Florida House ofRepresentatives
PETtR RUDY WALLACE. SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE
COMMITTEE ON WATER POLICY. SELECT
JOHN C. R.YSON JOHN F. LAURENT
CHAIR VICE CHAIR
WATER POLICY DEVELOPMENT
This document sets out several central ideas for consideration as part of the policy
1. Streamline water planning
Water planning in Florida should be greatly streamlined. The only plans needed
are functional plans in areas where it is in the public interest to make
comprehensive water allocation decisions for the entire area.
Repeal statutory provisions for a Florida Water Plan and a state water use plan.
The process that determines comprehensive allocation decisions for certain
areas will be guided by policy. Existing DEP and water management district
plans function primarily as expressions of policy, not as plans.
2. Clearly articulate the roles and responsibilities of DEP and the water
management districts with regard to water supply policy
Should have overall responsibility for statewide implementation of state
law and policy. This should be exercised in an oversight role that should
be strengthened. DEP should be accountable for implementation and
should be given authority to effect implementation.
Should have direct responsibility for implementation of state law and
policy within their respective jurisdictions. Should be answerable to DEP
for their performance in the implementation of state law and policy. The
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WMDs will be responsible for conducting the process that determines
comprehensive water allocation decisions for appropriate areas.
3. Establish areas by statute that correspond to areas where demand for
water is such that it is in the public interest to allocate water within the
area pursuant to a comprehensive process
Only those areas of the state that need to plan because of water supply
problems would be included in these areas. A defining characteristic of one of
these areas is that uses within the area would be supplied, through a
determination made in a comprehensive allocation process, from sources found
or developed within the geographic boundaries of the area. A defining
characteristic of a location outside of one of these areas is that all uses can
easily obtain water from an immediately available source and there is no need to
plan for the coordination of uses with sources. In the determination of these
areas, boundaries should be drawn so that localities and communities that have
common social, cultural and economic bonds are grouped together. Significant
areas of the state would not be included in an area. The boundaries for these
areas should be adopted by legislative act.
4. Conduct a comprehensive allocation process for each allocation area,
organized by the appropriate water management district, that results in a
For each allocation area adopted by the Legislature, an allocation decision
document that determines water uses and water supplies for a reasonable
period should be developed. Many decisions usually made on an individual
basis in permits are all made in the document: frequency of withdrawals,
sources (including alternative sources), and the time frame for which the
decisions are operative. These decisions are made as part of this document so
that they can be analyzed and evaluated in the context of all of the other uses in
the area, with the ultimate purpose being to make comprehensive allocation
The composite of determinations in each decision document is unique to that
allocation area and to the document developed for it. The length of time the
decisions are applicable also is tailored specifically to the needs of the particular
area. Allocation decisions are made using the existing three-part test criteria,
o Attempt to make the best match of uses with sources within the
o Evaluate the cost and feasibility of developing alternative water
o Evaluate infrastructure costs;
o Take into consideration the impact of costs on different users and
differences in cost to different users; and
o Prioritize uses where supplies are limited and a determination is
made that it is not cost effective to supply water to all uses.
Water supplies throughout the allocation area should be available for uses
within the area, but the matching of uses and sources should be accomplished in
such a way as to minimize transport and infrastructure costs.
The responsibility for developing decision documents for each planning area
created by the Legislature rests with the water management district where each
area is located. The water management district first determines the minimum
flows and levels for water sources within the area, pursuant to section 373.042,
F.S., before the process of developing a comprehensive allocation document
begins. These flows and levels become part of the decision document and are
used to determine available supplies from natural sources and the need for
developing alternative supply sources. The water management district holds a
series of hearings in each area at which affected parties, including
representatives of all local governments within the area, DEP, the Department of
Community Affairs, appropriate Regional Planning Councils and water supply
authorities, and other interested governmental entities, assist the district in
developing the decision documents. Each document determines its length of
applicability, but longer periods are encouraged. DEP reviews all documents for
compliance with statute and presents a report to the Legislature for each one.
All allocation area documents are adopted by the Legislature.
5. Strengthen statutory language regarding the fundamental principles of
Florida's water law:
o Water is a public resource; and
o Minimum flows and levels must be established so that water
resources are sustained for future human use.