National Water Commission's Prescriptions For Ground Water Management

Material Information

National Water Commission's Prescriptions For Ground Water Management


Subjects / Keywords:
Groundwater ( jstor )
Water rights ( jstor )
Water color ( jstor )
Spatial Coverage:
North America -- United States of America -- Florida


Jake Varn Collection - National Water Commission's Prescriptions For Ground Water Management (JDV Box 43)
General Note:
Box 18, Folder 1 ( Water Task Force - 1983 ), Item 11
Digitized by the Legal Technology Institute in the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.

Record Information

Source Institution:
Levin College of Law, University of Florida
Holding Location:
Levin College of Law, University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.


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In the past 70 years at least 20 national commissions or similar
groups established by Congress or the President have studied various
aspects of the nation's water resources. The most recent study group,
Sthe National Water Commission established in 1968, differs in several
ways from previous bodies. The most significant difference is the scope
of the undertaking, with the Commission charged with the responsibility
of reviewing virtually all water problems, programs, and policies.

However, to those concerned with ground water, there is another im-
portant difference...the fact that ground water is obviously regarded by
the researchers in its true light: a primary source of water supply on a
nationwide basis. In a recent draft report prepared for the President and
Congress, the chapter on "Improving Ground Water Management" is both ex-
plicit and an indication of what future regulatory relationships may be
in store for the nation's ground water managers and researchers. After
a 37-page review of existing conditions, the report sets forth 20 specific
recommendations developed by the Commission, which it feels will "effect
the desired improvement in management of the Nation's ground water re-
sources." In summary form they are:

Integrating Use of Surface Water and Ground Water

1. Where surface and ground water are interrelated, uses should be
managed conjuctively and state laws should integrate rights in both

2. Laws and regulations should require users to substitute one
source of supply for the other when such substitution will optimize use
of the combined resource.

/fhe Need for Management

3. Public management agencies should be established to conjunctively
manage ground water and surface water in states where ground water is an
important source of supply.

4. State legislation establishing water management agencies should
confer upon such agencies sufficient authority to insure that ground wa-
ter and surface water are managed together optimally.

5. State laws and regulations should protect ground water aquifers
from damage.

6. Federal agencies seeking authorization of federal water projects
should report to Congress on the status of ground water management pro-
grgms in the areas where such projects are proposed.

Sound Water Mining

7. Where ground water is being mined, states or local management
agencies should effect mechanisms to solve the "common pool" problem.
Optimum use requires imposition of pump taxes, quota restrictions, or
some other effective management method to discourage premature deple-
tion and to encourage efficient allocation of the scarce water resource.

8. Federal agencies should describe the adequacy of ground water
management and regulations in areas where ground water is being mined

Continued general land subsidence caused by overpumping of ground wa-
ter has increased the cost of construction and maintenance of the Cali-
fornia Aqueduct and its water distribution system, says Dr. William B. Bull,
U.S. Geological Survey research hydrologist. Bull has just reported on
an investigation of thousands of one-inch, clay-filled cracks found on
the west side of the San Joaquin Valley. The research was undertaken to
see if the cracking is still going on, or if it is the result of prehis-
toric subsidence.
According to Bull the cracks pose no threat to the stability of the
canal or other manmade structures in the region because they result from
wetting and compaction of formerly dry sediments during the last 10,000
years. The compaction resulted in subsidence of land by as much as 10
feet over an area of 400 square miles.
However, the report notes that "specialists consider the valley as
the world's largest area of intensive land subsidence due to overpumping
of ground water." About 2,000 square miles in western Fresno and adjacent
counties of California have subsided more than one foot because of de-
clines in artesian water pressure.
The 85-page report (Professional Paper 437-C) may be purchased for
$1.75 from the Superintendent of Documents, Goverment Printing Office,
Washington, D.C. 20402.

Storms which hit Southern Californai recently were damaging to many
areas, but valued at $112,000 by the Orange County Water District. The
district got an estimated 3,500 acre-feet of runoff to feed percolation
ponds in the Santa Ana River. Additionally, local water authorities say
that not only was the water free, but of much higher quality than sup-
plies purchased from the Colorado River at a cost of $32 an acre-foot.

F new zoning ordinance adopted to implement a town master plan
for Southampton, an affluent vacation and farming town at the eastern
end of Long Island, New York, seeks to limit the town's population in
order to stay within its "water budget."
The new ordinance is intended to "guide and regulate the orderly
growth, development, and redevelopment of the town" and its land and
water resources so that the demand for fresh water "shall not exceed
the reasonably determined safe yield." Most of the undeveloped areas
of the town are now zoned 2-acre single residential, but provision is
made for cluster housing to reduce costs and environmental impact and
preserve open space. Other parts of the town have been Jgzon1g
deiityLin -cq L-T water li nations. Town supervisor,
eo ore Hulse descrie-the move as "probab y hErmost important
measure in our town's history."

The Colorado State Engineer's Office is making an intensive sur-
vey of water rights in that state in line with new laws stipulating
that "failure to put water under a water right to a beneficial use
for a period of 10 years or more when such water is available for use,
shall create a rebuttable presumption that the water right has been
A report from the Colorado Water Congress says that the procedure
for initiating this abandonment is deletion from the retabulation to
be prepared by July 1, 1974. A copy of this listing of water rights
will be mailed by registered mail to the last known owner or claimant
of every water right or conditional water right which the Division
Engineer has found to be abandoned. The laws provide for hearings on
objections to the abandonment procedure.
30th, statement of account to accompany payment.