SUMMARY OF POLICY PROPOSALS
The proposed legislation reaffirms that state water policy can be implemented on
a regional basis through delegation of appropriate powers to the districts, but recognizes
that strong state oversight is needed to ensure consistent statewide implementation of
policy and to provide accountability at the state level. Responsibility for implementation
of Ch. 373 is clearly assigned to the Department, irrespective of delegation of any
provision of Ch. 373 to a district. If such delegation is made, the Department is to ensure
implementation through general supervisory authority of the district, which will at minimum
include budgetary and programmatic oversight. The Department is to prepare and submit
to the Governor and Legislature an annual report that includes both a summary of the
districts' expenditures and a performance review of policy and program implementation.
Legislative intent is provided that the annual costs of the Department's oversight activities
be funded by the districts.
The other significant feature of the proposed legislation is to provide a
comprehensive approach to water supply planning and allocation:
o The state water use plan is replaced by the state water use policy, which will
be adopted by rule as part of the state water policy, and the requirement for
a Florida water plan is repealed.
o Areas of the state experiencing conflicts in meeting water use demand are
to be designated as water allocation areas. The legislature will have
exclusive authority to determine these areas.
o Criteria are provided for establishing the boundaries of allocation areas and
three areas are established: the Central West-Central Florida Ground-Water
Basin within the Southwest Florida Water Management District, the portion
of the Southern West-Central Florida Ground-Water Basin within the
Southwest Florida Water Management District, and the area of the Lower
East Coast Regional Water Supply Plan within the South Florida Water
o A water allocation area plan will be developed for each area that will
designate the specific sources that are available for each major category of
water users and the amount available from each source. Amounts available
from a natural source shall be the sustainable yield of that source based on
minimum flows and levels, which must be established prior to developing the
plan. The appropriate district will be responsible for plan development but,
to the greatest extent possible, the plan shall be developed as a consensus
agreement among all users in the area. Such plans will take affect only after
their adoption by the Legislature. Once adopted, the water allocation area
plans will serve to guide all water use permitting decisions within the
o For areas not designated as water allocation areas, the districts will be
required to develop inventories of available water supplies and water use
demand. These inventories shall be used by local governments as the best
available data related to water resources.