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Florida Chamber's Environmental Service
P.O. Box 1857
Tallahassee, Florida 32302
Tel: (904) 425-2477
Fax: (904) 681-8796
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SUBJECT: State Water Policy
Florida, which receives over 50 inches of rain per year, has an ample supply of water to meet the
projected needs of citizens, industry, agriculture, and th-envairoant natural systems. Water
shortages are often the result oflack-ofadequate less than effective water management as
opposed to a change in natural conditions. Water resource and water supply development are of
critical importance to business and industry. It is imperative to Florida's future that the
responsibility for water resource development be clearly delineated and assigned to water
management districts. Availability of water for all uses should be emphasized. It should be
clarified that the districts have an affirmative obligation to seek, find, and augment sources for the
continued use of water for all of Florida's water needs. The water resource development process
should be streamlined and-mademrore made proactive. Unnecessary planning and regulatory
obstacles should be removed. The Chamber's position statement on Florida water policy supports
the accomplishment of these objectives.
WATER PROTECTION AND USE: The Florida Chamber of Commerce supports the following
positions regarding the use and protection of Florida water resources:
1. Legislative direction that water resources development is a primary mission of water
management districts. Districts should use ad valorem tax revenues for water resource
development and for financial assistance to local government, private utilities, and water
supply authorities to facilitate water supply development. As used herein, the term "water
resources development means the development and implementation of integrated water
resources management strategies using aquifers and watershed basins as the planning units
and including the following: surface water and groundwater data collection and
evaluation; the preparation of strategic plans; construction, maintenance and operation of
major public works facilities to provide for flood control, surface and underground
storage, groundwater recharge augmentation, and sustainability of all reasonable and
beneficial water uses, to support and supportive interaction with private and public water
users and water suppliers. The term "water supply development" means the planning,
construction, maintenance and operation of public and private facilities for extraction of
water from watersheds and aquifers for treatment, transmission and distribution for resale
or end use.
2. Legislative enactment of a state water policy which seeks to provide adequate water
resources for all uses and which provides for balanced consideration of human needs and
those of the natural systems. The Chamber opposes the adoption of water policy by
executive agency rule unless ratified by the Legislature.
3. Legislative oversight of water management districts is needed, particularly with regard to
district budgets and to emphasize water resource development responsibilities.
Appropriations Subcommittees should be established within the House Appropriatons
and Senate Ways and Mean, Commintt, to annually review Water Management District
budgets. The Legislature should establish measurable water resource development
performance standards objectives to be achieved by districts and monitor district
performance against those objectives standards.
4. Legislative policy direction is needed to determine who pays for water resources
development and how the cost should be allocated.. The Chamber supports the principle
of beneficiariess should pay" as applied to water resources and water supply
development. The costs of providing for water needs of the natural systems, which
benefits all of the citizens of Florida, should be borne by the general population.
5. Statutory clarification is necessary with regard to minimum flows and levels. Existing
facilities and land uses must be taken into account by water management districts in the
establishment and application of minimum flows and levels. Violation of a minimum flow
or level should trigger the development of additional water resources to recover the
shortfall as-we-as in addition to necessary interim restrictions on water use.
6. Legislative direction that water use permits should be issued for more extended durations
consistent with accepted business practices. The duration of a consumptive use permit
should be presumed valid unless emergency circumstances occur which necessitates a
lesser shorter permit duration.
7. A statutory requirement for consistency of regulations between the Department of
Environmental Protection, water management districts, and the Public Service
Commission. The Chamber supports a longer PSC margin reserve period which is
consistent with DEP and WMD requirements; a "used and useful" methodology which
parallels environmental and engineering requirements; an automatic environmental cost
pass-through process for required projects; 100% used and useful treatment for all
components of reuse facilities; and specific authority for the PSC to set conservation rates.
8. Statutory clarification that all publicly owned lands may be used for water resources
development where compatible with other public objectives for use of the land.
9. Statutory authorization for the use of mitigation to balance against the adverse effects of
water resource and water supply development.
10. Creation of regulatory and financial incentives for enhancing water storage and auifer
recharge augmentation on private lands including aquif reditige nation such as
qualification for "bluebelt" tax exemption.
11. A statutory requirement that gubernatorial appointments to governing boards be staggered
such that the terms of no more than three members of a governing board expire in any one