.Florida House of Representatives 1983
By Representative Silver
A bill to be entitled
An act relating to water resources; creating
ss. 373.701-373.708, Florida Statutes; the
"Water Resources Commission Act"; creating the
Florida Water Resources Commission, a state
agency within the Department of Environmental
Regulation; providing definitions; providing
for the appointment and removal of
commissioners and for their qualifications,
terms of office, meetings, reimbursements, and
records; providing for an executive director;
prescribing powers and duties of the
commission, including a duty to formulate the
state water use plan and to adopt an annual
water resources program; requiring the
commission to obtain consumptive use permits
from water management districts as necessary;
authorizing the commission to join with any
other state or local governmental entity to
develop a water supply system; authorizing the
commission to use any state land for specified
purposes; providing state consent to the use of
its real property for a water production
project; authorizing the use of any ground
water or surface water within the state for
water supply purposes; requiring the commission
to operate its water supply facilities in
compliance with all applicable laws and water
quality standards; requiring the department and
the water management districts to supply
certain information to the commission;
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requiring the commission to make
recommendations to the secretary of the
department in connection with authorizing the
creation of regional water supply authorities;
authorizing the commission to issue revenue
bonds, granting appropriate powers, duties, and
obligations, and authorizing certain uses of
the bond proceeds; authorizing counties to
donate certain lands to the commission for
specified purposes; adding s. 373.223(1)(d),
Florida Statutes; requiring that applicants for
consumptive water use permits show that such
use will be consistent with the state water use
plan and water resources program; providing an
WHEREAS, the Legislature finds that water and its
related resources are state assets vested with local and state
WHEREAS, the conservation, utilization, development,
management, and control of the water and related resources of
the state under a comprehensive water use plan will bring the
greatest benefits and produce the most efficient service in
the public welfare, and
WHEREAS, the water resources of the state are affected
with a local, regional, and state interest and their planning,
conservation, utilization, development, management, and
control are public purposes, and
WHEREAS, the water resources of the state, if properly
planned and utilized, are ample to meet projected demands, and
ever-increasing economies and efficiencies in the use and
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reuse of water resources can be brought about by comprehensive
planning, programming, and management, and
WHEREAS, because of this state's ever-increasing
population and resulting increase in demand upon this state's
water resources for human consumption, agriculture, industry,
and domestic use, there is an urgent need to establish a water
resources authority within the Department of Environmental
Regulation to assist municipalities, counties, and other
governmental entities in obtaining an adequate and dependable
water supply, and
WHEREAS, although water is one of this state's abundant
resources, it is not always located in proximity to Florida's
growing population centers, and there is periodic drought in
certain areas of the state, which conditions require the
establishment of a professional state entity to locate and
establish abundant potable water sources for use by all of the
people of this state, and
WHEREAS, the magnitude and location of Florida's water
supplies requires development upon a larger scale than local
governmental entities can feasibly finance; because of the
principle of economy of scale, state participation in
development of Florida's water sources is mandatory if
shortages of water are to be avoided in the future due to the
lack of development of the adequate sources which exist within
the state; it is, therefore, the duty and obligation of state
government to ensure that proper planning and development of
this resource upon a statewide basis is coordinated through
one state agency responsible for the supply of water to all
areas of the state so that full beneficial use of this
resource can be realized, NOW, THEREFORE,
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Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
Section 1. Sections 373.701 through 373.708, Florida
Statutes, shall be designated as:
WATER RESOURCES COMMISSION ACT
Section 2. Section 373.701, Florida Statutes, is
created to read:
373.701 Definitions.--As used in this part:
(1) 'Commission" means the Florida Water Resources
(2) "Watershed" means that geographical and
hydrological area consisting of a water management district as
defined and described in a. 373.019.
(3) "Water supply* means in general the sources of
water for public and private use.
(4) "Water supply source" means a stream, lake,
spring, or aquifer from which a supply of water can be
Section 3. Section 373.702, Florida Statutes, is
created to read:
373.702 Florida Water Resources Commission, creation;
short title.--There is hereby created the Florida Water
Resources Commission within the Department of Environmental
Regulation. The principal office of the commission shall be
in Tallahassee. Necessary branch offices may be established
at such places and under such rules and regulations as the
commissioners may prescribe. The commission shall be a state
agency subject to the provisions of chapter 120.
Section 4. Section 373.703, Florida Statutes, is
created to read:
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(1) The commission shall consist of five members
appointed by the Governor and subject to confirmation by the
Senate pursuant to s. 114.05. Each member shall be a resident
of the state, and one member shall reside within the
geographical boundaries of each of the five water management
districts. Each member shall be a registered professional
engineer licensed in this state for at least 5 years before
appointment, have geological knowledge and expertise in the
Florida aquifer systems, and have experience in administration
of water supply facilities.
(2) Each commissioner shall serve for a term of 4
years and shall be eligible for reappointment for only one
additional term, except that:
(a) The governor shall initially appoint one
commissioner for a term of 1 year, one for a term of 2 years,
one for a term of 3 years, and two for a term of 4 years each;
(b) The Governor may remove a commissioner from office
for malfeasance in office, persistent neglect of or inability
to discharge duties, or offenses involving moral turpitude,
and for no other cause; and
(c) Any commissioner appointed to fill a vacancy
occurring prior to the expiration of the term for which his
predecessor was appointed shall be appointed for the remainder
of that term.
(3) The Governor shall designate one of the 4-year-
term commissioners as chairman for the first year the
commission exists. Thereafter, the commissioners shall elect
annually one of their number as chairman. If the chairman is
absent or ill, the commission may select a temporary chairman.
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(4) A commissioner shall receive no salary but shall
be reimbursed for per diem and travel expenses incurred in the
performance of his duties as provided in s. 112.061.
(5) Regular meetings of the commission shall be held
monthly. Special meetings may be called by the chairman or at
the request of a majority of the commissioners. Three members
in attendance shall constitute a quorum.
(6) A complete record of the proceedings of the
commission shall be made, and such record shall be open to
Section 5. Section 373.704, Florida Statutes, is
created to read:
373.704 Executive director.--The commission shall
employ an executive director who shall have been a registered
professional engineer for at least 5 years prior to his
employment, be experienced in the field of water management or
water supply, and have geological knowledge and expertise in
the state's aquifer systems. He shall serve at the pleasure
of the commission. The executive director shall employ the
full-time and part-time employees, including attorneys,
engineers, hydrologists, geologists and other specialists with
expertise in the field of water supply development and
administration that the commission deems necessary to assist
in carrying out the powers, duties, and functions designated
in this part.
Section 6. Section 373.705, Florida Statutes, is
created to read:
373.705 General powers.--The commission is authorized
to make contracts; to lease, buy, acquire, hold and dispose of
real and personal property; to sue and be sued; to hire such
employees, attorneys, consultants, and agents as the
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commission shall require, to define their authority and
duties, and in its discretion to require bonds of them and to
fix the conditions thereof; and to adopt rules as necessary to
carry out the purposes of this part. The commission shall
determine and prescribe, consistent with general law, the
manner in which its obligations shall be incurred and its
expenses allowed and paid. The commission, by and with the
consent of any board, commission, or department of the state,
including any field service thereof, may avail itself of the
use of information, facilities, officers, and employees of
such agency in carrying out the provisions of this part.
Section 7. Section 373.706, Florida Statutes, is
created to read:
373.706 Special powers and duties.--The commission:
(1) Shall assist any municipality, county, regional
water supply authority, or any other governmental entity of
this state by selling to such entity water in such quantities
as is necessary to ensure an adequate and dependable water
supply to all areas of the state.
(2) Shall acquire land, water, and water rights,
develop, store, and transport water; provide, sell, and
deliver water to municipalities, counties, regional water
authorities, or other governmental entities who sell or
provide water for public, agricultural, industrial, or other
(3) May enter into contracts for sale of water and
water services upon terms and conditions and at rates and
charges established by the commission which will
proportionately assess an equitable share of the capital cost
and operating expense of the commission to the purchaser of
water from the commission. In establishing such rates, terms
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and conditions, the commission shall not be subject to the
supervisory control or regulation of any other state board or
(4) Shall not engage in local water distribution.
(5) May exercise the power of eminent domain in the
manner provided by law for the condemnation of private
property for public use to acquire title to such interest in
real property as is necessary to the exercise of the powers
herein granted, except that it shall not exercise such power
to acquire water and water rights already devoted to
reasonable and beneficial use for any water production or
transmission facilities owned by any municipality, county,
regional water authority, or other governmental entity
supplying water to the people of the state.
(6) May acquire by gift, purchase, or power of eminent
domain any lands within the state for aqueduct or transmission
lines necessary to supply water under the powers herein
(7) Shall, while developing the necessary water
supplies, protect the environment of the state by instituting,
wherever possible, procedures and technology to fully protect
the water resources of this state.
(8) Shall plan for meeting the state's future water
supply needs by use of surveys, studies, and investigations in
order to ascertain the character and need of the watershed
areas of the state for reasonable, beneficial use of water to
the end that distribution of water throughout the state may be
accomplished without any watershed area experiencing a water
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(9) Shall, whenever necessary, obtain consumptive use
permits from the appropriate water management district in
developing a source.
(10) Shall assist in maximizing the economic
development of the water resources within the various
watersheds of the state.
(11) May join with any other agency of the state or
with any municipality, county, regional water authority, or
other governmental entity supplying water to the people of the
state in any project for the development of a water supply
(12) May utilize any land owned by the state or by a
state agency for a water source, treatment, or transmission
purpose provided such use is not repugnant to its existing use
and does not substantially impair the environment of the land.
The state hereby consents to the use and occupation of any
real property now or hereafter owned by it necessary for the
construction, operation, or maintenance of any water
production project of the commission including state land
lying beneath any navigable waters of the state.
(13) May utilize any ground water or surface water
within the state for water supply purposes.
(14) Shall operate any water supply facility owned or
controlled by it in compliance with all applicable laws and
shall produce water strictly in compliance with all applicable
legally established water quality standards.
(15) Shall be responsible for formulation of the state
water use plan described in a. 373.036. The plan shall be
developed and adopted by January 1, 1988. All data heretofore
developed by the department pursuant to its responsibilities
under s. 373.036 shall be furnished to the commission to
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facilitate formulation of the state water use plan. In
furtherance of the obligation to cooperate, advise, and assist
in formulation of the state water use plan, the governing
board of each water management district shall supply to the
commission, not later than January 1, 1987, the groundwater
basin resource availability inventory prescribed by s.
373.0395, for consideration by the commission in development
of the state water use plan. In the formulation of the state
water use plan, the commission may consider such other
information and data as it may deem appropriate, including but
not limited to, data and information from the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Geological Survey,
the Department of Environmental Regulation, the Department of
Health and Rehabilitative Services, regional water supply
authorities, regional planning councils, counties, and
municipalities. In addition to the considerations expressed
in a. 373.036, the state water use plan shall include:
(a) All existing and future water needs of all
watershed areas in the state.
(b) A specific and detailed plan for meeting existing
and future water needs so as to prevent any water shortage
from occurring within the state.
(c) An inventory of all existing unused major sources
of water in the state and an orderly scientific plan for
development of such major sources of water consistent with
preservation of the state's environment.
(d) A recommendation for the purchase of lands
throughout the state which must be purchased or preserved in
order to safeguard the state's water supply.
(e) If necessary, an orderly and scientific plan for
the allocation of water among consumers in the state.
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(16) Shall annually adopt a water resources program,
based upon the state water use plan, consisting of the
projects and facilities which the commission proposes to be
undertaken by the commission and by other authorized
governmental and private agencies, organizations, and persons
during the ensuing 6 years or such other reasonably
foreseeable period as the commission may determine. The water
resources program shall include a systematic presentation of:
(a) The quality and quantity of water resources needs
for such period;
(b) The existing and proposed projects and facilities
required to satisfy such needs, including all public and
private projects to be anticipated; and
(c) A separate statement of the projects proposed to
be undertaken by the commission during such period.
(17) Shall make recommendations to the secretary of
the department regarding approval of interlocal agreements
creating regional water supply authorities as provided in s.
Section 8. Section 373.707, Florida Statutes, is
created to read:
373.707 Obligations of indebtedness.--The commission
may issue revenue bonds in the manner prescribed by part I of
chapter 159, the Revenue Bond Act of 1953, as amended, to be
payable solely from funds derived from the projects, works or
systems of the commission. For the purpose of issuing revenue
bonds, the commission shall have all the powers, duties, and
obligations which are specified for the governing body of a
"unit" as defined in s. 159.02(2) and as that term is used in
ss. 159.01-159.15. Such bonds may be issued to finance the
cost of acquiring properties and facilities for the production
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and transmission of water by the commission to any
municipality, county, regional water authority or other
governmental entity selling water to the people of this state.
The cost of acquiring real property and easements may be
included as costs in determining the amount of such bonds.
Section 9. Section 373.708, Florida Statutes, is
created to read:
373.708 County donations of rights-of-way.--The
several counties of the state through which, or adjacent to
the boundaries of which, may pass the route for any water
transmission line, canal, or aqueduct servicing a water
production system of the commission, may donate to the
commission all necessary rights-of-way, or portions thereof,
together with other lands necessary or useful in the
acquisition, construction, maintenance, and operation of the
water production system.
Section 10. Paragraph (d) is added to subsection (1)
of section 373.223, Florida Statutes, to reads
373.223 Conditions for a permit.--
(1) To obtain a permit pursuant to the provisions of
this chapter, the applicant must establish that the proposed
use of water:
(d) Is consistent with the state water use plan and
water resources program adopted by the Florida Water Resources
Commission, as revised from time to time.
Section 11. This act shall take effect July 1, 1983 or
upon becoming a law, whichever occurs later.
Creates the Water Resources Commission Act and the
Florida Water Resources Commission, an agency which is to
plan and coordinate the supply and use of state water
See bill for details.
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