Thinking of water management taxes like a five-year old child

Five-year old children have a problem understanding that a volume of water remains the same even if moved to a different container:



We can see an analagous conceptual inability for the people currently in charge of the water management districts. As in recent years, all of the WMD governing boards again have followed Rick Scott’s orders to cut the property tax millage. The South Florida Water Management District, under pressure from Scott, cut their tax millage level from 0.4110 to 0.3842 mills (p. 53) and the NWFWMD cut it from 0.0390 to 0.0378 mills (p. 43).  It would confuse the kid in the video to see how the SFWMD cut is two-thirds of the very low total NWFWMD millage rate. Why cut the extremely low NWFWMD millage??? They both “cut” taxes so are they the same or different? How puzzling! The demand for a uniform tax “cut” fails to appreciate the enormous tax differences between districts (and their different water management needs).

So, kid, go ahead and dump the “extra” water out of the taller container to make the two volumes “equal.” You may be the perfect person to play around with Florida water management district budgets.

Governors against their state parks

Why do we see Rick Scott’s “interim” secretary of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection promoting zany money raising ideas for state parks? Tea Party Governors do what they do. Wisconsin governor Scott Walker proposed eliminating all general revenue dollars devoted to park operations. Maine Governor LePage wanted to dismantle that state’s Bureau of Parks and Lands and increase timber harvesting on state lands. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal is closing state parks and cutting the budget of others. Kansas governor Sam Brownback also has cut state park employees and budgets.

Tea party governors love their state parks but not if they cost anything.

How many manatees can you pack in there?

During cold spells, manatees aggregate in warm water springs to survive. The minimum flows and levels established for these flowing systems must leave enough depth and water space for the half-ton marine mammals. Not a problem; just don’t issue water use permits that would lower flows and squeeze manatee box equivalents too hard:


SWFWMD, Recommended Minimum Flows For the Chassahowitzka River System, October 30, 2012, p. 80.

That is just an illustration of space requirements, not a coffin. Pack ’em in.

Southwest Florida 1963-2015?

In 1966, the Florida Board of Conservation published a report on “Land and Water Resources Needs and Availability” in the “Southwest Florida” region. Water demand projections went out to 2015 for an area about the same as today’s Southwest Florida Water Management District.

They may have set the record for demand overestimates. The Board projected that water demand in 2015 in the region would be 6.4 billion gallons a day, which is about the same as occurred in 2012 in the entire state and over five times that within the water management district. To meet that enormous demand for water, the report endorsed a series of inland reservoirs and the conversion of upper Old Tampa Bay into a fresh water lake.

We are living in the Board of Conservation’s future but it is not what they expected.

Florida waterisms

There are lots of Florida-specific acronyms, programs, and place names but those are not “waterisms.” It means a term mostly or exclusively used to describe a fact or concern about Florida water management. Like:

“Backpumping” (Mostly a south Florida term and referring to agricultural users that pump their excess water into a natural water body)

“Deep” reservoir (Meaning a very shallow reservoir but deep by Florida standards)

“Expand the water pie” (A plea for the government to help pay to develop water supplies)

“Finger-fill canal” (Old-fashioned dead-end canal networks designed to maximize waterfront footage)

“Hydropattern” (The temporal and spatial patterns of flooding in wetlands)

“Reclaimed water” (In most other places, called “reused” or “recycled” domestic wastewater.)

“Reservation” (Setting aside water from withdrawal as necessary for the protection of fish and wildlife or public health and safety)

“Springshed” (Area within a ground or surface water basin that contributes to spring flow) (Not the practicing of gathering elk antlers in Colorado in April)

“Water lost to tide” (Runoff beyond what the speaker wants to occur)

There are many more Florida waterisms because of unique hydrology and water management practices.