Title: Water Management Issues and Local Government to be presented to Water Task Force
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/WL00004126/00001
 Material Information
Title: Water Management Issues and Local Government to be presented to Water Task Force
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida
Abstract: Jake Varn Collection - Water Management Issues and Local Government to be presented to Water Task Force (JDV Box 43)
General Note: Box 18, Folder 1 ( Water Task Force - 1983 ), Item 2
Funding: Digitized by the Legal Technology Institute in the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: WL00004126
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Levin College of Law, University of Florida
Holding Location: Levin College of Law, University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

Full Text

to be presented to


On behalf of the Board of County Commissioners of Imperial Polk
County, I want to express my appreciation for the opportunity to
appear before this Task Force and discuss some of the concerns of
local government regarding water management.

At the last meeting of this Task Force in West Palm Beach,
November 11, 1982, one speaker made an interesting comment.

The topic under discussion was the disposal of hazardous wastes.
The speaker observed that Florida was not environmentally
equipped to safely dispose of all the various types of hazardous
wastes we produce. It was their recommendation that we (Florida)
determine which of these waste products we could safely handle
and send the remainder out-of-state for disposal. They noted
that Alabama was the closest disposal site and further said that
if Alabama would not accept these waste materials the people of
Florida would just have to learn to live without them. The most
interesting point of this is what the speaker did NOT say. They
did NOT say that the people of Florida should go to Alabama and
say: "Look folks we have all this hazardous waste material that
we produce here in Florida, but our environment is not suitable
for its disposal. But we need to keep generating this stuff in
order to maintain the lifestyle to which we've become accustomed,
and since you have a place for it, you are just going to have to
take it whether you like it or not."

They did NOT say that, because, one state does not have the right
to make this type of demand on another state. Yet within the
State of Florida there are many groups going to the
non-metropolitan inland counties and saying, in effect, "Folks,
we've used up all our local water supplies (due to salt water
intrusion through over use) and we need more water to continue to
grow ana maintain the lifestyle to which we've become accustomed,
and since you have more water than we think you need, we're just
going to take what we think we need, whether you like it or not."
This philosophy seems to make one of two assumptions: (first)
the water supply of the inland counties is unlimited or at least
sufficient to sustain unlimited growth in both the coastal and
inland counties; or (second) that it is quite all right to cap
the growth of the inland counties because the coastal counties
are unwilling to cap their own growth and neither the state nor
the water management districts are willing to do it for them. We
don't know how much water we have but we know its not unlimited
and thus will not support unlimited growth. The second
possibility, in the final analysis is just another way of saying
"might makes right."

Polk County does not presume to speak for any County other than
Polk County. However, we have evidence that several other inland
Counties generally share the concerns which I want to discuss
with you during the next few minutes.

1. The inland counties are experiencing population growth
which will require the development of additional water
supplies. They also have vast agricultural needs,
including citrus, vegetables and cattle, as well as
industrial needs, including phosphate and other
extractive industries, the manufacture of fertilizers,
and food processing. These activities are important to
the economic well being of not only Florida, but to the
nation. They must be assured continued adequate water

Non-urban, inland counties believe that, under Chapter
373, Florida Statutes, as presently written, a very
real possibility exists for their future growth
potential to be capped by the appropriation and export
of indigenous water supplies. It is our belief that
inland counties would be far less reluctant to share
their water if they knew the water would be available
to them, should the time come that they needed it.

We think that Section 373.1961(5) F.S. should be
amended to assure that each county has preferential
use, both present and future, to its indigenous water

We should note that the coastal counties have vast
amounts of brackish and saline water available. The
technology exists to convert this to potable water.
Several plants are currently in operation, and it is
our understanding that technological advancements are
reducing the costs. Once the inland counties' water is
fully appropriated, I suppose they could go to the
coast and pipe salt water inland and treat it. That,
however, does not seem to make a whole lot of sense to

2. Each County is presently required to prepare and adopt
a Local Government Comprehensive Plan which must
include several water related elements and subelements
(land use, conservation, solid waste, sanitary sewer,
potable water and drainage). While an adopted plan has
the status of an ordinance, we believe the possibility
exists that water management districts, in making water
management decisions, may completely ignore the
provisions of an adopted Comprehensive Plan. It is

recognized that water management districts have the
responsibility for managing the water resources of the
state and to advise local government of the limitations
of their water resource base. It is also recognized
that it is the responsibility of local government to
engage in land use planning and growth management and
that an adequate water supply is fundamental to all
forms of growth.

We, therefore, urge that chapter 373 F.S. be amended as
appropriate to require that

a. Water management district decisions within a county
be in concert with adopted local government
comprehensive plans.

b. That counties and water management districts be
full and equal partners in making water management
decisions affecting the vital interests of the
local government.

c. That no county be deprived of indigenous water
resources because of transfer of water to other
counties who have outgrown their own indigenous

3. We believe that the continued concentration of people
in coastal areas creates many problems, both state and
local, and that the state's long-term interests may be
better served by promoting more growth in those areas
with developable water resources (there are other
factors to be considered, of course). State policy
should support continued inland growth in those areas
where it is appropriate and to the extent these areas
can support that growth without incurring unacceptable
adverse affects. State policy should also provide for
retention of sufficient inland water resources to
adequately support that growth.

4. Finally, at a more work-a-day level, Polk County is the
only County in Florida with the "honor and privilege"
of working with three water management districts. Polk
County recognizes the important role of the water
management districts, and we recognize that regional
differences require different approaches in problem
solving. However, when one county, in developing a
master drainage plan, a surface water management
ordinance or a county water supply system, has to
simultaneously deal with three differing sets of rules,
criteria, procedures and priorities, it could get a
little exasperating.

. '

We hear a lot of talk about preventing the recurrence of the
"water wars" of a few years ago, and this is certainly desirable.
But, it is unrealistic to expect the inland counties to stand
there saying "Here is my water, come and get it," and get nothing
in return. It is neither immoral nor illegal for a County to
protect its vital interests.

In conclusion let me say that Imperial Polk County is fully
cognizant of the fact that our economic well-being and quality of
life is closely linked to that of the State as a whole and to our
larger metropolitan neighbors. Polk County is in the center of
the Central Florida growth area. While we do not covet a "Miami"
or a "Tampa/St. Petersburg" in the center of our County, we do
expect and desire additional, properly managed growth. This
growth will require that Polk County develop more of its water
resource base for its own needs. Polk County is willing to share
our excess water with our needy neighbors just as we share our
phosphate and our orange juice. We will even work cooperatively
to this end as long as Polk County is guaranteed sufficient water
to meet its future growth needs. Let us not forget that
cooperation is a two -way street.

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