, representing the Southwest Florida Water Management
District in the Florida Legislature, 1972, Tampa, FL I
Colonel Robert M. Brantly, Executive Director, Game and Fresh Water Fish
Commission, Tallahassee, FL
Mr. Frank Caldwell, Staff Director, House Select Committee on Water Resource
Management, 1972, Tallahassee, FL
Hon. Doyle Conner, Commissioner, Department of Agriculture and Consumer
Services, Tallahassee, FL
Hon. Gus Craig, Chairman, House Natural Resources Committee, 1972, I
St. Augustine, FL
Hon. Don Crane, State Representative on House Natural Resources Committee,
1972, St. Petersburg, FL
Dr. John DeGrove, Chairman, Governor's Conference on Water Management in I
South Florida, 1971, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Mr. John Ehrenfeld, Chairman, New England River Basin Commission, Boston,
Mr. Joel Frisch, U.S. Water Resources Council, Washington, D. C. I
Dr. Elton Gissendanner, Executive Director, Department of Natural Resources,
Mr. Clair P. Guess, Jr., Executive Director, South Carolina Water Resources
Commission, Columbia, South Carolina
Mr. Jerry Hansler, Executive Director, Delaware River Basin Commission,
Washington, D. C.
Hon. Robert W. McKnight, State Senator, District 38, Miami, FL
Mr. Eanix Poole, Administrator, Environmental Health Programs, Department of
Health and Rehabilitative Services, Tallahassee, FL
Hon. Sherrill N. Skinner, State Senator, District 5, Lake City, FL
Hon. Charles R. Smith, State Representative, District 36, Brooksville, FL
Mr. Bill Stimmel, Bureau of Land and Water Management, Department of Community
Affairs, Tallahassee, FL
Hon. James Harold Thompson, State Representative, District 10, Quincy, FL
Hon. Alan Trask, State Senator, District 13, Ft. Meade, FL
Mr. Jake Varn, Secretary, Department of Environmental Regulation,
Mr. Chris White, Water Resource Program Manager, State of Georgia,
STATE WATER PROGRAMS :
A STRATEGY FOR COORDINATED DELIVERY
HON. MARION TIDWELL, Northwest Florida Water Management District
Governing Board, Chumuckla, Florida
COLONEL ROBERT M. BRANTLY, Executive Director, Game and Fresh Water
Fish Commission, Tallahassee, Florida
HON. DOYLE CONNER, Commissioner, Department of Agriculture and
Consumer Services, Tallahassee, Florida
DR. ELTON GISSENDANNER, Executive Director, Department of Natural
Resources, Tallahassee, Florida
MR. EANIX POOLE, Administrator, Environmental Health Programs, Department
of Health and Rehabilitative Services, Tallahassee, Florida
MR. BILL STIMMEL, Bureau of Land and Water Management, Department
of Community Affairs, Tallahassee, Florida
MR. JAKE VARN, Secretary, Department of Environmental Regulation,
The Florida Department of Agriculture, Department of Environmental
Regulation, Department of Community Affairs, Department of Health and Rehabil-
itative Services, Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission, Department of Natural
Resources, water management districts, and local governments all exercise some
form of water management or water control responsibility. In response to the
widely recognized need for coordinated water resource management among the
regional and State agencies, the Governor's Resource Management Task Force
earlier this year presented to the Governor a number of recommendations for
improvements in managing Florida's water resources. This included the formal
adoption of a State water policy, the combining of water quality and water
quantity programs, and increased water management responsibilities for region-
al and local entities under strong State supervision.
What is the perspective of your agency on these water-related
Are there any additional major resource management issues which
you feel should have been addressed by the Task Force?
The organizational complexity of water management programs in Florida
often leaves citizens in the State confused as to which agency is responsible
for a particular program. For example, the Legislature sets water policy; the
Department of Environmental Regulation establishes State water well construc-
tion standards and water quality standards; the regional water management
districts may establish and enforce rules regarding water well construction,
management of surface waters and others; the Department of Health and
Rehabilitative Services is responsible for water quality surveillance for
water supply systems; and the Governor and Cabinet sit as final adjudicatory
authority over these regulations. Adding further complexity to this system
are the water-related programs in other agencies: the Department of Natural
Resources is responsible for chemical and mechanical aquatic weed control,
while the Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission handles biological control; the
Department of Community Affairs reviews local governmental comprehensive
plans, development of regional impact applications, and environmental impact
statements; and the Department of Environmental Regulation, the Department of
Natural Resources, and the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers regulate dredge and
fill activities in the State, but the water management districts may also have
authority in this area through their management and storage of surface waters
How can the various State water management programs be better
coordinated as far as policy, implementation, service delivery,
and regulation are concerned?
Is there a need for more (or less) centralization for water
management at the State level?
What do you perceive as the future problem areas for water policy
and water management in Florida?
In the last two years, there has been a great deal of discussion regard-
ing Florida's organizational framework for water management. There have been
a number of suggestions put forward for modifying or replacing the current
framework. These suggestions include: the movement of all natural resource
functions to regional agencies; the establishment of a State Water Board to
oversee water management activities; the transfer of all water regulatory
functions to the Department of Environmental Regulation; the formation of a
Natural Resources Council composed of representatives from the Game and Fresh
Water Fish Commission, the Department of Environmental Regulation, the
Department of Natural Resources, and the water management districts; and the
transfer of certain water management functions to the Department of Natural
Resources, and creating a Department of Natural Resources and Environmental
What is the optimum structure for resource management in Florida
that would incorporate the water-related needs of the State and
the various agency concerns?
The Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services has, under Chapter
10D-4 of the Florida Administrative Code, responsibilities both for private
water supplies and for those other public water supplies not covered by the
Florida Safe Drinking Water Act. The latter are called community and non-
community water supplies. Chapter 403 of the Florida Statutes, specifically
Section 403.850, is known as the Florida Safe Drinking Water Act. It assigns
specific duties to HRS and DER. Both of these agencies are decentralized.
The work is carried out in districts or, in the case of HRS, in county health
units. Because of this decentralization, we've had quite a few problems
administering the Safe Drinking Water Act. I hope that we can meet in the
near future in order to come up with some solutions to that problem. My
suggestion is that all the responsibilities be assigned to one agency. If
that agency needs some help in carrying out its functions, it may want to
contract with the other agency. HRS has done this with the Department of
Business Regulation in the area of restaurant inspection and it has worked
real well during this past year.
Water supplies in this century have been greatly improved. In the early
part of the century, we had a lot of diseases transmitted through water
supplies. Because of the routine chlorination of supplies starting in the
early part of this century, we seldom hear of disease outbreaks as a result of
water supplies. Occasionally, some mechanism breaks down, but even that is
rare. The quality of life has improved greatly in this country in large part
because of improved water supplies.
The 1960's and 1970's were periods of great advances in wastewater treat-
ment. A lot of emphasis and money were placed in that area. We got away from
"the solution to pollution is dilution," and we are making a lot of progress.
I see for the 1980's tremendous attention being given to toxic material
control, disposal, treatment, and research. We have a lot of concerns in
Florida about this.
Florida is also known as the "septic tank state." We have responsibility
for Chapter 1OD-6, Florida Administrative Code, that regulates individual
sewage disposal, which is mainly septic tanks. Florida has about one million
homes on septic tanks and probably sends one billion gallons or more of sewage
effluent into the subsurface every day. We have a lot of anxieties about this
wastewater. We would like to see some legislative strengthening of the statu-
tory requirements for septic tanks and individual sewage disposal. One of the
weaknesses is that we have very minimal requirements in regard to the water
table. Currently, septic tanks can be installed if the water table is just
three feet below the surface. I would like to see this increased to three
feet below the bottom of the absorption bed surface. All research results in-
dicate that at least three feet of dry soil between the bottom of the drain
field and the water table are needed to keep pollutants out of the ground
Agriculture is one of the largest and most essential users of water, and
we are one of the agencies most concerned about water resources. During
recent weeks in Florida, and throughout much of the country, a great deal of
attention has been drawn to the need for water in food production. We have
seen crop yields drastically affected. Some of you are going to recognize, as
consumers, what could be some of the problems of the future if we do not
manage our water resources well.
I just came back from China. It has a little more land area than we have
in the United States, but is not blessed with the natural conditions we have
for food production. Yet they have 25 percent of all the people in the world.
Over a billion people. They are beginning to solve some of their problems.
We have an opportunity to work on ours before we have a billion people in the
We are involved in water-related activities in the Department of
Agriculture, mostly through our local soil and water conservation districts.
We have a tremendous source of grass roots concern and input through these
local people. You will hear me express my support for governing, as much as
possible, at that level.
In regard to coordinating programs and the implementation of programs and
delivery, our people have gone over the statutes, rules, and regulations, and
it would appear to me that they are generally working quite well. Perhaps
some refinement is needed in certain areas. We certainly have the capability
of developing those refinements using the resource people we have in this room
and the members of the Legislature who are studying the question.
As far as centralization is concerned, I expressed my views earlier: the
less centralization we have in practically all facets of government manage-
ement, the better. Keep as many local problems at the local level and as many
State problems at the State level rather than in Washington, as possible.
Water happens to be a subject on which we really have an optimum amount of
grass roots input. I think that's good.
On the question of priorities, we in Agriculture feel that food produc-
tion is rather essential. Less than three meals a day concerns a lot of
people. In trying to meet this demand, we often find ourselves in competition
for what I would term the secondary use of water. I would say direct human
consumption must take priority over almost anything else. In order to meet
human requirements, I have suggested that a study be made on the feasibility
of using our interstate highway rights-of-way to deliver water to critical
areas in emergencies. If we get the direct people needs behind us, then in
times of disaster and emergency we can keep the other issues in better
Thank you very much, Commissioner. We will go to Dr. Gissendanner next.
He is executive director of the Department of Natural Resources. That's the
agency Getty Oil Company turns to the East and bows to each day.
I seem to be the only one here who has one of his seven bosses with him.
The first thing I'm going to say is that I agree with everything Mr. Conner
When I came to the Legislature in the 1960's, air pollution was the sexy
issue. Legislators spent a lot of time talking about it and then developed
the first pollution control mechanism. In the 1970's, water quality was the
big thing. In the 1980's, the estuarine and the coastal areas are going to be
the "in thing." I am going to address my remarks basically to that because,
without fresh water in our estuaries, we will not have the productive
estuarine systems that are the bases for all seafood. The Charlotte Harbor
Committee is wrestling with this question now. The thing that concerns me is
how we can make sure that our estuarine systems receive adequate fresh water
to make them function physiologically and biologically. We don't have a
handle on what adverse effects the lack of water in estuarine systems has
produced. I attended a sick fish conference yesterday. I'd never been to a
sick fish conference before, but one of the problems is that we're not aware
of how changes in salinity in the estuarine system affect the health of fish.
The other area that DNR has to address is our responsibilities in
freshwater aquatic weeds and in aquatic weed control. I think that we have
made a lot of progress and that we ought to let the new setup between this
Department and the Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission and the water manage-
ment districts have a chance to work. I think it will work. I have a few
little rough spots to iron out, but it will be functioning by January 1.
The Department of Community Affairs' role in water management and/or
water control is expressed through various planning processes such as
developments of regional impact, local government comprehensive planning,
areas of critical State concern, and resource planning and management
As you probably remember, Governor Graham appointed the Resource Manage-
ment Task Force in February of 1979. On March 7, he addressed the Task Force
and presented a short-term (30 days) and a long-term (300 days) agenda for
its consideration. In the short-term agenda, the Task Force was asked to 1)
consider new legislation for designation of areas of critical State concern
under Chapter 380, F.S.; 2) study the advisability of redesignating the Green
Swamp and the Florida Keys as areas of critical State concern; and 3) review
the usefulness of the environmentally endangered lands program and to recom-
mend new revenue sources for its funding.
In the interim report dated May 21, 1979, the Task Force recommended the
designation of areas of critical State concern be carried out by the Governor
and Cabinet under specific legislative guidelines and standards. The Task
Force supported, in concept, the redesignation by the Legislature of both the
Green Swamp and the Florida Keys as areas of critical State concern. It also
approved the concept of a voluntary and cooperative resource planning and
management committee to be appointed by the Governor when he deemed such
appointment to be appropriate. This committee should be required prior to
recommending an area of critical State concern. The objective was to resolve
existing and to prevent future problems which might endanger resources con-
sidered to be of State and regional importance. The Task Force favored this
concept as a less abrasive method to achieve resource management objectives in
critical areas. This process was written into Chapter 380 during the regular
legislative session of 1979.
In May of 1979, Governor Graham appointed a 25-member committee, known as
the Charlotte Harbor Resource Planning and Management Committee. He appointed
the late Dean Frank Maloney as its chairman and charged this committee with
identifying specific problems and establishing their priorities, with recom-
mending solutions to appropriate State, regional, and local governments for
implementation, and with seeing that they are implemented.
The program had at least two unique features. It provided the opportun-
ity for intergovernmental coordination through direct interaction of local,
regional, and State-level governmental officials, and it provided a basis for
the mutual identification of resource management problems and measures for
The committee, made up of business and environmental representatives, and
with State, regional, and local government officials, met for the first time in
June 1979. By the second meeting in July, it had adopted two goals and four
problem areas for the year-long study. Their goals were 1) to maintain and
improve the functional and structural integrity of the natural estuarine eco-
systems and related coastal components through coordinated management of human
impacts in surrounding uplands and freshwater systems, and 2) to identify and
address the impact of growth so as to minimize or eliminate any adverse effect
on the Charlotte Harbor area.
The four problem areas selected included intergovernmental coordination
and decision making, community infrastructure, water resources, and natural
systems. Since water resources is the focus of this program, it should be
noted the committee considered it a priority concern in southwest Florida.
The need for water that is generated by growth in that area may present a
potential conflict with the water needs of the natural systems, and particu-
larly of the estuary. The potential water quality problems normally accom-
panying growth may also severely affect the productivity of Charlotte Harbor.
Water resource issues considered by the committee included protecting the
flow of rivers to the estuary, water conservation, recharge and storage
functions of natural systems, power plants, basin self-sufficiency, protection
of watershed boundaries, hydroperiod for pre- and post-development, management
of floodplains, circulation within the estuary, other estuarine needs, septic
tank systems, water quality protection and restoration, dredge and fill,
oil-sensitive environments, navigational facilities, enforcement of environ-
mental regulations, and storm water runoff and drainage systems.
During the eight months from July 1979 to March 1980, the committee's
technical advisory staff developed recommendations to address these issues.
During the March 27 and 28 meetings, the committee carefully reviewed the
technical findings and recommendations. During its last meeting, on June 13,
the committee concluded its one-year assignment by adopting 80 recommenda-
tions. This report was later presented to Governor Graham on June 23 by
Chairman Derrill McAteer with a recommendation that the Governor re-establish
the committee, in accordance with Chapter 380, F.S., to oversee the implemen-
tation of the recommendations.
On July 2, 1980, the Governor reconstituted the Charlotte Harbor Commit-
tee. To date, the committee has adopted an operating procedure to effectively
deal with the previous committee's recommendations, has obtained a pledge by
individual member local governments to cooperate and work towards successful
accomplishment of these recommendations, and has established priorities for
accomplishing the recommendations.
The committee identified floodplain regulations, storm water runoff/
drainage regulations, wastewater regulations, and wetland/barrier island pro-
tection as top priorities for local government consideration and review. The
technical staff prepared 61 criteria items addressing these four issues, and
the committee has used these criteria to inventory and evaluate existing
plans, regulations, and ordinances of local, regional, and State governments.
Although this analysis is still preliminary, significant cooperation and
assistance have been exhibited by the individual member governments. The
opportunities for improved resource management, through the coordination of
policy, planning, implementation, and regulation, are significant. The
Charlotte Harbor program should result in concise and specific policies to
protect State and regional resources. These policies will then promote con-
sistency between governmental agencies as we achieve our resource management
Let me begin by explaining a little about the Game and Fresh Water Fish
Commission's interest in water. We are charged under the Constitution with
the management, protection, propagation, and conservation of wildlife and
freshwater aquatic resources. This responsibility is only for the species
themselves. Other agencies are charged, by the statutes, with the protection
of the habitat, environment, water quality, water quantity, and flood control.
This puts us in a situation like that of a cattleman raising cattle who is
without any authority to say what is done to the pastureland. We are depen-
dent upon the other agencies to fulfill their responsibilities and to provide
the proper habitat for the species we are trying to manage. This system has
worked, with varying degrees of success, in the past 35 years -- as evidenced
by our wildlife and fisheries population today.
We are getting into trouble with the fishery and wildlife populations,
primarily because of the same thing that is giving trouble to the farmer and
to all other water users, and that is the tremendous growth that we have had
in Florida. We recently did a report on the current status and future trends
for the fishery resources of Florida. Basically, what it says is that things
are on a downhill trend for the fishery resources in the State. We are
talking about a roughly $700 million annual industry. If steps are not taken
to reverse this decline in the fishery habitat, we will have even more serious
We are vitally interested in anything that happens to the habitat. This
brings us into contact with virtually every other State agency because they
affect the fish and wildlife habitat through their programs. We are seeking a
closer coordination of all the agencies affecting the habitat. Whether we do
this through legislation or cooperative agreements is somewhat up in the air,
but we are looking seriously at some type of legislation. I would like to
allay fears that we are seeking any kind of veto power over programs of other
agencies. We do not want that. We are not asking for sole responsibility for
projects conducted throughout the State. We are asking for input, and for
consideration of the fishery resources, in the planning and implementation
stages of projects. We feel that input provided by the Commission will at
least reduce serious impact. We will be contacting you, and the Legislature,
in the coming session, to try to work something out on this.
As I look at the projections of general revenue, I think we all have
reason to be concerned. The real bottom line issue is: what priority we are
willing to give Florida water resources. We are going to be competing for
some very limited dollars, and we have got some very tough decisions to make.
They are decisions that will not be popular. Someone is going to end up not
at the top of the priority list. My personal feeling, especially within my
Department and considering the number of staff and the money I have, is that
we have too much to do. We have been given too much responsibility to regu-
late too many things. I really believe that we will have to look seriously at
the possibility of eliminating programs so that we can do a better job on the
remaining critical programs.
One example is groundwater protection. I think we have neglected it in
the State of Florida. The popular thing to talk about today is hazardous
waste. I like to talk about hazardous waste because hazardous waste is a
threat to ground water. Pollution control in Florida has been cosmetic
because we have devoted our efforts primarily to surface water protection.
Surface water really isn't that important to us. We simply look at it, swim,
and fish in it. If you really want to get to the lifeblood of this State,
talk about ground water. That is what we drink and what agriculture utilizes.
If you screw it up, you will not unscrew it up in our lifetime, dear sports
fans. It is about time we started doing something about it.
A second major issue we need to face is water supply. We do not have one
agency anywhere with primary responsibility for carrying potable water to all
those people who live in the coastal urban areas. The problem will occur
again and again, and the time has come for us to put somebody in charge.
Believe it or not, you are just not going to convince people to live in the
ridge areas of this State. They have this thing about living in the coastal
areas, and we might as well face up to the fact that we have got to figure out
some way of getting water to them.
Item three is wetlands protection. If you want to save the St. Johns
River, you have got to save the floodplain. I do not think you are going to
find any federal sugar daddy that is going to send us a big fat check to do
it. Somebody better determine soon how much of a priority it is to save that
Another major issue we have to deal with, and this hits the agricultural
community, is storm water runoff. The 208 program is a federal boondoggle.
The major pollution problem we have in this State is storm water runoff. It's
going to take a lot of money and time to address it. I would prefer a nonreg-
ulatory approach. Working with the soil and water conservation districts is
one way to do that. It is time we turned our attention to it.
What is the answer to these problems? We can talk about reorganization,
but I consider that to be a bureaucratic excuse rather than an answer. The
problems we have require competent, qualified people. We can reorganize, but
reorganizing things will not help us solve the problems. Institutions do not
solve problems, people do. And the only way you are going to get good people
to do the job is with money. There is no such thing as a free lunch. You
have got to pay, and you are going to get what you pay for. Unless we provide
adequate salaries for people to run these programs, we are going to pay a much
steeper price in the long run. We can talk about realigning programs and mak-
ing the system work better, but I suggest to you that at the top of the list
is people. Good people can coordinate and organize. The institutions are not
that important. It is time we started focusing on the people rather than on
Are there any questions from the floor?
The Governor recently appointed an Interagency Management Committee (IMC)
made up of all the agencies represented on this panel. It seems to me this is
a much needed forum for getting our agencies together to begin solving prob-
lems and interacting more. I am just curious if Mr. Varn, or any of the other
speakers who are members of that management committee, has had an opportunity
to get a feeling for what its potential is. How do you see that as a mecha-
nism for getting at some of the problems which really cross all the lines?
The IMC is the committee that we put together, pursuant to the Governor
and Cabinet's resolution, as a part of our effort under the Coastal Zone
Management Program. The IMC is a good mechanism for bringing together the
agencies who do overlap so that we have coordinated efforts. The extent to
which we are able to flush out problems is unknown. We have only addressed a
couple of relatively minor issues. From my perspective, we have got much
better communication with the Department of Commerce. It works so much better
when they bring an industry to us and can tell us what that industry needs and
what kinds of emissions they are going to have. Then we can tell them where
in the State they ought to go. That may upset some folks and sometimes they
get away from us. It is difficult when we deal with a company that says,
"Well, if I can't go there, then I'm going to South Carolina." But when we
get involved early with Commerce, we can direct the industries to those areas
where they have water and wastewater treatment facilities. With this type of
coordination which comes through this type of committee, I think we have got
the potential to solve a lot of problems.
I read in the weekly magazine that comes out in the Sunday newspapers
that by the year 2000, agriculture would lose, through urban development, some
100 percent of its land in Florida. That sounds a bit extreme to me, and I
would like to know what the truth is to that projection. Secondly, the St.
Johns drainage basin represents the classic conflict between Secretary Varn's
concern about the wetlands and the use of those wetlands. On the one hand, it
is obvious that the wetlands are important to the river. On the other, those
wetlands represent a way of making a living for the farmers and ranchers. How
do you see the resolution to that conflict?
I have seen that report. It apparently came from an authoritative
source, but they were using a time period such as when the Disney property was
suddenly taken out of ranch land. Projecting that over so many years, you
will get a percentage that is going to ultimately end up in a zero agricul-
ture. We are losing too much prime agricultural land to urban expansion, to
shopping centers, highways, and industrial sites because of a lack of plan-
ning. But we are not going to run out of agricultural land. They cannot use
it up by the year 2000 even if we were the fastest growing part of the world.
It is something that should be flagged now. We should start working on using
our prime agriculture lands for the best purpose, and it would be hard to find
a better purpose than producing food.
I would not attempt to solve the wetlands problem. It is a matter of
priorities and of good discretion. We have in the State several areas where
prime agriculture production is taking place in wetland areas. During the
winter months, most of the eastern seaboard of the United States and much of
Canada depend almost entirely on these areas for their winter vegetables.
When you talk about vegetables, you are talking about a lot of wetland. It is
a matter of priorities. I do not think agriculture should destroy the water,
but I do not think we should forget about the importance of agriculture
either. The world has pretty well acknowledged that we are one of the only
reliable sources of food and that most other areas of the world are not. We
have been able to maintain a surplus which gives us untold strength in the
world scheme of things. It is the only thing that offsets, to some degree,
OPEC. The only hope this country has for economic survival is from the few
airplanes and chemicals we export, and an awful lot of soybeans, corn, wheat,
citrus, and things of that sort. Let's keep those things in mind as we plan
to supply our own and some of the world's needs. I am not saying that agri-
culture has the right to be destructive, and I hope I am not conveying that.
But if we let our people get hungry, everybody will be destructive because
there will be a mad, unguided, undirected scramble.
As a lay spokesman for the second oldest profession in the world, let me
assure you that we'll quit farming only after you stop eating.
Mr. Chairman, the oldest profession in the world could not exist without
Before we break up this love feast, I want to put out a couple of contro-
versial things. I have a very strong feeling that the water management agency
should not have control over the consumption of the water. That is a little
controversial in this group. I feel that the consumption of water and the
allocation of water should not be in the hands of those who physically manage
the water, or even in the hands of those who certify its quality. I think
that what is missing is a State policy for water allocation. It has got to be
done on a statewide level. It has to take into consideration all the local
and special interests. Until that policy comes, we are going to have this
struggle between economic and environmental interests. I challenge those that
are responsible for both the allocation and the management of water to address
that situation. If I were in the water management business, I think I would
prefer someone else to have the headache.
Another concern I have is that there is no viable program for acquiring
and preserving the wetlands of Florida. What little money our selection
committee has is meant to acquire not only wetlands but other endangered
lands, as well as recreational lands, and historical sites, etc. I do not
believe that the water management districts have the policy or legislative
direction or the political will to levy sufficient taxes in those districts
(provided they have the authority to buy the lands they need) to protect the
water supply. Until that is addressed directly, we are not going to solve
In regard to Jack Merriam's question about the IMC being the coordinating
committee to address many of the problems that we all recognize in water
management, let me say that I do not really believe that committee is
structured, or is charged, with that kind of responsibility. That committee
can address some of the general problems, and possibly some coordination
problems between agencies. But as far as being the coordinating committee for
the resource agencies, or for all the other agencies impacted by resource
management, I do not believe it can do that. I do not think it was so
I concur with Dr. Gissendanner about the need for a State water manage-
ment policy. I think it is only a matter of time until we will have it.
State water management policy will not be effective unless it is tied to a
State growth management policy and to a water user policy. We will have to
determine whether to have a growth policy to regulate water users or to have a
water use policy to regulate growth. They probably will have to be implement-
ed simultaneously. Growth is what is creating the problem for all of us. I
see no way to stop that growth. It stands to reason that it does have to be
controlled and directed.
It was refreshing to hear Elton recognizing fresh water. In our
Conservation, Recreation Lands Trust Fund Committee, he is constantly accusing
the Colonel and me of having blinders on, of being the freshwater guys while
he is the saltwater guy. I am sure this will be reflected when we meet for
the finalization of our lands list.
On Colonel Brantly's point about mixing water quality and quantity, it is
true you cannot separate them. But neither can you separate water and land.
What you do with the land affects the water, and what you do with the water
affects the land. If you look only at quality and quantity, you are only
looking at one small part of the problem. We have got to devise a system to
look at the problem of land and water. Our approaches have been somewhat
piecemeal. We have looked at quantity problems, quality problems, land use
problems, and water use problems separately while they are all part of the
same problem. Until we coordinate all these decisions, we are going to
continue to have a problem. What I am saying is that a dictatorship would
work fine because you would have one place to go for a decision. One of the
problems in a democracy is that we divide the baby up. On drinking water, for
example, HRS does part and I do part, and it doesn't work very well. We must
put somebody in charge even though it is a difficult thing for people when
they are told they are not going to be doing it. There can only be one
decision-maker in this process. Rightly or wrongly, I get the feeling that we
are moving today not by decision but by indecision. And that is a hell of a
way to run any program.
Some urban areas are running out of drinking water. We are going to have
to start talking conservation and altering the use habits for drinking water.
We have seen this with gasoline. People are now conserving gasoline. I think
we need to start thinking now about an adequate drinking water supply for this
Can I do my sermon on cheap water? We are not running out of water. We
are running out of cheap water. All we are talking about is who is going to
pay the price. And that is what water supply is all about: who is going to
get the cheap water and who is going to get the expensive water.
We have about four minutes left. I am going to reserve that for myself.
I am a farmer. There are two entities that I haven't heard mentioned
here today that to me are the most important. Number one is the people of
Florida. I think the people are our most important resource. And number two,
how did all this come about? I have to believe that God made it. In my
everyday existence as a farmer, I never cease to be amazed at the resiliency
of God's earth and His resources. There is a spring on my place that heads up
what is known as Nine Mile Creek. It comes out of a 10-inch clay hole and is
unadulterated, with no trash. It is just clear, pristine water. I guard that
spring with every resource I have. I know that if it is desecrated or
damaged, I cannot make another. The Department of Natural Resources, or the
water management districts, cannot make another spring. God made that spring.
I do not know the technicalities of how that water gets there, but it is
there, and it always amazes me to quit what I am doing to walk down to the
creek and get a drink of that clear, pure water. This is a resource we are
going to have to protect.
As I plant my crops, and put all the money I can borrow and beg into the
ground, or buy this tremendously expensive equipment financed for seven years
(but know it is going to be worn out in five), and put all this seed and
fertilizer into the ground, and then go out there one morning and find these
tiny plants budding up out of the soil, I have to know that I am working
pretty close to the hand of God. We are going to have to take these things
into consideration. We have the people of Florida with their pride, intelli-
gence, and expertise, and, when combined with leadership like we have on this
panel here today, I do not think we have anything to worry about. My grand-
father told me to worry about things in direct proportion to my ability to
alter them. Thus, I have only smile wrinkles. The job that these people on
this panel do lets them hold their heads up among the people of our State and
be proud. I would like to thank each one of them for serving on the panel.
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OF INTERSTATE RIVER BASINS
MR. RICH McWILLIAMS, Northwest Florida Water Management District,
MR. JOHN EHRENFELD, Chairman, New England River Basin Commission,
MR. JOEL FRISCH, U.S. Water Resources Council, Washington, D. C.
MR. CLAIR P. GUESS, JR., Executive Director, South Carolina Water
Resources Commission, Columbia, South Carolina
MR. JERRY HANSLER, Executive Director, Delaware River Basin Commission,
Washington, D. C.
MR. JAKE VARN, Secretary, Department of Environmental Regulation,
MR. CHRIS WHITE, Water Resource Program Manager, State of Georgia,
Interstate river basin management problems are certainly not new or
unique to any particular area of the United States. They have been recognized
and dealt with for years in many parts of the country--in the southeast it has
simply taken us a lot longer to perceive the need.
The National Water Commission (1973) has recommended Federal-Interstate
Compacts as "the preferred institutional arrangement for water resources plan-
ning and management in multistate regions." This arrangement is in use in two
areas of the country; however, there are also three large areas that rely on
Interagency Committees and seven areas served by River Basin Commissions.
From a national perspective, which of these arrangements has proven
successful (or not successful) and why?
Are there, perhaps, other methods that might serve as well, or better,
in the management of interstate river basins?
A U.S. Water Resources Council Level B Study has been proposed for the
Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin. The study was jointly proposed
by Alabama, Georgia, and Florida and will require about two years and a mil-
lion dollars to complete.
Is such an expenditure of time and money justified?
Given the issues involved, what is likely to be the outcome of the
If only the ACF Basin is considered, would any of the institutional
arrangements discussed earlier be appropriate to implement the study
recommendations? Would any of them be politically acceptable?
In the tristate area, there are at least six major river basins that
cross state lines: the Escambia, the Choctawhatchee, the Apalachicola, the
Ochlockonee, the Suwannee, and the St. Mary's.
If a Level B Study is needed in the ACF Basin, is it likely that
a similar effort is, or will be, needed in the others?
What problems are common to all of these basins and what options
are available to deal with them?
Would the best institutional arrangements for the ACF Basin be
appropriate to expand to cover all of our contiguous interstate
basins in the tristate area?
There are two Federal Interstate Compact Commissions in the country. One
is the Susquehanna River Basin Commission. The other is the Delaware River
Basin Commission. The DRBC, as we're known, was formed in 1961 after a lot of
pushing and pulling and hemming and hawing by four states, the federal
government, and diverse interests within the basin.
The problems in the area calling for a special arrangement were consider-
able. New York City is allowed, under a Supreme Court decree, to take 800
million gallons a day from the Delaware basin. New Jersey is allowed to take
100 million gallons a day from the basin. New York must release from its
reservoirs sufficient water to provide a flow of 1,750 cubic feet per second
on the main stem about where Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania have a common
boundary. There was also the problem of dividing the waste assimilation
capacity of this stream. Who was to say one state could develop the wetlands
for industry, casinos, or whatever, and another state couldn't? We had 146
fish species in the Delaware Bay relying on the food chain. The question was:
Should there not be a mediating agency to determine, on an equitable basis,
the water management policies of an interstate stream? Congress and four
state legislatures thought "yes," and they passed, in 1961, this Compact, which,
under the Constitution, has the effect of federal and state law.
The Compact requires certain things, including the development of a com-
prehensive plan and a body of programs, projects, rules, regulations, and
standards. The Compact also said that signatory parties of the Compact should
carry out the comprehensive plan elements wherever possible.
We've had the Compact for almost 20 years. We have a small agency, with 26
professionals and 42 positions total. If you look at the resources of the
signatory party agencies that work in water, there is the Corps of Engineers,
HUD, SCS, EPA (two regions), and four state environmental agencies. There are
probably over 5,000 people muddying the waters -- we're not a threat to those
bureaucracies. The Commission serves instead as an agency to set policy and
to mediate between the opposing parties.
The Commission has five members, including Secretary Andress, who was
appointed by the President, and theifour governors. Every action that the
Commission takes is binding and actions can be consummated by simple majority.
Federal government has only one vote. The four states each has a vote. Only
our budget and our annual water resources program require unanimous votes. In
the 19 years we've operated, we have set water quality and effluent standards.
Every project that has substantial effect on the basin, including a well of
100,000 gallons a day, requires DRBC review, approval, and permitting. If the
project is sound, there are no delays. If the project is not sound, it's im-
proved to the point it can be approved, or it's not approved. We review be-
tween 150 and 160 projects a year. Our water quality standards are constantly
being revised based on new information. Once a standard is adopted, it does
not need approval by EPA because the federal member voted for it, and the
Compact says when a federal member votes for a project, a rule, or a regula-
tion, all other agencies of the federal executive branch are bound by that
There's a strong case for an interstate river basin commission when you
have a highly utilized river serving as a common state boundary for some
distance. I lived in Atlanta for about four and a half years. The
Chattahoochee is ripe for a commission, as is any industrialized river that
has a large population on it. Some form, probably a limited one, of inter-
state federal compact would be a very useful tool in the management of that
resource. What is there now to stop Atlanta from taking twice as much water
out of the Chattahoochee by building another reservoir? As a result, your
salinity down here might be twice as great, and your instream uses and all the
treatment plants you designed would be obsolete because you won't have the
water for dilution.
The Southeast Basin's Interagency Committee started out as an authorized
study project funded by the federal government. It was to seek input from the
states and all federal agencies, and to study in detail and flag those areas
that needed improvement or had a potential for improvement. It covered the
area from the Savannah River in South Carolina to the Pearl River in
Mississippi and included all of Florida. That study ended and was published
in the early 1960's. Since that time, the projects have been activated, one
by one, either by the federal government or private enterprise. For example,
there will be, when the Russell Dam is completed, continuous power production
from North Carolina to Augusta, Georgia, with maybe 100 or 150 feet difference
between the high water marks of each of the reservoirs.
I have a personal interest in that area. I was a county agent there back
in 1939 and 1940 when that territory was a very highly eroded area. Soil con-
servation districts hadn't really taken hold then. The people were destitute
and moving off, and land was selling for 500 an acre. Maybe it was just by
luck, but today that 125 miles of stream is one of the major power production
areas in this whole country, and it is contributing tremendously to economic
and social growth.
When the original Commission published its report, each state stood
alone, except for having what you might call a "meet-and-eat" group of the
federal and the state interests. We had no authority to take action on any-
thing. We didn't even have the right to receive a federal grant, and
everybody ought to have that right. We sat there in limbo at first, but new
powers came along and we developed by degrees so that we have, I think, done a
pretty good job.
The new demand for energy will make us go back to review this same study.
I have an idea low-head dam projects will come from that. There will also be
projects for hydro plants using instream flow, and some small hydro plants
that were abandoned years ago in the Piedmont are now coming back on line.
As far as SEBIAC itself is concerned, it has no direction or anything to
bring about a dramatic change in the Southeastern Basin area except what is
done individually by the states. There are people who argue there is no com-
monality of interest in our area because the streams flow from the mountains
straight out to sea, and there are very few common-boundary streams over which
to fight. If you have in Florida, Georgia, and Alabama, as we have in South
Carolina, six, eight, or nine agencies that have to scrub every piece of linen
for each state, and you go into a river basin study under Level B, then you
must multiply that by three. When the federal interests are added on top of
that, no one will have very much authority. The Level B study will not solve
problems. In the absence of any other tool or initiative, or funding at a
level large enough to do the job, you're going to have to use the Level B to
find and define your problems and differences of view, and then start your
A lot of people have asked me where the hell it is, but there really isn't
a New England River. The New England River Basin is a Title II commission
established out of the Water Resources Planning Act of 1965. We are somewhat
of a planning agency or an interagency committee in that our functions are
largely planning. We are made up of representatives of the seven governors of
the six New England states plus New York, with representatives from each of
ten federal agencies that have an interest in water. We also have representa-
tives from a number of state agencies.
We have very limited authority. Our charge points to planning and man-
agement. Thinking about the future of your interstate waters here, and before
you make a commitment, I think it's very important that you figure out exactly
what you want. You may decide that what's needed is a very tough agency with
the same kind of powers across state lines that you have given to your water
management districts within the State here in Florida. It is a big political
decision that involves a lot of sovereignty. The existing compacts both came
as a consequence of fights that led to the Supreme Court, or would have led to
the Supreme Court. There are some state/state compacts in the West that are
probably in place because of disagreements that would have been fought with
guns instead of court decrees.
The compacts were formed under extreme conditions, but they are neces-
sary. An action taken this week indicates our effectiveness: to address a
severe water shortage in parts of the northeast, the Compact told one of its
states to stop using so much water. That is a brave, dramatic move to deal
with a problem that the 50 or 5,000 involved bureaucrats would have taken a
couple of years to do. An immediate problem can be solved immediately when
you give a compact the authority.
In your situation here, the problems and solutions are still unclear.
You have many options available, ranging from an interagency committee, which
can be useful in planning, to a river basin commission which has more con-
tinuity. The latter is intended to be permanent. It will have some degree of
permanency even if it hasn't authority. One of the major roles is to provide
coordination between states and between states and federal agencies. That co-
ordinative role is extremely important when water problems involve many
agencies with conflicting or confusing mandates. That coordination role can
lead to the solution of many problems.
Many conflicts can be resolved in the process of negotiation. If you are
interested in "optimum solutions," it's important to realize that "optimum"
can never be looked at in terms of a technical-maximization-computer-dynamic-
programming sense. Ultimately, all optimum solutions in water resource man-
agement have to be politically supportable because they do, in fact, represent
things that people want.
Whatever type of agency you pick, it will have to be politically well
connected and have to be able to translate the views of its constituents into
solutions. It can sometimes be done, painfully, without the authority or the
loss of sovereignty that goes along with the compacts. The key thing is to
take time and look at your problem. The Level B is a means of bringing to-
gether people to examine this and then pick the solution.
I first got exposed to the interstate river basin problems when I accom-
panied the Governor last year on a trip to Atlanta to meet with Governor
Busbee of Georgia and Governor James of Alabama. We were meeting concerning
the Apalachicola, Flint, and Chattahoochee river system. Out of that pro-
cess, I got my first exposure to interstate water problems and learned about
federal compacts and interstate river commissions. I don't have a national
perspective; I look at the problem from Florida's viewpoint. My view is that
it isn't the institution that solves the problem, it's the people. Get the
right blend of people together to solve the problem.
We haven't solved the problem of the Apalachicola, Flint, Chattahoochee
system, but we have brought a group of people together and we're making
progress. We are attempting to define what the problem is. I think, in too
many instances, we look for solutions before we understand the problem. Each
state will have different problems and different perspectives on what they
hope to accomplish and what they see the river system doing for them. I con-
cur wholeheartedly in the feeling that the optimum solution will bring into
being the almighty element of politics. The solution will be a political one
that we will have to be able to sell back home.
I'll tell you what we're trying to do in Georgia since some of the water
we manage will find its way down here. Our mismanagement or our good manage-
ment will be reflected. The mission I have is to put together a water manage-
ment program for Georgia. We will use the cooperative efforts of all the
federal and state agencies, lower levels of government, research institutes,
and consultants working in water resources. We intend to combine ground and
surface water management, and water quality and water quantity management into
one program. We don't intend to produce river basin plans or bound volumes of
plans. We intend to devise a strategy that will be responsive to demands for
information on alternative uses of Georgia's water resources. The Water
Resources Council is aiding our effort. The program that's being undertaken
in Florida is not too different from what we're doing. We're not as struc-
tured or as extensive as you, but I think the aim of both organizations will
be the same. This program will be located in the Department of Natural
Resources and the Environmental Protection Division. The Environmental
Protection Division is the focus of authority and responsibility for water re-
sources in Georgia. Water quality stewardship, allotments for the use of
ground and surface water, and the regulation of diversion are the keys to
water management. In Georgia, these responsibilities are located in the
Environmental Protection Division.
Georgia's organization and legislative base give us an opportunity to
integrate water management into a total environmental resource program. Since
the Environmental Protection Division has been assigned various environmental
resource management responsibilities and has received delegation of responsi-
bility from the United States Environmental Protection Agency, we have
arranged it so that management decisions on water pollution, hazardous wastes,
strip mining, air quality, and industrial siting are all co-located in the
Environmental Protection Division and will be coordinated with the Water
Resource Management Program. We hope to be able to identify and avoid some
problems through advanced planning. Although this is a new program, it will
be built onto a very effective existing water quality program and a ground-
water program that's receiving a lot of interest during the past year.
Much of our groundwater analysis is being done in the part of Georgia
that is closest to Tallahassee. That's where our agriculture interests have
expanded their ground water withdrawals. It's a problem we want to look at
I think a fair question is, "What happens when Georgia's water management
strategy reaches the state line?" This is a matter that needs careful study.
It seems obvious that interstate coordination will be required. But we're not
ready to say what the nature of that coordination should be. The Water
Resources Council, through the Corps of Engineers, within the past year recom-
mended establishing a regional, state, federal planning entity, such as a
river basin commission or a compact, in the Southeast. Neither your state nor
mine favored such an action at this time. We did not want to create an orga-
nization and then send it out to look for a mission. After we've analyzed our
problems and seen what sort of management arrangement is needed to ensure a
solution, then perhaps we can select a mechanism. To be successful, it will
require a level of cooperation between our states that has not existed in the
past. Fundamental to that will be mutual trust. I hope meetings such as this
one will be helpful.
We're all aware of the Apalachicola, Chattahoochee, Flint Level B Study
that may receive federal funding in FY 1982. It's my earnest hope that the
Level B Study will build upon studies already completed and that it will
direct much of its resources and attention toward the development of a manage-
ment strategy for the river system.
Water problems from a state or federal viewpoint are complex, and often
emotional, issues. This can be particularly true of interstate streams. I
hope that, as our work proceeds in Georgia and yours in Florida, we can put
together an effective coordination process. It should be one that will
provide a responsible forum for information exchange and will allow decisions
to be made from adequate and reliable data, and in view of the consequences on
both sides of the state line.
I'd like to start by reading a couple of sentences: "the importance of
clearly defined regional and national goals which water resource programs will
be designed to achieve;" "the necessity of planning for a river basin commis-
sion as a whole instead of having a patchwork of plans prepared by separate
agencies for separate purposes;" and "the importance of a single procedure for
determining whether the money to be invested in a river basin program will be
well spent." These came from "A Water Policy for the American People," which
was a report to the President's Water Resource Policy Commission presented to
Harry Truman in 1950. Have we done much in the last 30 years? Many of us
think so, but many people feel we're still trying to re-invent the wheel.
Since the Council came into existence in 1965, we have worked with several
institutional forms with a variety of planning programs, including the Title
II River Basin Commission, of which John Ehrenfeld is chairman. There are six
of them covering the entire northern half of the United States. There are
also two compact commissions, three interagency committees (Southeast Basins,
Arkansas White/Red Basins, and the Pacific Southwest). The Tennessee region
has TVA, and there are interstate and, in the past, field committees, and
we've worked with individual states in a planning program.
As to the question, "Are there alternative institutions?", I feel there
certainly are. The Council's current focus is on developing a meaningful plan
which can be implemented. We are more concerned with implementation than we
are with the form of institution. The Council's concern is not with the form
of the interstate regional institutional structure. We don't believe that a
single form can be prescribed to fit every need in the nation. We believe
that a regional institution must be able to respond to regional desires and
needs. And it must be structured so as to be acceptable to the administrative
and legislative arms of government. It seems to me that it has to serve the
unique character and concerns of the area. But if one can be defined and
created, it would serve the needs. It would be effective because it will be
responsive to local needs.
The Delaware River Basin Commission has a Level B Study Grant from the
Water Resources Council. In 1962, the Commission developed its Comprehensive
Plan. One of the keystones of it was the construction of a major main stem
reservoir called Tocks Island. In 1975, several governors and members of the
Commission, because of political pressure and pressure from environmentalists,
decided to put a hold on the Tocks Island project. It changed the entire
strategy of water management in the basin. The Commission said, "Well, let's
go to the Water Resources Council, get a grant to do a study and to make a
major mid-course correction in the Comprehensive Plan."
Political philosophies changed, so what had to change in managing the
river? That was while we were in the final throes of our Level B Study.
Level B is a process. It's a process to define what the problems are, and
there's always going to be a lot of disagreement over what those problems are.
You know what flow is necessary to sustain a certain salinity level in the
estuary for downstream uses. But there is going to be a debate on what
drought to design the system for. The process also involves all the public
interests: agricultural, hydropower, navigation, fish, water supply, and
health. In our process, some 3,500 copies of the final draft plan were
requested by individuals. We didn't have to worry about public participation
because they were interested and each had his own ax to grind.
During the Level B process, we have had about six or seven revisions to
our Comprehensive Plan before it was completed. There was agreement on some
problem areas and some solutions, and we put them in the Comp Plan because it
has the effect of state and federal law.
Level B is not intended to produce a document that sits on a shelf. I
think the greater strength you have in the interest groups within this tri-
river basin, and the interest you can generate in your State houses (both
executive branch and the legislative branch), are going to determine the
success of the Level B process.
I did pull that file on your proposed Level B Study before I came down
here. It originated in 1974 or maybe a little earlier. South Carolina is
involved with North Carolina in a Level B Study. According to the calendar
and the mandates from the Water Resources Council, it should be finished by
October. My first piece of advice is that, for a Level B Study, two years is
no time at all. If you are limited in your funding, I advise you to begin
your layout as to how you propose to tackle this. It's time to pull your
agencies and public interests together to see exactly what you want. I think
it's very premature to decide upon, or to have in mind, any institutional
arrangement until all the facts are in, until the priorities and the alterna-
tives have been given some sense of importance. When that is determined, the
local people from the three states will then have to make the judgment. If
there is a lack of agreement, you may have to go the compact route. I believe
it says that no state shall bear arms against the federal government. That's
the only protection the Feds have got. This may be the final institutional
arrangement that you might look for.
Short of a compact, you're dealing with a gentlemen's political agree-
ment. If each of the three legislatures passes legislation to the extent that
they're going to get along fine, it won't be worth the paper it's written on
unless it's consented to by the United States Congress. And that would be a
compact. I certainly favor the Level B Study you are now taking. You will
not have much time to spend gathering additional data. I'm assuming that you
have a tremendous amount of data, but where there are gaps you may just have
to say this is a piece of unfinished business that still needs to be funded.
You are going to find a lot of gaps for which there are no immediate answers
and which can be picked up perhaps at a later time.
Georgia has a water management strategy that is effective to the state
line. Do you want to accept that strategy or do you want to improve upon it?
Or would you like to somehow impose on Georgia an increase in their standards?
This is something that you can address around the conference table. If you
have a well-structured, conference table approach for giving and taking, I
think Level B funding and operation for two years should begin to put into
sharp focus where you want to go. It helped us. We're pointing to water
demands and watershed areas where we think industry has a better potential for
being located. We also find areas in which we think there should be little or
no development. By being able to isolate these, there is something tangible
over which you can negotiate or develop an institutional arrangement and
provide for it.
I think if you look at Level B planning as a whole in itself, you're
going to be very disappointed. It's going to take some commitment now to make
certain that an institution, whatever it is, survives the day you sign off the
plan. Solving the problems will not be accomplished. Very likely, it's going
to take years to do what that plan says. If there is not a conscious effort
to make certain that there is attention and emphasis on the institutional part
of the process, you can count on that plan gathering a lot of dust. I've
spent a good part of last year traveling that damn corridor between Boston and
Washington dealing with Level B's. They are very important. I have been
beating my friends in Washington about the ears, trying to improve the process
and make it live. You've got to realize, at the beginning, that the plan is
just a means to an end and that it takes a lot of work after it's done. It
has to have solutions that make sense to the engineer and to the guy out on
the farm. It's a very tough process, but I think it's exciting. It offers an
opportunity to deal with these problems that won't go away; they're only going
to get worse. This part of the country is growing. You're taking industry
away from the frost belt. After hearing about your problems today, I'm glad
you're getting them and we're losing them.
You have to be very conscious of continuity and the need to bring things
together over a very long period of time. If not, you will be like Christopher
Columbus. He was the first planner. When he left Europe, he didn't know where
he was going. When he got to America, he didn't know where he was, and the
whole damn thing was paid for out of the public treasury.
I appreciate the comments that are being made about Level B studies. They
point out an important fact and that is that we in Florida are a lot smarter
than we give ourselves credit for. What they are saying is that, if you're
going to deal with these types of water resource problems, you can't deal with
them in a patchwork program. We've got to be flexible and responsive to re-
Back in 1972, when the water management districts were created, we recog-
nized regional needs and the need to deal with water problems in basins.
That's the whole foundation on which we deal with our problems here in
Florida. Except for the fact that some of our basins extend up into Georgia
and Alabama, we've had little difficulty. We couldn't carry that one legis-
latively and so, consequently, we're here today talking about interstate com-
pacts, etc. But I think we've taken the right route. We are pursuing the
Level B Study on the AFC system; we're attempting to identify the problems.
The study will not, however, put any more water in the river. The good Lord
has given us a certain amount of water to deal with. I call it the "water
pie," and if Georgia wants to use part of it for recreational needs, and if we
want to use a part for instream flows to protect the Apalachicola estuary; and
if Alabama wants to use a portion for the generation for hydroelectric power,
the thing we have got to recognize is that all those uses are interrelated.
Who's going to be the "he-coon" who decides what the priority is? You can only
divide that water so many ways, and once you use up the whole pie, there ain't
no more. Hopefully, that's what the Level B Study's going to tell us. It's
going to tell us how much water we have and, on the other side of the ledger,
it's going to tell us what we'd like to do with it if we had all the water we
wanted. I'm afraid that what we're going to find when we get through with the
Study is that what we want is a lot more than what we got. Figuring out who
ain't going to get what he wants is really going to be one hell of a problem.
I think recent actions by the Council have added flexibility to the Level
B process so that you aren't bound to a structured plan. It is a big benefit
in a situation like we have. Georgia's rivers that flow from the Blue Ridge
get a lot of rainfall and are pretty significant. The Savannah, Chattahoochee,
and Coosa have been dammed where there's a favorable site for economic develop-
ment or storage for a variety of uses. I would be surprised if there's much
more of that going on except for water supply. Those won't be major dams. But
there are a lot of management options for the structures that are in place now.
The balancing of storage and flow against demands is the value and purpose of
the Level B. Our State plans to make a significant start on that this year --
before the funding is available. I think Florida plans to do so also. The
result will be improved management for the resource and better satisfaction of
all the needs. If we get that far and can make the results stick, I think it
will have been a great success.
The Level B program is a process to develop the strategies, policies,
programs, and projects for post-study implementation. It is not a detailed
project to come up with site drawings. It's a philosophy, a process. There
have been 19 Level B studies completed to date. If I get paid all year,
there's a good chance there will be 11 more done this year. There are nine
others scheduled between federal fiscal 1982 and 1983. A lot of them are over-
due. Four are funded through the budget process to begin this year. That
started October 1. The New England Commission has one on dredging disposed
materials. The ACF project was one of 17 proposals submitted to the Council
for fiscal 1982, with funding to begin next October 1. They're not all going
to be funded because of the way the system works.
I think it's a great proposal. It's attracted a lot of attention from the
senior Council staff and from member agencies. There are federal regulations
prohibiting me from saying how the Council ranked it in the package it sends
over to the President's Office of Management and Budget. I have been told by
people that don't work for the Council that it was ranked very high. We'll
find out when President Carter submits his budget to Congress at the end of
January, and all heck is going to break loose if you're in that, because
October 1 rolls around very soon and October 1 is when you can start drawing
Is the expenditure justified? The request is for about a million dollars.
Roughly $250,000 worth of time or money has been offered by the states either
through state, regional, or local funds and efforts. It is a 75/25 match. You
probably know the issues better than I do. Some of them have been mentioned
today: the navigation system, floodplains, wetlands, relationships to the
proposed National Estuarine Sanctuary, development of a comprehensive ground-
water management strategy, supply and quality issues, and what form of institu-
tion might be appropriate to ensure implementation. I think you've got the
answers. You submitted the application, and we thought it was great. But I
think if the issues that were spelled out in the application are analyzed, if
the evaluation of alternative solutions is conducted by the participating
federal, state, and regional entities, and if viable, implementable recommen-
dations are agreed to, I think the study is going to be well worth it. The
Council staff, assuming the study is funded, will be available to help the
sponsors arrange periodic meetings, review documents, and help pat and kick
B. T. LONGINO
Mr. Varn, I'd like to know just exactly what a Level B Study is.
Let me defer to the Water Resources Council. When we analyzed the differ-
ent alternatives that we had available, the WRC appeared to be the federal
fellows that had the deepest pockets, and that's where we ended up.
Before the Council was created, the Corps and the Bureau of Reclamation
and other federal agencies developed the Level A as a very broad-brush look at
a region and its problems. Level C is a pre-implementation study doing the
kind of detailed investigation of a specific site necessary just prior to con-
struction. The Level B is an intermediate process done after you have gone
through a state plan and a series of intrastate plans but you're not ready to
do any specific detailed design.
The Level B Plan is an exercise and a process by which you identify the
issues that need to be addressed. You look at alternatives and update the data
base using existing data. You also look at alternative approaches to resolving
issues, and you come up with some recommendations. There's public and federal
agency involvement. EPA will get involved if there's water quality, the Corps
will be involved, and sometimes Commerce or Navigation, depending on the
Jake Varn really defined it in his statement a few minutes ago. It's a
process by which you cut up a pie that has more eaters than there is pie.
Do agencies who deal with rivers that aren't interstate in nature qualify
for a Level B Study?
__ ______1__X**l__~___~_ I
You know, we've got five water management districts represented here and
four of them probably fell asleep while we were talking. I think you'll get
their attention if you say that Level B studies are available for a river that
starts in Florida and ends in Florida.
I can think of two current Level B studies that are entirely in a state.
One is in Alaska. The other hasn't begun yet. It is the Cape Fear Basin in
eastern North Carolina. That study was put into the system through the con-
The Level B Study we have underway relates wholely to the Apalachicola-
Chattahoochee-Flint system. I think, for example, it's possible that the St.
Mary's is eligible. It is an interstate system and that is exactly the type of
study that would best qualify for funding.
The State would have to be the sponsor.
That's no problem. We love those water management districts.
Thank you all very much. It is a real pleasure to have you all here and
to hear your comments and advice.
I 'A- _
BY GOVERNOR BOB GRAHAM
ANNUAL MEETING OF THE FLORIDA WATER MANAGEMENT DISTRICTS'
GOVERNING BOARD MEMBERS
Capital City Country Club
October 23, 1980
I want to let you know that this is one subject that I come by with some
real credentials. My father was a mining engineer. He was running a gold
mine in Leed, South Dakota in 1917 when the first world war started to get
cranked up, and he went into the Corps of Engineers. When he came back in
1919, the gold mine had closed down because they could not economically afford
to mine gold, which was then selling for $8 an ounce. That shows you a little
bit about what has happened to the economics of America since the end of the
first world war. He came down to south Florida as an engineer with a company
that was going to grow sugarcane in northwest Dade County. This company was
called the Pennsylvania Sugar Company, for which the town of Pennsuco was
named, where I grew up. They tried to raise sugarcane down there for about a
decade, and then, finally, hurricanes, floods, and the depression wiped them
out. He stayed and went into the dairy business.
One of the formative experiences of my youth occurred when I was about
ten years old. In the fall of 1947, there was a hurricane that came through
south Florida, and it was very wet, leaving a lot of water behind. About a
month later, a second hurricane came.
In the town of Pennsuco, we had a few well-built places--the dairy barn,
the feed barn, and a few houses. A lot of people would come and stay in our
house on a hurricane night, so there would be a whole bunch of us kids up on
the second floor. I remember waking up on the morning after the second hurri-
cane. I could see out of two windows; it was a solid sheet of water. We were
literally an island. In fact, we were more than an island because, when I
went downstairs, there were six inches of water on the first floor.
But, while we were standing up there looking out at all that water, one
of the adults commented that it was Columbus Day, 1947, and that, if Columbus
had arrived on this day instead of in 1492, he would have turned his boats
around and gone back.
That experience had a very formative effect on me as well as on my
father. My father had an interest in water management, which back then was
a euphemism for "How to get rid of it as fast as you can." That flood in 1947
caused him to become one of the major advocates for creation of the Central
and Southern Florida Flood Control District.
In many ways, the history of our State is the history of our efforts to
deal with water. The perspective of where our State is, and of where it wants
to go, is how we have dealt with this resource. The first of the agencies,
which you are now responsible for leading, were called flood control districts
because, in those early days, the only problem we had with water in Florida
was how to get rid of it. In Florida, the thing that was in the way most of
the time was water.
Agriculture was the predominant influence on the early flood control
boards. This was because the farmer, like my father, was one person who was
affected on a daily basis by how much or how little water was available.
These days, the broad range of interests, represented by the people who serve
on water management boards, reflects the more generalized concern about the
importance of this vital resource for all Floridians.
Just how vital is the resource of water? Some observers of natural re-
sources in America have begun to make an interesting, perhaps startling,
comparison. They comment, "If you thought the petroleum crunch was bad, wait
until the water crunch sets in here." There is a major difference when you
compare a shortage of oil with a shortage of water. There are alternative
sources of energy, but nowhere on the earth is there a substitute for water.
From the aqueducts of ancient Rome to those of modern California, the quality
and quantity of water have determined the course of civilization.
There's already considerable interest in water problems around the United
States and in this State of Florida. These are just a few recent articles
published on this subject. This is an article that appeared in the Forbes
Magazine of August 20, 1979, entitled "The Water Crisis: It's Almost Here."
It starts with an interesting poem from Rudyard Kipling:
You may speak of gin and beer
When you're quartered safe out here
But when it comes to slaughter
You will do your work on water
And lick the blooming boots
of him who's got it.
In the October 1979 issue of Bioscience, there was another article enti-
tled "Water: The Next Resource Crisis." And just within the last few days,
the Ortando Sentinal devoted its full Sunday section of September 28 to a
section on "Florida's Water: Clean It or Kill It." All of these are illus-
trative of the growing public interest and concern about how we deal with this
irreplaceable natural resource. It is no overstatement to say that the lead-
ership of the five water management districts will, to a great extent, control
the future of Florida. Accordingly, I have considered my appointments to
these districts to be among the most important that I will make as Governor.
We have an organizational structure for dealing with water issues in
Florida that has served, and will continue to serve, us well. The intent of
the Environmental Reorganization Act of 1975, and of those other enactments
which preceded it, was to merge water quality management with water quantity
management by meshing the Department of Environmental Regulation's
responsibilities with those of five hydrologically-based water management
districts. This approach to organization makes eminent good sense. Water is
clearly no longer an issue of local, or even regional, concern. Skeptics who
think otherwise need only to look at our western states, where we see paro-
chial approaches to water. Serious disputes over water in that western area
usually end up with region versus region in state court, or state against
state in the United States Supreme Court.
I have asked the Department of Environmental Regulation Secretary, Jake
Varn, to develop and adopt a State water policy this year. With the Depart-
ment's statewide overview and coordinating function, and with the various
water management districts' regional expertise, we should have a flexible,
workable structure to meet Florida's future water needs.
The next step is to integrate water resource management with land manage-
ment through the regional planning councils. It is my intention, pursuant to
legislation which was passed by the 1980 session of the Legislature, which
authorized one-third of the appointees to regional planning councils to be
made by the Governor, to appoint to each of the regional planning councils a
member of the appropriate water management district so that there will be a
close coordination of effort between these two important regional agencies.
When the regional planning council develops, for instance, decisions on
regional impacts, the concern about water use or abuse should be reflected
through this coordinated planning.
What are some of the necessary elements of a State water policy? First,
it should be definitive enough to provide for statewide consistency in the in-
terpretation of laws, but flexible enough for water management districts to
adopt specific programs tailored to their regional requirements. Such a
regional policy should be understandable, workable, and practical. I would
also add, given the rate at which Florida's population is growing, that we
need a water policy now. One statistic should bring this urgency home. Be-
tween 1980 and the year 2000, the United States of America will grow in popu-
lation by 38 million people. Between 1980 and the year 2000, the State of
Florida will grow in population by six million people. Better than one out of
six Americans in the next 20 years will be Floridians. That gives some notion
of the challenge that is before us in many areas, but none will be more chal-
lenging than how we respond toward the proper use of water. We've already
seen the "Water War Syndrome" in the Tampa Bay region. We're beginning to see
signs of it in other areas of the State: Charlotte Harbor, Brevard County,
Destin/Ft. Walton, and along the urban east coast. Florida needs a statewide
policy in place before water problems become water crises.
I would also expect a State water policy to include the following
1) It should protect natural water management systems, particularly wet-
lands and floodplains. Regulatory programs need to be strengthened and a high
priority given to the acquisition of wetlands, particularly those adjacent to
State sovereign lands. Earlier this week, I directed the State budget office,
as it prepares its budget recommendations to submit to the Legislature for the
1981 through 1983 biennium, to give priority to the development of a program
for expanded land acquisition -- particularly aimed at land acquisition which
will protect our critical freshwater resources.
'2)'=W-A sito'hdri eY fl-'df' WWnh W bTiyly' s1'foId be 'thl clWr'~fi tt4on of
t'he' statutty ?iear iMhg duP"'Ft'ta heibbttfheli % lu. UC.-; T)ICto tinm- i s- -hefr torio
nerrtb o' wae~ inget t F C a. C .P T rIhbiH8 s tattes prbpFIr I ,')-, >
require ithis"con t trvsblhbleebeefei'i sEP to"bhe 'ya'rdstick by which
water management' ti'strictV mc'ri irVH decisions oDtw vte cqIftnti-ty- permit's
It is essentialJ,- hdWever;" thr-i' the' StatW;ate r policy early- arti-clate' "-Ia i
factors which should be considered inT r ^ t -f~rtee~ftM dbf' ~ '-:
"reasonable-beneficial use," which is a vital measure of water use in the
public interest. -
3) 'The-plI a'n shdol'd t reqU tdi t hti lyrt0 dled Ses '-of- Water- be '-Ifmi ted t'or"'
reasonable beneficial uses and that'water conservation be a condition of water
use. The permitting p'rocess' 1 trtriia'l to enure that the theoretical goals
of policy become actual fact.
4')" It should contain' restrictions -on flood' hazar d- area 'development.
Floridians-c'an' n-o longer afford the al'l out "dig -it'' ditch1 it-, drain- it" '-
approach to deveop'ment';.''-We"'ve played 'a-l-1 'the' tricks on Mother Nature-t hatlwe
can- get away with. :- -..
5) It should be' required that' benefici'ar-ies- pay -for water management
works where that-is appropriate. *:i .---. ..... : -
6) It should provide for the control an'd treatment'of storm waatercrun-6'
off. New development in Florida should be required to retain runoff to
approximately previous conditions;.-'Control 'of'existing runoff problems'should
be dealt.with-on a' long-term', cost e'ffective- basis. -
Working together, the Department of Environmental Regulation and the five
water management-districts' should develop'solutions to Florida,',swater-
resource problems which'are-cons'istent'with overall State policy. These '-
solutions should'be detailed and area specific. -These plans'should-'b impPTe
mented through regional districts -- as recommended by the Resource-Management
Task Force. They should be modified as the State water policy is revised. I
envision the Department of' Evironmental Regulation delegating more'and' more
of-its duties'to its'district offices,'or to water-management districts -' '
directly; so'that the decisions can'be"made-as close as possible-to-the place
where those decisions w'll'be" implemented; 'But that-will only-work-if-those'
decisions are enlightened, hot paroch'ial,-bec'ause; as we've seen over' the-''-
years,"'ater'problems transcend local o titical boundaries;- "
Water management districts, along with regional planning councils,-must
come to grips with how to respond to a number of regional issues that are on
Florida's horizon."'If we' re-to asSimilate"six'million-additional Floridians
in the next 20 years, while maintaining the quality of our environment-and- -
providing a strong and prosperous economic base, it will require the creation
of governmental institutions that are larger than our traditional local
governments, yet' smaller-than'thb State'as a whole, in order to respond to
particular local'cohditions ... -..... -
I foresee the water management districts playing an evolving role in
meeting some of these new challenges which our people will look to government
to provide. We already are seeing water management districts becoming
involved in water supply issues. A good example is the recent assumption of
the Florida Keys' Aqueduct by the South Florida Water Management District.
Another area in which water management districts are going to become in-
creasingly involved is in providing for solid waste disposal. The Department
of Environmental Regulation recently conducted a study that revealed that cer-
tain hazardous waste-dumping sites might contaminate drinking water supplies
in some areas of Florida. Cooperation will become increasingly important as
the State's population grows and the interrelation of all of our natural
resources becomes more and more obvious. The disposal of solid waste will be
an increasing concern of water management districts.
Florida has been blessed with abundant water. In the past, we have been
able to look upon this as a resource virtually without end. But, in what has
been called an era of shortages, the effective use of water will surely be one
of our major challenges. The leadership provided by many of you here tonight
will, to a great extent, determine the future of Florida.
. ri'* I"
THE VIEW OF THE LEGISLATURE, 1980
HON. BUDDY RUNNELS, Northwest Florida Water Management District
Governing Board, Destin, Florida
HON. ROBERT W. McKNIGHT, State Senator, District 38, Miami, Florida
HON. SHERRILL N. SKINNER, State Senator, District 5, Lake City, Florida
HON. CHARLES R. SMITH, State Representative, District 36, Brooksville,
HON. JAMES HAROLD THOMPSON, State Representative, District 10, Quincy,
HON. ALAN TRASK, State Senator, District 13, Ft. Meade, Florida
Legislation proposed during the 1980 legislative session called for a
more definitive expression of State water policy and stronger State control
over the water management districts. Proposed legislation further provides
for substituting water management districts for regional water supply
authorities, which would heavily involve the water management districts in
Is there a need for stronger State control of water management
functions or are the policies and procedures presently contained
in Chapter 373, F. S., working satisfactorily on a regional basis?
Should the water management districts become more heavily involved
in regional water supplies? Are there other State, regional, or
local water programs that could be efficiently coordinated and
managed through consolidation with the existing programs of the
water management districts?
A major recommendation of Governor Graham's Resource Management Task
Force is that a "long-range goal of the State should be the consolidation of
the many regional agencies into one regional land and water resource manage-
ment agency -- (to be) responsible for planning, regulation and delivery of
services in those limited issues and service problems that require regional
Is there a need for a single, regional agency to perform all or most
of the regional resource management functions?
Would the existing water management districts be the appropriate
agency to fulfill these responsibilities? If not, what existing
or new agency should be charged with these responsibilities, or
what changes would have to be made to the present water management
The Auditor General's office published a report which served as a review
of the legislative and administrative structure of the State's water manage-
ment program. The recommendations in the report are based on the assumption
that water management functions should be consolidated at the State level with
water management districts serving as field offices to the DER. The report
clearly indicates the Auditor's conceptual disagreement with the Governing
Board concept. This report seems to be directly opposed to the legislative
declaration of policy as contained in Section 373.013 (3), F. S., which
states, "The Legislature recognizes that the water resource problems of the
State vary from region to region, both in magnitude and complexity. It is,
therefore, the intent of the Legislature to vest in the Department of Environ-
mental Regulation or its successor agency the power and responsibility to
accomplish the conservation, protection, management, and control of the waters
of the State and with sufficient flexibility and discretion to accomplish
these ends through delegation of appropriate powers to the various water
management districts. The Department may exercise any power herein authorized
to be exercised by a water management district; however, to the greatest
extent practicable, such power should be delegated to the governing board of a
water management district."
Did the Auditor General's report miss the mark?
The basic philosophy for funding the water management districts is as
stated in Chapter 373, Florida Statutes: "The Department (DER) may allocate
to the water management districts, from funds appropriated to the Department,
such sums as may be deemed necessary to defray the costs of the administra-
tive, regulatory, and other activities of the districts. It is the finding of
the Legislature that the general regulatory and administrative functions of
the districts herein authorized are of general benefit to the people of the
State and should substantially be financed by general appropriations. Further,
it is the finding of the Legislature that water resources programs of particu-
lar benefit to limited segments of the population should be financed by those
most directly benefited." The Water Resources Act also provides, in Section
373.498, funds through the Water Resources Development Account for "construct-
ing the works of said district, for the acquisition of lands for water storage
areas, for highway bridge construction, and for administration and promotion."
In developing budget requests, the budget administrators of the Department of
Environmental Regulation have interpreted this to mean that the planning and
regulatory programs of the districts may be funded from general revenue and
other programs of less than statewide benefit should be funded using ad
valorem tax funds.
There has never been an official policy or direction relative to general
revenue funding of programs of the water management district, even though
there have been at least two task forces reviewing this issue and a number of
formal and informal meetings at which the subject was discussed. It would
appear from the law that general revenues could be used for all activities of
the districts and Water Resources Development Account funds may be used to
construct works, land acquisition, or for administration.
What philosophy should prevail in determining the appropriate
sources of funds to be used to support the various programs of
the water management districts and who should provide the direction?
I'm from the area down in central Florida where we've got a couple of
regional water authorities. We've got the big battle of this decade in the
range and water war between Pinellas and Pasco counties. It's been a very hot
issue and people are polarized. They are very much interested in seeing more
control at the State level. The local officials making the decisions also
seem to want to get the issue out of their hands. Looking at it from the
legislative standpoint, I think that we should have a written statewide water
policy. I also think we've got sufficient variations in our water management
districts and water problems throughout the State, that there should be a lot
of latitude in those various water management districts. I think they should
be the strong, controlling force in water throughout the State.
We've got regional water authorities in our area. Some people like them
and some people don't. It certainly appears that they are performing a good
function in the distribution of water. There's nothing wrong with having that
separate entity to perform that function within the broad overall policy.
My thinking on water management, and especially on what it has to do with
water quantity, is that it necessarily includes trying to provide water for
people. If there is a proliferation of water supply authorities, that would
violate the boundaries of the water management districts and would dilute the
need for the water management districts.
I personally like the concept of water management districts. I also like
the way the Governing Board members are appointed rather than elected. This
gives them an independence that they need in order to make some hard decisions
without worrying about the political consequences.
If you agree that the concept of water management districts is a good
idea and that they should control water quantity, then I don't see how you
could be in favor of a proliferation of water supply authorities. I say that
because I'm from northwest Florida where we don't have a problem, or any water
supply authorities. I think most of the House members agree with that.
Does the State need to step in and do something more definitive in regard
to water management and water policy? We worked with that idea in the Legis-
lature and decided that water policy, as set out in the statutes, is a bit
nebulous, or maybe an awful lot nebulous. But it is vague by necessity. The
management of, and coordination of, water policy will depend an awful lot on
who is secretary of the Department of Environmental Regulation. If you give
too much power to the State, however, you will violate the concept of inde-
pendent water management districts. We decided that significant changes in
that regard would not be necessary.
Is there a need for stronger State control of water management functions?
I do not believe that the people of Florida recognize, in general, that we
have a water problem. With all due respect to my colleagues, I'm not even
sure that a sufficient number of the legislative members recognize the
problem. We still have a distinct lack of understanding about the water
management districts. I am from the area of Florida that had the first one,
the Southwest Florida Water Management District, and I am still explaining to
some people that they do, in fact, pay taxes to support it. The job that each
of us has to do initially is to make sure that people understand where we are
I am a strong supporter of water management districts. I was elated last
night to hear the Governor recognize floodplain zoning regulations. People
are against this type of regulation until their houses are under water and
then they criticize you for not stopping them from building. We recently had
it happen in our county as a result of flash flooding on the Withlacoochee.
While flying over that area, it became perfectly obvious to me that none of
those homes should have ever been built there. The State is going to have to
determine appropriate regulations for floodplain zoning. I was instrumental
in helping form the Withlacoochee Regional Water Supply Authority -- for all
the wrong reasons. Even today, some of its members still think it's a regula-
tory authority. It is not and it should not be. At that point in time, we
were operating in a self-defense posture and we felt that what was good for
Pinellas should be good for Hernando, Citrus, Marion, Sumter, and so on.
The question of eminent domain is one that needs to be resolved. I can-
not comprehend how we can address a State water policy so long as we allow
units of local government to exercise the powers of eminent domain outside
their jurisdictions. That is the first step we need to take, because local
governments cannot resolve this issue. The issue is not water so much as it
is an encroachment on jurisdiction. It was interesting to present to the
water-starved west coast the argument that our primary concern was that if
they took our water, our area would be robbed of its future growth potential.
Pinellas used it as an argument to get water; and when we used it as a
counterargument, they called it "dirty pool." This experience indicates to me
that we can't resolve this kind of problem on a local governmental level.
Obviously, the next step is the State level. The House had a good run at it
this year. I am sorry that the Senate didn't follow our leadership and carry
through on it. It was a good piece of legislation and it's going to rear its
I do not believe that we need to structurally change anything; we just
need to improve on what we've got. I think the water management districts are
responsive. The thing that impresses me about them is that the board members
are people just like me. They are involved and own property, and they are not
going to intentionally make decisions that are not in the best public interest.
I like the concept and I would not like to see it changed. We just need to
make it better. The appropriate first measure is to follow the Governor's
suggestion that the secretary of the Department of Environmental Regulation
should formulate, within the executive branch, a State water policy.
On the second question, concerning whether procedures contained in Chap-
ter 373 are presently working satisfactorily on a regional basis, I can say I
think they are. The suggestion the Governor made last night is a real chal-
lenge. After the issue of a statewide water policy is determined, and there
has been some fine-tuning of Chapter 373 and the water management districts, I
believe the next step will be an attempt to merge water and land management.
I have some reservations about that. I have long contended that, once the
State comprehensive plan is in effect, there will be a reduced involvement of
regional planning councils but a continued involvement of water management
districts. I really don't understand how he intends to merge those two.
There was a suggestion, prior to the last legislative session, to let the
water management districts take over the regional planning function, and most
of the participants here elected not to support that.
The next question is: Should the water management districts be more
heavily involved in regional water supplies? I am uncertain on that, but I
think the water management districts have sufficient authority to work with
those existing supply authorities. If they do need expanded legislation or
statutory authority, I would like to sit down and review it with them. The
Southwest Florida Water Management District problem is unique. For the most
part, the issue of regional water authority interfacing with water management,
and the question of expanding or reducing that interface, is largely a local
Are there other State, regional, or local water programs that could be
more effectively coordinated and managed through consolidation of existing
programs? That's the purpose of this meeting. You tell us. We have a fed-
eral 208 program, a Department of Community Affairs, and the regional planning
councils. It would be my hope that when this panel discussion is over and
before we legislators meet in Tallahassee, that we will have a chance for you
to tell us if further consolidation is possible. My judgment is that the less
we meddle with y'all, the better off we are.
Last night, Governor Graham laid the matter out very clearly when he
addressed the issue of whether we have a problem now or whether we are
anticipating future problems, we do need to recognize that the funding for
water management is a big dollar item. Ad valorem taxing power is a question
the Legislature is very sensitive about. There does need to be more legisla-
tive involvement in the appropriations process. Senator Gordon feels the same
way. I personally think we ought to be writing water management district
budgets, but we need to work very closely with the Governing Boards on
accountability and the proper expenditure of already significant dollars.
Those kinds of things will remain issues for the upcoming session of the
This business of water management is nothing really new for me. I am a
very strong believer in the water management district concept. The Suwannee
River flows right down through the middle of the district I represent.
There's been a discussion, from time to time, about somehow moving water from
that river to other places in Florida. I took a real interest in this
business when that idea was first proposed.
The water management people we're working with today really have sound
judgment. I don't think they are interested in expanding their role at the
expense of others. But on the other hand, what do we know about the situation
ten years from now? Where are we going to be? Water is not an infinite
resource. There is just so much of it and we're not getting any more. They
are projecting that within 15 years there will be 18 million people in the
State of Florida. Certain places in Florida are already suffering water
shortages, and we are talking about doubling the population over a 15-year I
period. Whatever the policy, there are a lot of people in the State who are
not going to like it. We're going to have to do something nobody seems to
want. We're going to have to deal with water as a factor in growth manage-
ment. When somebody comes along and starts talking about putting in 500 new
homes in a given area, the questions we're going to have to ask are, "Do we
have the water?" and "Is there water to meet the needs of those people?"
The answer sometimes is going to be, "No." Who's going to tell the developer
that he is not going to build those 500 new homes? Should the water manage-
ment districts do it? Should we have a statewide policy that speaks to the
issue before we ever get to that point? Unpopular decisions need to be made
at a level as close to the people affected as possible. That would be by an
appointed water management district board. I
Thank you very much, Senator Skinner. We really have fallen down in our
charge to the public by not letting them know what the districts do. When we I
ran our tax notice and public hearings, people came not so much to complain
about the tax, but to ask what in the hell it was for. This is predominant
throughout the State, and it's something that our districts, chairmen and
directors need to address. Perhaps it should be done collectively in a vast I
I don't think putting the various regional agencies together under one
agency is good. That's been tried at Health and Rehabilitative Services. My
personal feeling is that government serves better when there is a clear divi-
sion in duties and responsibilities. In the area of water management, and
especially in regard to water quantity, we in the Legislature know who's re-
sponsible. I imagine most of you who serve on water management district
boards also are aware of that because people don't mind calling you and tell-
ing you what they think. If they have a complaint, it's responded to quickly.
When you start accumulating too many functions in an agency, you lose some of
that responsiveness to the public. We should be in no hurry to try to join
all of these functions just because it looks good on a chart somewhere. We
did that with Health and Rehabilitative Services, and one of the first things
that I participated on in the Legislature was to try to divide out some of
that stuff so we could figure out who was responsible for what and do a little I
bit more finger pointing.
The second question concerns the existing water management districts
being good agencies to use in the event that you choose to consolidate respon-
sibilities. They wouldn't be bad because they are already based on geographi-
cal considerations. If you lump land use with water use, then it does make
sense. I'm not so sure, however, that water management districts would be
better than the regional planning councils or some other agency. I would be
very reluctant to rush into consolidating these functions for the sake of
saying it's more concise, or because it looks better on an organizational
REPRESENTATIVE SMITH I
It appears to me that we constantly seem to lose sight of the fact that
we all represent the same constituency. I served on a regional planning
council for a number of years. Initially it was made up of elected officials.
You could see a change in thinking come about as the elected officials from
five counties began to realize that they didn't really want to be an island
unto themselves and that there were governmental concerns that transcended
county boundaries. We're skirting the real issue in government, and that is
that we do not have the type of intergovernmental cooperation we should have.
As an example, water management districts are not getting into land planning
because that has not been their role and they're not staffed for it. The
regional planning council should use the water management district. In the
DRI process, the regional planning council should not staff hydrologists
because we already have that expertise at the water management level. Our
problem is really intergovernmental cooperation. There is no need to reorga-
nize, or to think in terms of super agencies. If this requires a legislative
mandate, then so be it.
I like the concept of regional planning councils made up of elected
officials. In the final analysis, most of the decisions are going to be made
by units of local government. We really need to look at our structure and to
assign responsibilities to those units that have the staff capabilities and
expertise to address particular problems. I don't see a need for a super
agency, but I do see a need to bring about better coordination of what we have
now and to make sure that the agency charged with a particular responsibility
does, in fact, carry it out.
I find no particular merit in reorganizing for reorganization's sake. It
reminds me of some special interest groups that somehow find themselves stuck
within an agency and feeling they are being overlooked and, therefore, wanting
a new agency. There's no need for a single agency because it's going to be
terribly difficult to come up with one policy to meet the needs for the entire
State of Florida.
I agree with my colleagues that we don't need to define statutorily a
single regional agency. My reasons are different than those of my colleagues.
I'm not so sure that when a governmental agency accepts a regulatory function
that there isn't some conflict of interest for it to be in a business subject
to those regulations. I'm also not sure we could define a single super agency
on a regional basis that would be a regulator. As I understand the Governor's
request, this agency should have planning, regulation, and delivery of
services. I'm concerned because of the importance of the issue. This isn't
just water, it's land planning, private property rights, and everything else.
I'm concerned philosophically about a potential conflict of regulatory powers
with the delivery of services and management.
I can recall going all over this State arguing back and forth in 1976
when we defined the boundaries of the water management districts on a hydro-
logical basis. When you take a regional planning function and try to mesh it
together in a district with land planning, land use, water supply, and water
quality, they won't mesh. One is based on geographical and political consid-
erations, and the other on hydrological considerations.
Local communities ought to be able to make a determination of what their
highest and best uses are, consistent with goals and priorities established
under our State comprehensive plan and their local zoning requirements. If
you create a super agency that's got the whole ball of wax in addition to not
having a reasonable mesh, I think you will preempt the locals from making the
kind of decisions they want in their own communities. I oppose a single
Should water management districts do it? I don't think anybody ought to
do it. The Department of Environmental Regulation has got rule-making author-
ity. That's probably all the kind of meddling you need. If you come to us
and say, "We'd like 373 fine-tuned a little bit to define a little more
clearly what roles and responsibilities we have in the area of water supply,
quantity, and quality, and we feel legitimately we ought to be over in the
land planning area a little bit," I'd be willing to consider it. But my in-
clination is that separation is most appropriate.
We panelists here are all in agreement. There is no need for another
agency. When you're looking at the function of the water management dis-
tricts, you're looking at supplying water and at quantity management. The
Department of Environmental Regulation primarily has quality management not
only of water, but land also. I think the present division of responsibility
is quite adequate. If we need to fine-tune a little, then better horizontal
communication, rather than vertical control, might be the answer. I don't see
much wrong with the water management districts playing, under the Department
of Environmental Regulation, a greater part in quality control if that is the
most efficient way. I am opposed to adding another layer of government. It's
expensive and cumbersome, and it slows down the process.
The next question has to do with a report the Auditor General did. Did
he miss the mark and what is being done with that report?
I don't want to see the water management district subservient to anyone,
including DER. The Auditor General's office stated that they want the water
management districts to act as some sort of subagent to DER. I don't read
Chapter 373 that way. But I think 373 is confusing and as contradictory as it
possibly can be. It spells out a role for the water management districts in
one instance and then contradicts itself concerning the role of DER. I have
all sorts of fears about DER becoming the controlling agency of the water
management districts. I can see some real problems if we go in that direc-
tion. Maybe that's being unfair on my part, but DER seems to me to be a super
agency in this particular field. I think the water management districts
should keep as much integrity and autonomy as they possibly can.
Leaving out everything except the question you've asked, I think he is
wrong. I'm not so sure he might not have raised a question that was germane
two, three, or four years ago. At that time, there was a very, very difficult
reorganization of DER and DNR as well. There was some difficulty with water
management districts vis-a-vis DER. Largely through the leadership of
Secretary Varn, that kind of potential friction was pretty well eliminated.
The relationship now seems to be a proper one, and there seems to be coordina-
tion. There doesn't seem to be disagreement in terms of actual operation and
jurisdiction. The Auditor General's remarks, which are fine and I'd be
interested in chatting with him about them, are probably not appropriate in
light of the good working relationship between the districts and Secretary
I agree the remarks are out of order. The legislative intent in 373 is
clear: "The Legislature recognizes that the resource problems vary from
region to region, both in magnitude and complexity." The various water man-
agement districts do have tremendous differences in regional problems. The
Auditor General's statements are not consistent with that legislative intent.
I'd be very interested in some of the districts' reactions or suggestions
concerning what we ought to be doing as we look at the need to properly fund
the water management districts. All of us have wrestled with some of the
technical questions about how your administrative costs are funded, but I'd be
appreciative of any comments or reactions from the districts. It is a very
timely issue for us to confront.
In terms of funding, we've been very fortunate. We've gotten the federal
government to pick up some of the tab for things that we should be doing in
northwest Florida. These include industrial water availability, regional
water supply development plans, groundwater aquifer studies, and other things
in addition to our office buildings. These funds have come from the federal
government. If we get into a national crunch, our operations are going to be
somewhat constrained, and you may be seeing us at the door for a few more
If you're looking for someone who can attest to the differences between
the districts, I can give you my personal experiences from seven years at
Southwest Florida Water Management District and a year at St. Johns.
As far as the funding part of it goes, you'll remember that when the
Legislature put together the operational and administrative funding for the
water management districts, it was really aimed at the three new districts
which did not have ad valorem taxing capabilities. The two older districts
had taxing capability and were not interested in having their administrative
functions funded. What the older districts were seeking was support of their
federal projects. Some 99 percent of the funds received by those two dis-
tricts prior to 1974 was for those federal projects. Everyone seems to think
that the water management districts are going to the Legislature seeking
funding for all their programs. That is not true. Ray Beville, Chairman of
the St. Johns Board, can tell you whether or not our district is looking to the
Legislature to fund our administrative functions. We aren't, but we do have
a problem on the St. Johns River that is not going to be resolved through ad
valorem taxes. I guess it could be, but it would take about 50 years and the
river ain't going to last that long. Our taxing capability right now is .375
mills. The constitution gives us up to a full mill. If we were to levy our
full taxing capability right now, we could put perhaps three or four million
dollars a year into land acquisition. Investing three to four million dollars
a year, it would take us about 25 years to buy the land the river needs.
The St. Johns River has some real problems regarding water quality.
What do you want to do with your money?
You can't really separate water quantity and quality. The St. Johns
River is a crying example of why you can't. One of the biggest problems on g
that river is what to do with the water in a given rainstorm on the very
little amount of land that you've got to handle it with. When that water
passes on downstream, it has a quality problem because it hasn't benefited
from the marsh systems that were there to clean it up naturally. To resolve
the whole problem, we need to acquire land for water storage and to mitigate
the flooding that we know is going to take place after the first big storm.
There's going to be a State disaster over there. And, secondly, we need those |
marshlands to provide the kidney action on the water. Immediately downstream, |
there are over two or three hundred thousand people drinking out of Lake
Washington. It was immediately downstream that we had major fish kills this
The dilemma the St. Johns River Water Management District faces is a very
serious philosophical one. The solution to their problem is dollars, and that I
decision's got to be made on a number of levels. Is it a State priority, or
is this a burden to be born by the citizens within that district? The State
of Florida has provided ample general revenue funds to assist south Florida in I
flood control projects. Personally, I believe that the people who benefit
ought to be the ones who pay for it. The other side of that coin is that, from
an environmental standpoint, we would prefer to buy a lot of land over there.
Environmentally, we and the State would be better off. There is a federal
sugar daddy that will send them money to structure that dude, and the Corps of
Engineers to build all their glamorous structures. I don't think that's the
way to do it, but if we in the State can't come up with a way to provide I
money, we will have to let them build their dams and structures. As we
address the issue of the St. Johns, we will have to resolve whether to use g
general revenue funds or to raise ad valorem taxing capabilities. I see some i
precedent being established here in terms of a philosophy about where this
State is going in water management. It will have implications for a long time
to come. Sooner or later we're going to have to bite that bullet. I
This is a question concerning regional or statewide interests. I'd i
venture to say that our conservation areas in the Everglades are of statewide |
interest. South Florida has continuously fought legal battles with rock
mining operations, oil explorations, and other people wanting access to this
property. We feel that we need State funding for this statewide interest.
And it is for land acquisition that we feel we need State funding.
Going back to the issue of funding, let me say that general administra-
tion can be handled from ad valorem taxes. We do, however, need funds from
the Legislature for large land acquisitions and for public works projects. i
In 1974, at the request of the Senate Appropriations Committee, we requested n
funds for the Green Swamp. The Legislature appropriated almost 14 million
dollars. When we got into the budgetary crisis of 1975, that money was
withdrawn from us, with instructions to try for the Environmentally Endangered
Lands funds. We've been trying to do that for the past five years. The
Legislature and Governor Askew took that approach in 1974. If I understood it
right last night, Governor Graham stated that land acquisition by water man-
agement districts was a priority. The problem we've had since 1974 has been
an executive branch staff or a legislative staff thinking that, as a result of
the Water Resources Act passing, all funding should be by local ad valorem
tax. I think both Governor Askew and Governor Graham have said that major
capital outlay money should continue to come from the Legislature. The South-
west Florida Water Management District differs from the others. We are broken
into river watershed basins, and the ad valorem funds we could use to acquire
land within the Green Swamp cannot come from the other basins around the dis-
trict, where we have 75 percent of our taxing capability. I think the
Legislature should continue to fund capital outlays specifically for land
I have no problem agreeing with what you're saying. My concern has been
growing about the eventual replacement of all those water control structures
in south Florida. I don't know how quickly they deteriorate but, if you've
ever been up in a helicopter, the control structures sprinkled around Lake
Okeechobee are mind boggling. And most, if not all, of them went in on a
federal/local funding match. If you add that to the land acquisition you're
talking about, this group might want to sit down and consider some kind of
statutory change. The present language indicates that a "water resources pro-
gram of particular benefit to limited segments of the population should be
financed by those most directly benefited." The interpretation of that is
critical. I happen to think that all of the citizens in this State are
entitled to pure, clean water and that water should be declared a statewide
resource. As best we can, we should tailor regional and local use to let
local people pay for it. But when you look at the potential aggregate dollar
amount of money to replace all those control structures and to buy the land
needed, y'all are going to set a record in terms of potential financing
requirements. You do need to sit down with your legal counsels and take a
serious look at 373.
Thank you, Senator, and thank all of you for your participation.
~ '~rr'&~ 2
.4, rc' 2
WHAT WAS INTENDED AND WHAT IT IS
HON. TOM COLDEWEY, Vice Chairman, Northwest Florida Water Management
District Governing Board, Port St. Joe, Florida
MR. L. M. (BUDDY) BLAIN, representing the Southwest Florida Water Manage-
ment District in the Florida Legislature, 1972, Tampa, Florida
MR. FRANK CALDWELL, Staff Director, House Select Committee on Water
Resource Management, 1972, Tallahassee, Florida
HON. GUS CRAIG, Chairman, House Natural Resources Committee, 1972,
St. Augustine, Florida
HON. DON CRANE, State Representative on House Natural Resources
Committee, 1972, St. Petersburg, Florida
DR. JOHN DEGROVE, Chairman, Governor's Conference on Water Management in
South Florida, 1971, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
In 1972, the State of Florida moved dramatically away from its laissez
faire attitude on resource management. That year witnessed the passage of the
Environmental Land and Water Management Act, the Comprehensive Planning Act,
and the Water Resources Act. Together, these provided a comprehensive and
nationally unique program for management of the State's resources.
What were the special conditions and attitudes regarding Florida's
Natural resources that precipitated this action by the Legislature?
What special conditions existed within State government that facili-
tated passage of these exceptional acts?
During every year and every legislative session since 1972, one or more
aspects of at least one of the resource management acts has been "reviewed."
Of particular interest has been the Development of Regional Impact process;
the separation of water quality and water quantity administration; the lack of
a State water plan and policy; the ad valorem taxing power of the water
management districts' appointed Governing Boards; the optimum organization for
regional water supply; regulation and service delivery functions in the same
agency; the "general supervisory authority" of DER over the water management
districts; the constitutional millage cap of the northwest district; and State
versus local funding of water management district programs.
Is the scheme for managing Florida's natural resources working as
Given the widely acknowledged achievements of water management activities
in Florida since 1972, are the above issues currently significant, or
should they be characterized as "just a few loose ends?"
The resource management question presently receiving the most attention 1
is the issue of "statewide versus regionally specific programs and regula-
tions." For example, in May 1980, the Auditor General of the State of Florida
issued the following report: "...we recommend that the Legislature revise the
responsibilities of DER and the water management districts so that:
DER can establish effective management control; 1
DER can use planning effectively to guide the State program;
Operations will be more efficient by consolidating water regu-
DER will be accountable for all water management program results;
Water management districts will serve as field offices for water-
related activities under DER promulgated policies, rules, and
Is resource management, and water management specifically, best
administered at the regional or at the statewide level?
To refresh my memory about what the conditions were in 1971 and 1972, I
referred to Governor Askew's speech to the Governor's conference about water
problems in South Florida. The Legislature picked that message up and, I
believe, Representative Gus Craig was the prime sponsor of the House resolu-
tion that established the Select Committee that ultimately drafted the Water
There were problems of drought one year and flood the next in the Ever- I
glades and the St. Johns. There was also a group called Conservation '70's
that had become very active and was successful in creating an awareness of the
environmental problems in the 1970 and 1971 sessions of the Legislature. They
found a receptive audience. The Legislature was willing to listen for the
first time in a long time and to try to resolve some very pressing problems,
the same problems, by the way, that have been discussed here for the last two
days. They are not going to go away; they are always going to be here.
There was a public awareness of an environmental crisis. Walter Cronkite
was on the news every night saying, "Can the world be saved?" Governor Askew
was asking, "Can the Everglades be saved?" The problem was recognized in
Hillsborough and Pinellas counties' water wars, in Dade and Broward counties,
and in Duval. Probably the only area of the State where there was not a
critical, pressing problem was right here in the Panhandle. The people in the
rest of the State recognized that, if they were going to continue to grow,
they would have to have water, and that, unless some restrictions were devel-
oped, then growth itself was eventually going to be restricted.
One reason that all the bills listed here in the panel charge were able
to pass at one time was that they were going down parallel tracks at the same
time. There were inconsistencies and conflicts among the bills because nobody
was sure what would pass or if any of them would pass. Everybody was con-
vinced that something was going to get on the books. As a consequence, there
was a division of the attention of opponents toward different parts of each of
the bills, and the conflict was so strong that everything passed. That was
the solution: divide and conquer.
I served as Jack Shreve's staff director on the House Select Committee
that he chaired, and we had a lot of discussions late into the night about how
strong we could make this Water Resources Bill, how hard we could push it,
because it did not look like it was going to pass that year. We decided to
put all the issues up front and see what got chipped away and what passed.
When we took it to the floor, we got an awful lot of amendments, but they all
focused on a very limited number of issues and, by luck and political persua-
sion and the fact that the timing was right, the thing passed out in pretty
much the form it was filed.
When it went to the Senate, the same thing happened. Everybody focused
on eminent domain. That was the red flag. Should water management districts
have the right to condemn land for recreational purposes? That question took
more heat than any other part of the bill. Nobody really focused on the
detail. The same thing can be said for the Land and Water Management Act and
the Comprehensive Planning Act. Each went through on the other's coattail.
That happened because, in addition to the environmental crisis, we had a
Legislature that had a few other things on its mind, including reapportionment
and being reelected. It was also a presidential election year, and there were
a lot of people concerned about campaigning and looking for a federal office.
We had, as well, the revision of the judicial article of the Constitution
which took a lot of legislative attention. The Corporate Income Tax and No-
fault Insurance were major reforms. All of these were happening at one time.
I would say the "special conditions" of the panel charge were basically two:
1) there was indeed a public recognition of a major problem, and 2) the
Legislature's attention was diverted, but it knew there was a complex problem
that had to be solved.
The legislators looked to a panel of experts. Most of those experts
convened at River Ranch Acres, where we sat down and said, "By God, I'm an
expert? Last week, I couldn't spell water, and now, here we are, writing
laws." The package that went to the Legislature, I am willing to admit, went
as a bunch of proposals, a smorgasbord of choices. They all passed. Here we
are, eight years later, still trying to make all the pieces mesh. They are
all necessary and all important tools to use, but we still haven't quite
gotten everything to mesh.
One special condition was that, in the early 1970's, Florida was coming
to an end of its love affair with growth. This State started with nothing but
a bunch of land that the Federal Government gave us under the Swamplands Act
of 1849 or 1850. The only means we had to promote growth then was to give
away land under circumstances that would produce railroads and canals and
other things that would open it up for people. Nobody thought any sane person
would live in the lower half of the peninsula -- because of mosquitos and
alligators -- but they did hope to promote growth in the upper half.
By the 1950's and early 1960's, we began to realize all our fondest
dreams. We were growing like mad. Some of us even began to think we might
have overdone it. By the late 1960's and early 1970's, some of us were sure
that, for particularly the coastal areas, we had overdone it. We had some un-
anticipated negative consequences of growth -- to use a fancy academic way of
putting it -- that we had to try to deal with. The crisis that precipitated
all of this was a real, or a perceived, shortage of water.
It became a real shortage in 1970 because, from June 1970 to July 1971,
the south Florida rainfall was 22 inches below normal. Lake Okeechobee fell
to an all-time low. The conservation areas were low, but we have had wet and
dry cycles all through Florida's history. What made this one different was a
different kind of attitude toward the environment and growth in general. The
main thing was this was a very timely crisis, a drought that came at just the
right time. There were a lot more people to be bothered by it than we had
ever had before and, the more people, the greater the severity of a drought.
That was the catalyst.
As a little aside, I have to throw this in: during that drought, the
South Florida Water Management District -- then the Central and South Florida
Flood Control District -- pumped water through its so-called plumbing system
for over 50 consecutive days to Miami well fields to prevent saltwater
intrusion. Many of my environmentalist friends look with scorn on that set of
artificial canals and dikes and pumps, and, if we were starting over again,
knowing what we know now, we would do it differently. But we were glad to
have that capacity at that particular time to prevent the severe saltwater
pollution of the Biscayne aquifer.
Tampa Bay had drought problems at that same time, and muck fires were
burning all over hell and back. We had Los Angeles-type smog, and everybody
agreed that we were in trouble. One of the great ironies of this whole affair
is that the man who kind of precipitated the Governor's Conference on Water
Management in South Florida was then the chairman of the water management
district that was the successor to the old Everglades Drainage District that
was considered by environmentalists as a sort of "evil, antienvironmental
force" that had done all the wrong things in south Florida. Bob Padrick is
the one who suggested (to Jay Landers or somebody) that Governor Askew ought
to call a conference to see what we could do about the water problems in south
Florida. We got 150 people into a hotel in Miami Beach. They were all kinds
of people -- environmentalists, developers (the developers later said they
were not there, but they were because I saw some of them), federal, State,
local people -- a pretty good cross section of interests.
One of the things that inspired that group to come out with the kind of
recommendations it did was the Governor's challenge to the conference. He
made a speech that really soared. I don't know who the heck wrote it, maybe
the Governor, but it was a real challenge. If you want to read a great
speech, go back and dig that one out. It had a great line: "Failure to
respond to these problems could well determine if this area is to continue as
a leading resort and the nation's winter vegetable garden. Failure could make
it, instead, the world's first and only desert which gets 60 inches of rain-
fall yearly." That got our attention, and we came out with a report. We
didn't confine ourselves to south Florida, and we recommended doing a
comprehensive land and water management plan and the creation of an adminis-
trative mechanism at the State and regional level to implement the plans.
Does this sound familiar? The regional agency should have nine members,
appointed by the Governor, who represent the diverse interests of the region.
The regional agency should also develop and implement a regional comprehensive
land and water use plan, in accordance with a State plan. The Governor, in
turn, named a task force that included several legislators. Jack Shreve was
one of them who worked with the Water Resources Act. We certainly should pay
tribute also to Frank Maloney, who died recently but who had been working for
years at the University of Florida to develop a good model water code. Timing
is everything. The American Law Institute had been working for years on a
good model state land development code. The fact that we had both of those
codes to draw from really made a lot of difference in our credibility. It was
certainly true in the case of Frank Maloney's Model Water Code.
There were some other good people on that task force. Bob Graham was a
member and ended up the prime sponsor in the Senate. Ray Knopke and Don Crane
were on it. Don was a member of the Legislature then; he decided he did not
want to do that kind of thing anymore and retired -- which I held against him
-- but I have forgiven him.
In regard to the question about how did we get such a far-reaching set of
land and water management bills through the Legislature in 1972, let me say
that reapportionment had a lot to do with it. It brought a group of young,
urban Democrats and Republicans who had gotten the message from their local
folks that environmental and growth management matters were not going to be
done as usual in Florida. These problems weren't felt as keenly in the
Panhandle because the problems weren't there. It wasn't because folks in the
Panhandle weren't as sensitive as folks in the peninsula; it was just a dif-
ference in the intensity of the problems.
The strategy we followed was to get the Land Management Act to the Senate
or bust. We almost busted. If it hadn't been for Jim Williams, I guess we
would have. At another time, we had an 18-18 tie vote to strike everything
but the enacting clause. We finally got it through during a special session
called by the Governor.
One other important factor was gubernatorial leadership. Askew made it
his top priority that session, and when the chips were down and we needed it,
he convened legislators and explained everything. We also had great House
leadership. Bob Graham proved to be stubborn and wouldn't quit. When he got
knocked down, he'd get up and come back at it. (He hasn't changed any in that
regard.) We had good help in the Senate from Jerry Thomas in particular. If
Jerry had been against us, we could not have survived.
---- ------XI..-- __
As you already know, our strategy was to let the Land Management Act take
most of the heat. The reason for that was it's a lot easier to get mad about
managing a person's land than about managing his water. It was no accident
that the Land Management Act was entitled the Environmental Land and Water
Management Act. We put "Environmental" and "Water" in there to make it a
little more acceptable. The Water Resources Act, in some ways, is a more
comprehensive piece of legislation because it doesn't exempt farmers and the
Land Management Act does.
How has it all worked out? I would say remarkably well, but important
work remains to be accomplished. We do need a clear State policy framework,
and we're going to get it. We need, in my mind, to delegate to water manage-
ment districts (in most cases and under most circumstances) the responsibility
for water quality, as well as water quantity, functions because you cannot
separate them. The logical base to build on is the water management dis-
tricts. We do need closer coordination between the water management districts
and the regional planning councils.
I was chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee for 12 years
(part of it on the Saltwater Conservation Committee, which, under reorganiza-
tion, became the Natural Resources Committee). I became concerned that we
were not doing something to solve the problems. I wasn't particularly happy
with the Central and Southern Florida Flood Control District or with Buddy
Blain and his district over there in Tampa, though Buddy lived with me, I
think for two years. They did have something going that the State of Florida
During the first year that Pettigrew was speaker of the House, we were
coming to the end of the session, and it looked like there wasn't going to be
any action taken. I went to Pettigrew and asked him what we were going to do
about forming water management districts, and would he support me in a resolu-
tion that would set up such a program. He agreed with me, and we passed a
House resolution there in the last few weeks of the Legislature. Jack Shreve
played a very big part in this. He did a tremendous job -- a lot better than
I could have done myself. Jack came to me and said, "Gus, who's going to be
chairman of this committee that you set up?" And I said, "Well, Jack, I set
the committee up, and I'm going to be chairman." And he said, "Well, I got a
little problem." I said, "What's that?" He said, "Well, I'm running for re-
election." I said, "Well, I am too." He said, "But you ain't got the prob-
lems I got, Gus. I'm going to have some tough opposition, and I need some-
thing to put me out in front." Since Jack and I were real good friends, I
talked with Pettigrew and made Jack chairman of the committee. He did a
tremendous job, and he is really the father of what we finally put together
and what was passed on to the people of the State.
Perhaps the most difficult aspect of this was the fact that, as a legis-
lator, I had to go to the people with legislation pumping another mill onto
their taxes. It certainly wasn't an appealing thing to look forward to when
running in a district like I was. Maybe it didn't hurt as much down in the
other areas because they already had the mill established, but we didn't have
it. We had a special problem with Billy Joe Rish's group because the one mill
was too high for them, and we had to back off and come to .05 mill for the
Northwest District. Perhaps, down the road somewhere, we can doctor that up
and get them the same millage as the rest of us. It does take a lot of money
to run a water management district, and it's going to take more as time goes
I agree that water quality and water quantity have got to be handled
together, but I'm not for any super agency. I'm not even in favor of the
Board of Regents because I remember when we used to speak directly to the
presidents of the universities. That was before we got that big program that
Jack Matthews gave us. Then we knew what was going on, but today that big
super agency says it needs ten or twenty billion dollars, and you don't know
where it's going. You're at the mercy of those people and lose control. The
water management districts have proven that, when the local people have a hand
in the thing, they feel more comfortable with it. They can better accept the
fact that they have one mill that is going to help them with their water
management and water quantity problems. So long as you keep it on a local
level, you can handle it; when it shifts to Tallahassee, let me tell you, it
becomes the biggest boondoggle in the world, and there isn't any way in the
world to control it.
In our water management system, we have to recognize that the people are
out there trying to make a living in the free enterprise system. They are
paying the way and your salary. Those people have to be considered when an
agency gets into a posture where it is telling people they can't do things and
that the agency is the protector for the people of all the good things in the
State. Let's face the facts. Some things have to give sometimes, and that's
the way we're going to have to live. We have the Governor and Cabinet that we
can go to to solve these problems. If a politically elected official of the
Cabinet says, "You're in the free enterprise system, and you're not going to
build all those houses, or you're not going to do your particular thing," you
have had your day before the elected officials of the State of Florida.
That's the way it ought to be. It's important that water management districts
are set up so that people have somewhere to go to be heard by someone other
than just elected officials. We need to be protecting the environment, but
we have got to listen to the people also.
We've got a model water management program in the State of Florida. I
think it's the greatest in the nation. Certainly, there's some patching up
needed. As changes take place, we're going to find better ways to handle our
problem. And you people are really great, and I'm proud of you, and I think
the people of the State of Florida are also.
I was not one of the fortunates that got invited to River Ranch Acres,
and I didn't get invited to participate in the Governor's conference. I
looked at all this activity with sheer panic more than anything else. Gus was
pushing through all the C-70's (Conservation '70's) legislation in 1970.
There were approximately 70 bills passed. Gus was saying that we had to get
them down to the Senate, and Ray Knopke was saying we had to get them cleaned
up so they would pass. We horsed back and forth and eventually passed a lot
of very significant legislation which set the tone for change and for more
concern for the environment.
This legislation was kind of an interim hobby of mine. I was, at the
time, concerned with other matters. Don Feaster and I were traipsing through
I ~I__;__ ~___?i~^~i~~l ~I j~ _6~__1_^___
They didn't have any luck with the legislation in 1971, but then, in
1972, this committee was formed with Jack Shreve as the chairman. It was not
intended to come out with beautiful legislation, and there were many who sup-
ported the formation of it for the sole purpose of destroying water management
in Florida. We had two districts at that time; each had the power to levy ad
valorem taxes. After this committee was formed, but before it really got
moving very rapidly, the 150-member Governor's conference was convened. I
went back and studied the names of the 150 people that John DeGrove, Art
Marshall, and Jay Landers had very carefully structured. The Corps of
Engineers managed to have one representative on each of the five panels, while
the Southwest Florida Water Management District had only one man. The vote
was about 1 percent for water management, about 1 percent for developers,
about 2 percent for agriculture, and about 60 percent for another group of
people whose names were new at the time but who have since become very well
known. Rut it was a good report. The Governor's speech was great.
Fortunately, Dean Maloney had received a grant and had been in Tennessee
working on a model water code and helping adopt a water quality law for
Tennessee. Jack Shreve was casting about for something to start with, and he
and Frank Caldwell took the Model Water Code as a place to start. It was
still being written, but certain sections of it were acquired. Jake Varn had
been working with Maloney and had a chapter included in the code that was used
as a format to hold a series of hearings all over the State. They came out
with a draft bill that was drafted and redrafted over and over. We analyzed
this bill and concluded it was so farfetched, there was no way in the world it
was going to pass, but that they were trying to do the right thing and we
should help them. We didn't want to get out front or to get behind. We
decided to just monitor it and see what happened. Then one day I called Dale
Twachtmann, who was executive director of the Southwest Florida Water
Management District, and Ed Dale, Executive Director of Central and Southern,
and I said, "That bill is going to pass." And they said, "What bill?" I
said, "The Water Management Bill." They said, "That's impossible" and "You're
crazy." I said, "Well, it just passed out of committee without debate, and
Gus Craig says it's going to pass the House." It did the next week, with just
a few little amendments -- 33. It was heard by the Senate five days later.
The 33 amendments all got accepted, and they went to Bob Saunders, our leader
in water management. Bob Saunders didn't know anything about water manage-
ment, but he was selected to steer it through the Senate, and it passed.
No piece of legislation has ever passed the Legislature in such rapid
fashion as the Water Resources Act did. The best thing that happened to it, I
think, was that the effective date was deferred for over a year so that we
could go back in the next year and pick up all the little pieces. But it
couldn't have passed if it hadn't been for a lot of political desperation on
the part of a number of people, and if everyone hadn't come together and said,
"We don't know what we're doing or what to do with it, but let's defer the
effective date for a year, and we'll look at it again next year."
When I was in the House, Senator Graham started some conversations about
where the State was going from a planning point of view. I had been on the
State Road Board and was continually impressed with how everything we did was
from a reaction. There was no coordinated State plan. A lot happened in that
River Ranch Acres meeting and it was an exciting adventure. We got to where
-- -----~.;~-issaaasr.s~ -li--~~ --.~IPP
we are today through a lot of hard work and a lot of dedicated people. I was
immensely impressed at the time with what I still think is going to be a prob-
lem in Florida, that is, if you haven't got the money, you can't do much. If
you continue to increase the homestead exemption and to lower your tax base,
you're not going to solve distribution of water problems, drainage problems,
roadbed deterioration problems, and all sorts of problems that I think we're
going to face.
I can recall, back in the late 1960's, flying around at a low altitude
and, upon seeing those huge developments, thinking that someday they are going
to come home to haunt us. They have come home to haunt Charlotte County.
We're not talking about 100,000 or 200,000, but millions of people that can be
forced into that area. A lot of that land is sold, and we won't be able to
take it away from the people who are living there. If we had waited five or
ten more years to get to where we are today, the whole State would have been
in a serious situation.
I have watched with great interest our roads continuing to deteriorate.
We just went through a legislative session with every single one of the
legislators knowing that we had a transportation problem in the State of
Florida. We have a 500 billion-dollar problem. When you look at the Skyway
Bridge and other deterioration problems, plus the cost of finishing the inter-
state system, the costs really mount up. And it's going to be that way in
water distribution. I don't believe that anybody involved in water management
thinks that we have a serious water shortage problem. We've got a serious
dollar problem in trying to move water from one area to another and in trying
to monitor it so that we know what we'll have down the road. We've also got
to let the people go where they want to live, and we've got to provide serv-
ices that they need. We can do it. But you can't have transportation or
water supply facilities for a low-density area that can't support itself. You
can't effort to string the power lines and to build sewage systems way out,
but you can afford to build in the areas where the people want to live.
Will the State's water resources be best administered at the regional or
at the statewide level?
I think that the present system gives you both. We've got regional ad-
ministration through the water management districts. There is overall super-
vision by the Department of Environmental Regulation. In addition, the
actions of these regional boards are subject to being reviewed and reversed by
the Governor and Cabinet sitting on the Land and Water Adjudicatory Commis-
sion. It's a good system the way it is. Everything Governor Graham recom-
mended last night can be implemented without any changing of the law.
When we first got into this, I thought water supply, water regulation,
and water conservation were different subjects and should be treated separate-
ly. I have seen a trend different from that. I'm very supportive of the
water districts. I think the water districts have done an outstanding job,
and I'm immensely impressed with the Board that I have just recently joined.
If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
Buddy Blain is wise about these matters. The only thing we need to do is
clarify State policy framework -- make it a little clearer and more easily
understood, and then depend, for administrative purposes, on the water
I think that the regional system, with some limited accountability to the
State, is the proper framework, and it is working.
I would like to thank all of the participants on this panel, and on all
of the panels. They were extremely good. I would like also to thank the
audience for its participation and interest in the subjects. At this time, I
will call the annual meeting adjourned. Thank you all very much for coming.
ta4 e4 / d1antaa1emendt 94/4ic
Route 1 Box 3100
Havane, Flore 32333
L^ u t
This document was produced at a printing
cost of $.29 to provide public officials and
private citizens a source of information
about the Northwest Florida Water Management
District's Fifth Annual Meeting.