Title: Memo Dated July 17, 1995 of the Public Workshops on the Draft Florida Water Plan
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Title: Memo Dated July 17, 1995 of the Public Workshops on the Draft Florida Water Plan
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Language: English
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Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida
 Notes
Abstract: Jake Varn Collection - Memo Dated July 17, 1995 of the Public Workshops on the Draft Florida Water Plan (JDV Box 39)
General Note: Box 29, Folder 8 ( Florida Water Plan - 1995 ), Item 3
Funding: Digitized by the Legal Technology Institute in the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.
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Full Text




Florida Dcpar'tment of

Memorandum Environmental Protection


July 17, 1995




TO: Pam McVety
Executive Coordinator for
Ecosystem Management

FROM: Chuck Aller
Director
Office of Water Policy

SUBJECT: PUBLIC WORKSHOPS ON THE DRAFT FLORIDA WATER PLAN



The Office of Water Policy requests approval to schedule the draft
Florida Water Plan on the PCC agenda for July 31, 1995. The Office
of Water Policy is prepared to brief the PCC on the Florida Water
Plan and requests approval from the PCC to conduct public
workshops.

The Plan is required by Section 373.036, F.S. The draft is the
product of much coordination within DEP, as well as close
cooperation with the water management districts and a team of
partners from local governments, regional planning councils, other
state and federal agencies, as well as selected private parties.
According to the revised Water Policy Rule (Chapter 62-40, F.A.C.),
which goes into effect July 20, 1995, the Plan is to be adopted by
November 1, 1995. If the PCC authorizes public workshops, they
probably will be held in September.

The Plan is summarized as being:

an integrated, coordinated plan prepared jointly by the
Department of Environmental Protection and the five regional
water management districts to implement their statutory water
management responsibilities, in partnership with other
agencies, units of government, and'interested parties. The
plan provides statewide and regional water management goals,
priority issues, action steps, and schedules to meet the water
needs of people while maintaining, protecting, and improving
the state's natural systems.

We are appreciative of all the work already performed on the Plan
by DEP staff throughout the agency. It is now time to release the
draft for public comment and then make appropriate revisions. We
will be pleased to discuss the draft at the meeting.







(Draft: July 14, 1995)


Florida Water Plan


1995


The Florida Water Plan is an integrated, coordinated plan prepared jointly by
the Department of Environmental Protection and the five regional water
management districts to implement their statutory water management
responsibilities, in partnership with other agencies, units of government, and
interested parties. The plan provides statewide and regional water management
goals, priority issues, action steps, and schedules to meet the water needs of
people while maintaining, protecting, and improving the state's natural systems.



Florida Department of Environmental Protection
Northwest Florida Water Management District
St. Johns River Water Management District
South Florida Water Management Distric-
Southwest Florida Water Management District


Suwannee River Water Management District
CP














Contents
Introduction and Overview 2

Chapter One: General Issues 10

Chapter Two: Water Supply 17

Chapter Three: Flood Protection and Floodplain Management 30

Chapter Four: Water Quality 36

Chapter Five: Natural Systems 44

Chapter Six: Coordination and Evaluation 52

Summary 64















Introduction and Overview


Florida's Water Challenge

Water is fundamental to our economy and well-being of our citizens. Almost every facet of life in Florida
has a close association with water resources. Florida has over 11,000 miles of coastline, more than 7,700
lakes and 1,700 rivers. Twenty seven springs with flows exceeding 100 cubic feet per second emerge from
the state's aquifers. Three million acres of estuaries, open water and wetlands also help define the Florida
landscape. Throughout most of the state, ground water and surface water systems are closely related.
Lake levels are often a direct reflection of ground water levels; spring flow and seepage usually provide the
base flows of streams; and stream discharges to estuaries are critical to maintaining salinity regimes.
These interrelationships form the basis of Florida's major ecological systems.
In many areas of the state, highly transmissive ground water aquifers are at or near the surface or have
direct connections to the surface through sinkholes. These characteristics make Florida's extensive ground
water resources highly susceptible to contamination from a variety of sources such as municipal landfills,
leaking underground storage tanks, hazardous waste dumps, septic tanks, and agricultural pesticides.
Since about ninety percent of the state's population relies on ground water as a source of drinking water,
such contamination can have serious public health and economic consequences.
As Florida's population grows, increasing competition for water is causing conflicts between agricultural,
industrial and urban interests, a trend that has serious social, economic and environmental implications. In
some areas of the state, demands for water are beginning to exceed the sustainable yield of aquifers and
surface waters, and are threatening the health of natural systems. Potentially, this could jeopardize
Florida's $7 billion fishing and $32 billion tourism industries, which directly depend on the continued viability
of the state's water resources and related natural systems. Ultimately, our ability to sustain Florida's
economy and quality of life will depend in large part on how well we protect and manage these vital
resources. The essence of Florida's water challenge is to satisfy competing and rapidly increasing
demands for a finite resource, and minimize resource damage due to contamination. This is a tall order,
and one which is not likely to be met without cooperative, integrated efforts between a variety of federal,
state, regional and local programs as well as the individual citizens of Florida.


Florida's State and Regional Water Management System

Florida's system of water management consists of five regional water managemeriifistricts (WMDs) under
the general supervision of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), which implement a
broad range of planning, management and regulatory programs. Boundaries of the WMDs are shown in
Figure 1. The system attempts to balance the need for consistent statewide approaches with the need for
regional flexibility. Consistent with broad state policy and general DEP guidance, the WMDs implement
programs tailored to the particular water resource needs of each geographic region of the state. As the
stewards of Florida's water resources, DEP and the WMDs must routinely address often-competing public
interests related to water supply, flood protection, water quality, and protection of natural systems. In order
to help do this effectively, DEP and the WMDs have worked as partners to develop comprehensive District
Water Management Plans (DWMPs) for each region. This included application of a uniform format and
guidelines for developing the DWMPs, as well as applying recommendations from seventeen DEP/WMD










technical or "conventions" committees which developed uniform approaches for addressing specific water
issues. Similar teamwork was employed to develop DEP/WMD consensus on revisions to State water policy
and development of the Florida Water Plan (FWP). As part of this comprehensive effort. DEP and the
WMDs have committed substantial resources and effort to involve local governments, private utilities.

Figure 1: Water Management District Boundaries











water supply authorities and other interests in development and implementation of state and regional plans.


What is the Florida Water Plan?

The Florida Water Plan (FWP) is an integrated, coordinated plan prepared jointly by DEP and the five
WMDs. It is intended to guide DEP and the WMDs in implementing current statutory directives prescribed in
the Water Resources Act (Chapter 373, F.S.), the Florida Air and Water Pollution Control Act (Chapter 403,
F.S.), and the State Comprehensive Plan (Chapter 187, F.S.). These statutes provide the basic authorities,
directives and policies for statewide water management, pollution control and environmental protection.

The Water Resources Act requires development of a State Water Use Plan (s. 373.036, F.S.), and
prescribes that the Water Use Plan, together with the state water quality standards, shall constitute the
Florida Water Plan (s. 373.039, F.S.). The water quality standards incorporated by reference in the FWP
are:
Water Quality Standards, Chapter 62-3, F.A.C.
Surface Water Quality Standards, Chapter 62-302, F.A.C.
Surface Water Improvement and Management, Chapter 62-43, F.A.C.
Ground Water Classes, Standards, and Exemptions, Chapter 62- 520, F.A.C.
Drinking Water Standards, Monitoring, and Reporting, Chapter 62-550, F.A.C.

Also incorporated by reference is the DEP Water Policy Rule, Chapter 62-40, F.A.C. Inclusion of the
standards and water policy rule in the plan does not give them additional status as rules, but does
emphasize the necessity of a comprehensive and integrated view of water management. The FWP, like the
individual District Water Management Plans, is intended to be a guidance tool for water management. It is
not self-implementing and will be realized through subsequent actions (budgeting, rulemaking, cooperative
agreements, etc.) of DEP, the WMDs, other agencies, local governments, private parties, or the state
Legislature. While the FWP identifies a variety of new initiatives, many of the strategies and action steps are
based on continuation or enhancement of efforts that are already in progress.


What are the purposes of the FWP ?

The FWP is intended to serve several interrelated purposes, including:

Providing a broad overview of agency responsibilities and actions related to implementing statutory
directives on water resources, including those contained in the Florida Water Resources Act, the
Florida Air and Water Pollution Control Act, and the State Comprehensive Plan.

Coordinating the identification, communication, and resolution of water issues.

Expressing water management goals and guiding their implementation.

Assisting in implementation of water policies.
Developing regional and statewide implementation strategies to achieve FWP goals.

Promoting partnership and coordination among the many parties involved in water management.

Aiding in program evaluation and accountability.


1












Goals of the FWP

The overall goal of the FWP is to assure long-term sustainability of Florida's water resources for the benefit
of the state's economy, natural systems an9quality of life. Key guidance statements contained in Florida
law are used as the goals for each chapter of the FWP. These include the following:
Water Supply
Florida shall assure the availability of an adequate supply of water for all competing uses deemed
reasonable and beneficial and shall maintain the functions of natural systems and the overall present level
of surface and ground water quality. It is the intent of the Legislature that future growth and development
planning reflect the limitations of the available ground water or other available water supplies. (s. 373.0395,
F.S.)
Flood Protection
Require local governments, in cooperation with regional and state agencies, to adopt plans and policies to
protect public and private property and human lives from the effects of natural disasters (s.
187.201(7)(b)25., F.S.).

Encourage the development of a strict floodplain management program by state and local governments
designed to preserve hydrologically significant wetlands and other natural floodplain features. (s.
187.201((8)(b)8. F.S.).
Water Quality

It is declared to be the public policy of this state to conserve the waters of the state and to protect, maintain,
and improve the quality thereof for public water supplies, for the propagation of wildlife and fish and other
aquatic life, and for domestic, agricultural, industrial, recreational, and other beneficial uses and to provide
that no wastes be discharged into any waters of the state without first being given the degree of treatment
necessary to protect the beneficial uses of such water. (s. 403.021(2), F.S.).

Florida shall improve and restore the quality of waters not presently meeting water quality standards. ( s.
187.201(8)(a), F.S.).
Natural Systems
Conserve forests, wetlands, fish, marine life, and wildlife to maintain their environmental, economic,
aesthetic, and recreational values. 187.201(10)(b)1., F.S.).
Reserve from use that water necessary to support essential non-withdrawal demands, including navigation,
recreation, and the protection of fish and wildlife. (s. 187.201(8)(b)14. F.S.).
Coordination
Systematic planning capabilities shall be integrated into all levels of government in Florida with particular
emphasis on improving intergovernmental coordination and maximizing citizen involvement (s.
187.201(26)(a), F.S.)


Fundamental Principles of the FWP

The FWP is based on two fundamental ecosystem management principles:


j











Water resources must be managed to meet the water needs of people while maintaining,
protecting, and improving the state's natural systems; and,
Effective management of water resources requires collaboration and cooperation among all
affected parties.
The plan strives to implement both of these principles through integration of a variety of planning,
acquisition, operational, regulatory, and outreach approaches. In developing the plan, special efforts were
made to provide opportunities for involvement of interested state and federal agencies, local governments
and private organizations. The plan is issue-driven, and focuses on defining key water resource issues,
strategies for addressing those issues, and specific actions to be taken. It also recognizes the need to
regularly assess progress toward implementation. Importantly, the FWP clearly recognizes the balancing
of competing public interests required in statewide comprehensive planning, and that social and economic
considerations such as water supply, protection of private property rights, economic development, and
public involvement are integral to water resources planning.

Private Property Rights

The Florida Water Plan recognizes the need to be consistent with the protections provided by the federal
and state constitutions for private property rights. It supports related provisions in the State Comprehensive
Plan which reinforce these fundamental rights:

Section 187.101(3): The goals and policies contained in the State Comprehensive Plan shall be
reasonably applied where they are economically and environmentally feasible, not contrary to the
public interest, and consistent with the protection of private property rights.
Section 187.201(15)(a), Property Rights:
(a) Goal. Florida shall protect private property rights and recognize the existence of legitimate and
often competing public and private interests in land use regulations and other government action.
(b) Policies
1. Provide compensation, or other appropriate relief as provided by law, to a landowner for any
governmental action that is determined to be an unreasonable exercise of the state's police power
so as to constitute a taking.
2. Determine compensation or other relief by judicial proceeding rather than by administrative
proceeding.
3. Encourage acquisition of lands by state or local government in cases where regulation will
severely limit practical use of real property.
This state policy was amplified by the 1995 Legislature in enacting the "Bert J. Harris, Jr. Private Property
Rights Protection Act," (CS/HB 863), which provided that,
Therefore, it is the intent of the Legislature that, as a separate and distinct cause of action from the
law of takings, the Legislature herein provides for relief, or payment of compensation, when a new
law, rule, regulation, or ordinance of the state or a political entity in the state, as applied, unfairly
affects real property. (Section 1.(1)).
Water resource management must also recognize, however, responsibilities for stewardship of public
resources and protecting the broad public interest. Florida's serious problems of water supply, water
quality, natural systems, and flood protection can be solved only through recognition of our common goals
and interdependencies. The Florida Water Plan. as well as the Department's overall ecosystem
management initiative, seek to achieve both objectives. Examples of this approach are the Ecosystem
Management commitment to implementing regulations which are incentive-based and provide net
environmental benefit, as well as Department efforts to create partnerships with private landowners to
establish greenways, provide joint management of regionally significant environmental areas, and
encourage private landowners to protect critical habitats.











What is the legal force of the FWP?

The FWP is not self-executing. Provisions of the plan are intended to guide future actions of DEP and the
WMDs, but are not binding unless adopted as a rule under the Administrative Procedures Act (Chapter 120,
F.S.). One such rule is the DEP Water Policy rule (Chapter 62-40, F.A.C., also referred to as the State
Water Policy), which provides goals, objectives, and guidance for the development and review of programs,
rules and plans relating to water resources. All WMD rules must be consistent with provisions of this rule,
which was first adopted in 1981 and has been amended several times since. The rule was most recently
amended by the Environmental Regulation Commission in December of 1993 and March, 1995.


Relationship of the FWP to Other State Level Planning

The FWP is intended to be coordinated with the State Land Development Plan (prepared by the
Department of Community Affairs), and the Florida Transportation Plan (prepared by the Department of
Transportation). To be effective, each of these plans must be mutually compatible, as well as consistent
with the State Comprehensive Plan (Chapter 187, F.S.). However, these plans are not yet fully integrated.
The state Task Force on Land Use and Water Planning made many specific recommendations in their
December, 1994 Report on how to better link the three state plans together, as well as how to link them to
regional and local plans. The general relationship of the FWP to other state level planning is shown in
Figure 2. The 1996 Legislature may consider statutory changes to plan requirements, but the FWP
attempts to foster linkages to the extent possible under current law.

Three specific measures are being used to help assure coordination between the three state-level plans:

The Florida Water Plan development process includes representatives from the Department of
Community Affairs and the Department of Transportation.

The Governor's Office is involved in the preparation of all three plans and is working to assure
compatibility.
The Florida Water Plan will reflect, as appropriate, elements of the State Land Development Plan
currently being revised by the DCA.

The Florida Water Plan must focus on water-related issues and activities, but also fully recognizes its
interdependence with other state objectives in the State Comprehensive Plan.

Plan Evaluation and Revision

To remain current, the FWP must be updated regularly to reflect progress toward implementation,
changing circumstances, or improved understandings of water resource problems. The process and
schedule for development and revision of the FWP are illustrated in Figure 3. Annual evaluations of
progress toward implementation (see Chapter Six) are a key step in that ongoing assessment and
evaluation process.

Organization of the FWP

The FWP is organized into six issue areas: General Issues, Water Supply, Flood Protection, Water Quality,
Natural Systems, and Coordination and Evaluation. For each issue area, the relevant goals and policies










adapted from the State Comprehensive Plan, the Florida Water Resources Act, the Florida Air and Water
Pollution Control Act, and other pertinent laws and rules are presented. This is followed by the legal basis
for management, background information for each subject area, a synopsis of key issues, general
strategies being applied to address each issue, and selected action steps.











Figure 2: Florida Water Plan Process


J UNE ( ev- tem/' )
lulllirneer Plan


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orn mallon of a
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\


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DECEMBER i o,
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raised sets milnlinuni
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rmnl (or
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1n content anu
r nit FLORIDA NOVEMBER
ElR PLAN. Adopllon of portions
of the lanr by rule,
and begin Ilan
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DECEMBERl
Synthesis A Integration
of priorlty regional issues, 5.-Ytr
straigles, and ctlidults. Re


.ralualion
por lI


NOVEMII ER
'MD drafn scopes of


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I)e sllne of INovembir,
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's i)EPI/WMI) iork
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developing the P'lan

NOVEMBER
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RCII -APRIL
ubllc uorkslhops
Id In each region
of ie sltat.


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f, o,-, .I... .


|-.-- --j .. .










Figure 2: State-Level Plan Relationships










Figure 3: Florida Water Plan Process and Schedule













Chapter One: General Issues


General Goals:

Section 2 of the Florida Environmental Reorganization Act of 1993, which merged the former Departments
of Environmental Regulation and Natural Resources into the Department of Environmental Protection,
contained several broad goal provisions related to protection and management of Florida's water
resources, including:

(1) The protection, preservation, and restoration of air, water, and other natural resources of this state are
vital to the social and economic well-being and the quality of life of the citizens of this state and visitors to
this state.

(2) It is the policy of the Legislature:
(a) to develop a consistent state policy for the protection and management of the environment and
natural resources.
(b) to provide efficient governmental services to the public.
to protect the functions of entire ecosystems through enhanced coordination of public land
acquisition, regulatory, and planning programs.
(d) to maintain and enhance the powers, duties, and responsibilities of the environmental agencies
of the state in the most efficient and effective manner.
(e) to streamline governmental services, providing for delivery of such services to the public in a
timely, cost-efficient manner.
In response to the merger legislation, the Department of Environmental Protection adopted the following
statement of its mission:
The mission of the Department of Environmental Protection is to: Protect, Conserve, and Manage
Florida's Environment and Natural Resources. The Department accomplishes its mission in a
manner that:
1) provides stewardship of Florida's ecosystems so that the state's unique quality of life
may be preserved for present and future generations
2) protects the public health and safety
3) provides for responsible and wise use of the state's mineral, cultural and living
resources
4) provides efficient and equitable service to the public
5) provides consistent and impartial implementation of the law.

Background Information

Many issues in water management can not be neatly compartmentalized into any of the single subject area
chapters of trie Florida Water Plan (FWP): Water Supply, Flood Protection, Water Quality, and Natural
Systems. For example, lands are often placed into public ownership for all four of these purposes.
Similarly, the need for coordination and public education is shared by all aspects of water management.
This chapter is meant to summarize broad issues that are central to Florida's water management
challenge, and describe strategies and action steps which will have effects that cut across all parts of the
FWP.










General Issue 1: There are inadequate links between land
and water planning, and between planning and program
implementation, causing program conflicts and
inefficiencies.

In 1993, the Florida Legislature created the Task Force on Land Use and Water Planning. After a year of
deliberation, the group concluded that while Florida has developed some of the strongest land and water
protection laws in the country, there is no clearly defined link in the state's comprehensive planning
framework between the water resource decisions of the water management districts and the land use
planning and management decisions of local governments. Legislation is needed to fully address this
concern, but some progress can be made with existing authorities and programs to help integrate land use
and water planning. The FWP generally supports the recommendations of the Task Force, particularly in
terms of improved technical assistance and information services.

General Issue Strategy 1.1: Improve the linkages between land and
water planning, and between planning and implementation
programs.

Selected Action Steps:
1. Seek to fully integrate the Florida Water Plan with the Florida Land Development Plan, Florida
Transportation Plan, and Ecosystem Management. (DEP, 1995 Ongoing.)
2. Continue to provide technical and/or financial assistance for Local Comprehensive Plans and
Strategic Regional Policy Plans. (DEP, WMDs, DCA, RPCs, & GFWFC, Ongoing.)
3. Assess DEP and WMD programs to identify opportunities for increasing coordination between
planning and implementation functions, with special emphasis on integrating ecosystem
management, and watershed management approaches into agency programs. (DEP & WMDs,
1996.)

General Issue 2: The failure of government the private
sector, and the generall public to take shared responsibility
for sustaining Filorida's water resources is hindering the
effectiveness of water management efforts.

The success of Florida's water resource and ecosystem management efforts is dependent on an informed
public. It is important for Floridians to understand the basic issues of water management and to accept
shared responsibility for protecting and wisely managing our increasingly threatened water resources. The
FWP places a high priority on raising the level of environmental awareness of Floridians and visitors, and
encouraging the participation of individuals and organizations in conserving and protecting our water
resources.

General Issue Strategy 2.1: Promote joint responsibility for
sustaining water resources.











Selected Action Steps:


1. Through existing programs, enhance the roles of Regional Planning Councils and local
governments in planning and management of water resources and related natural systems.
2. Assess internal and external environmental education programs to identify strengths,
weaknesses and recommended improvements for greater effectiveness and coordination, with
particular emphasis on incorporation of water and ecosystem management concepts. (DEP &
WMDs, 1996 Continuing.)
3. Work to develop a shared ethic of environmental stewardship and involvement with the citizens
of Florida as part of ecosystem management initiatives. (DEP & WMDs. 1995 Continuing.)

General Issue 3: Water management usually has not been
approached on a comprehensive watershed basis, which has
impaired our ability to protect water resources and related
natural systems.

There currently is widespread recognition that management of Florida's water resources and associated
natural systems demands broader, longer-term strategies than have been used historically. Major initiatives
are being taken to improve approaches at both the state and regional levels. Pursuant to legislation that
created the DEP, the department is focusing more of its resources on the management of entire eco-
systems. The DEP's definition of Ecosystem Management is:

An integrated approach to management of Florida's biological and physical environments --
conducted through the use of tools such as planning, land acquisition, environmental education,
regulation, and pollution prevention -- designed to maintain, protect, and improve the state's
natural, managed, and human communities.
A central tenet of ecosystem management is that to protect ecosystems, we must protect and restore the
critical processes upon which the ecosystems depend. The FWP will foster the application of ecological
principles to the management of hydrologic systems. Watersheds generally will be the basic management
units, within which holistic approaches will be applied to allow consideration of various physical, biological,
chemical, social and economic factors within hydrologically-connected areas. Where possible, the
interactions between surface and ground water basins will be incorporated.
General Issue Strategy 3.1: Promote and implement watershed and
ecosystem approaches. The department and the water management
districts will target ecosystems for priority attention and support
enhancement and integration of existing efforts such as the SWIM
and National Estuary Programs.

Selected Action Steps:

1. Provide leadership in implementing ecosystem management principles. (DEP, Ongoing.)



14










2. Create and improve ecosystem management partnerships with public and private entities.
(DEP, Ongoing.)
3. Implement provisions of the Everglades Forever Act. (SFWMD & DEP, Ongoing.)
4. Create an Ecosystem Selection Working Group (ESWG). The ESWG will be responsible for
selecting those ecosystems that need priority attention and management by permanent teams.
DEP & WMDs, 1994-95, Ongoing.)
5. Expand geographically based management and planning by establishing management teams
for selected additional ecosystems and developing ecosystem area implementation strategies.
(DEP & WMDs, 1995 Ongoing.)
6. Develop effective mechanisms to track permits and assess impacts of permitted activities on a
watershed basis. (DEP & WMDs, Ongoing.)
7. In coordination with the WMDs, and in accordance with the DEP/EPA work plan, implement the
Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) concept for priority watersheds (DEP & WMDs, Ongoing.)
8. Provide permit review staff with access to GIS tools necessary to evaluate permit applications
on a watershed basis. (DEP & WMDs, Ongoing.)
9. Enhance and implement six demonstration ecosystem management area implementation
strategies: Suwannee River, Everglades, Hillsborough River, St. Johns River, Wekiva River, and
Apalachicola River. (DEP & WMDs, Ongoing.)
10. Implement Florida Bay restoration, including the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Plan.
(SFWMD & DEP, Ongoing.)

General Issue Strategy 3.2: Improve land acquisition and land
management programs to enhance protection and management of
water resources on a watershed or ecosystem basis.
State land acquisition programs are directed at a broad variety of purposes, including recreational,
environmental, flood control, historic and forestry resources, most of which are mutually supportive. These
purposes show great opportunities for using acquisition programs as components of a statewide, integrated
water resource management strategy.

The most recent and largest example of Florida's commitment to preserving its natural resources is the
Preservation 2000 (P2000) program. P2000 is intended to provide for a three billion dollar bond program to
finance various land acquisition efforts over a ten-year period, with 50 percent of the bond funds earmarked
for the Conservation and Recreation Lands (CARL) program and 30 percent for Save Our Rivers (SOR),
which also receives funds from documentary stamp collections. Save Our Rivers is implemented by the
water management districts with administrative oversight by the DEP. The SOR fund is the primary source
for environmental land purchases by the water management districts, and has been used in conjunction
with federal, state, and local government funding to acquire lands needed to conserve, protect, or restore
water resources.

Selected Action Steps:

1. Evaluate the reciprocal impacts of activities on public and private properties in identified
ecosystems. Coordinate management activities in identified ecosystems through groups of
representatives of private property owners and public managers in the ecosystems. (DEP &
WMDs, Ongoing.)
2. Expand application of the "Greenline Concept', through which DEP delineates areas of
concern adjacent to state parks, and seeks to incorporate resource management strategies for











such areas into WMD programs and local government comprehensive planning. (DEP & WMDs,
Ongoing.)
3.Develop a strategic plan with a comprehensive map of existing public and private conservation
lands and land interests (e.g. easements) and additional lands that should be under some degree
of protection to complete a statewide ecological conservation system. (DEP, WMDs, & GFWFC,
1997.)
4. Improve coordination of land acquisition and management planning efforts of government and
non-profit groups through: a) enhanced coordination of long-term strategic acquisition, at
statewide and regional scales, b) greater involvement of citizens, and c) increased access to land
acquisition and greenways data bases. (DEP & WMDs, 1996-Continuing.)
5.. Support innovative approaches to land acquisition, such as joint funding between
governmental units, less than fee simple ownership, and cooperative management strategies.
(DEP & WMDs, local governments, private, and non-profit groups. Ongoing.)

General Issue 4: Better information is needed to support
water resource protection, restoration and management
actions.

While knowledge of the general processes and dynamics of water resources and related natural systems
has increased significantly in recent years, system-specific understandings are often inadequate to reliably
predict the consequences of major management actions. Data associated with individual permit
applications generally is of limited value for addressing system-wide questions. Scientific research needed
to acquire system-wide information is usually very expensive, must be carefully designed, and requires long
time frames to accomplish. However, management actions usually cannot wait until detailed understanding
of each hydrologic unit or system is available, and many decisions must be made on the basis of best
available information and professional judgement We need continuing efforts to assure that research
related to water resources and natural systems is targeted at answering key management issues.

General Issue Strategy 4.1: Seek to assure that, where appropriate,
collection of water data by DEP, the WVMDs, the Corps of
Engineers, local governments and others is coordinated, directed at
answering priority management questions, and is analyzed in a
method useful for making water management decisions.

Selected Action Steps:

1. Implement s. 62-40.430. F.A.C. revisions on data management. (DEP & WMDs, 1995 -
Ongoing.)
2. Foster development and enhanced cooperative use of GIS technology and information by DEP
and WMDs. (DEP & WMDs, Ongoing.)
3. Continue the use of DEP/WMD convention committees to recommend uniform approaches to
technical problems, and where appropriate, policy issues. (DEP & WMDs 1995 Ongoing.)
4. Through existing mechanisms such as the State Clearinghouse, NEPA, and CZMA federal
consistency reviews, facilitate early consultation between DEP. WMDs. and the Corps of
Engineers regarding water resource data collection and hydrocraphic modeling for federal flood
control projects.










5. Continue the cooperative program with the USGS to collect, compile, and publish statewide
water data on a five-year basis.
6. Present the results of data acquisition efforts in a form useful to planning as well as regulation
and make reports available to DEP and WMD staff, local governments, and the public.

General Issue Strategy 4.2: Where water resource understandings
are deficient, apply adaptive management techniques, and balance
uncertainty in favor of avoiding irretrievable long-term commitments
which may jeopardize water resources or the long-term public interest.
Water resource management decisions often involve some uncertainty, particularly in terms of
understanding the dynamics of specific hydrologic systems and the linkages between hydrology and long-
term ecological response. While considerable understanding exists about hydrologic-ecologic
interrelationships in general, system-specific understandings are often inadequate to provide a high degree
of confidence in the effectiveness of some major management actions. But management decisions,
particularly those related to restoration, must be made in a timely manner, and usually cannot await
detailed understandings. Restoration efforts in the Indian River Lagoon, Lake Apopka, Tampa Bay, Upper
St. Johns River, and the Kissimmee/ Lake Okeechobee/Everglades/Florida Bay systems are all faced with
this problem. One approach for dealing with uncertainty in decision-making is termed "adaptive
management", whereby timely but cautious actions are taken within an ecosystem perspective, based on
general scientific principles, experience gained from other systems, and the best available information for
the specific area. This use of professional judgement is followed by monitoring of water resource or
environmental response and comparison of observed results with those that were predicted. Management
actions may then be modified, if necessary, based on the knowledge gained. A major objective of this
approach is to avoid irretrievable commitments that may prove to be harmful to water resources or
otherwise be contrary to the long-term public interest.

Selected Action Steps:

1. In conjunction with ecosystem management teams established under General Strategy 3.1,
create ecosystem management committees to coordinate data gathering, information
assessment, and development of management strategies within selected ecosystem
management project areas. (DEP, WMDs, GFWFC, other state, federal, regional and local
agencies, and private interests, 1996-Ongoing.)
2. Convene additional convention committees to recommend consistent approaches for
addressing priority water resource information needs. (DEP & WMDs, 1996.)











Chapter Two: Water


Supply

Water Supply Goal

Florida shall assure the availability of an adequate supply of water for all competing uses deemed
reasonable and beneficial and shall maintain the functions of natural systems and the overall present level
of surface and ground water quality. Florida shall improve and restore the quality of waters not presently
meeting water quality standards. (State Comprehensive Plan, s.187201(8)(a), F.S.)

Legal Basis for Management

Florida Statutes and rules contain an abundance of general guidance on protection and management of
water resources and related natural systems, including the following provisions pertinent to water supply:
Ensure that new development is compatible with existing local and regional water supplies. (s.
187.201((8)5. F.S.)
Reserve from use that water necessary to support essential non-withdrawal demands, including
navigation, recreation, and the protection of fish and wildlife. (s. 187.201(8)(b)14. F.S.)
Encourage the development of local and regional water supplies within water management districts
instead of transporting surface water across district boundaries (s. 187.201(8) F.S.)
It is the policy of the state that the citizens of Florida shall be assured of the availability of safe
drinking water. (s. 403.851, F.S.)
It is the intent of the Legislature that future growth and development planning reflect the limitations
of the available ground water or other available water supplies. (s. 373.0395, FS.)
The encouragement and promotion of water conservation, and reuse of reclaimed water, as
defined by the department, are state objectives. (s. 403.064, F.S.; also s. 373.250, F.S.)
To obtain a [consumptive use] permit pursuant to the provisions of this chapter, the applicant
must establish that the proposed use of water: (a) Is a reasonable-beneficial use as defined in s.
373.019(4); (b) Will not interfere with any presently existing legal use of water; and (c) Is
consistent with the public interest. (s. 373.223, F.S.)
Assure availability of an adequate and affordable supply of water for all reasonable-beneficial
uses. Uses of water authorized by a permit shall be limited to reasonable-beneficial uses. (s. 62-
40.310(1)(a), F.A.C.)
Provide for the management of water and related land resources (s. 373.016(2)(a), F.S.)
Champion and develop sound water conservation practices and public information programs. (s.
62-40.310(1 )(c), F.A.C.)
Encourage the use of water of the lowest acceptable quality for the purpose intended. (s. 62-
40.310(1)(e), F.A.C.)











Encourage demand management and the development of alternative water supplies, including
water conservation, reuse of reclaimed water, desalination, storm water reuse, recharge, and
aquifer storage and recovery. (s. 62-40.310(1)(g), F.A.C.)
In implementing consumptive use permitting programs, a reasonable amount of reuse of
reclaimed water shall be required within water resource caution areas, unless objective evidence
demonstrates that such reuse is not economically, environmentally, or technically feasible. (s. 62-
40.416(2), F.A.C.)
Protect aquifers from depletion through water conservation and preservation of the functions of
high recharge areas. (s. 62-40.310(1)(h), F.A.C.)
It is the intent of the Legislature that utilities develop reclaimed water systems, where reclaimed
water is the most appropriate alternative water supply option, to deliver reclaimed water to as
many users as possible through the most cost-effective means, and to construct reclaimed water
system infrastructure to their owned or operated properties and facilities where they have
reclamation capability. (s. 373.1961(2))
It is also the intent of the Legislature that the water management districts which levy ad valorem
taxes for water management purposes should share a percentage of those tax revenues with
water providers and users, including local governments, water, wastewater, and reuse utilities,
municipal, industrial, and agricultural water users, and other public and private water users, to be
used to supplement other funding sources in the development of alternative water supplies. (s.
373.1961(2), F.S.)
The governing boards of the water management districts where water resource caution areas
have been designated shall include in their annual budgets an amount for the development of
alternative water supply systems, including reclaimed water systems, pursuant to the
requirements of this subsection. (s. 373.1961(2) (a), F.S.)
In the performance of, and in conjunction with, its other powers and duties, a water management
district shall not deprive, directly or indirectly, any county wherein which water is withdrawn to the
prior right to supply reasonable and beneficial needs of the county or any of the inhabitants or
property owners therein. (s. 373.1961(5), F.S.)

Background Information
Water supply has emerged as a critical issue for the 1990's and beyond. In 1950, Florida's total fresh water
withdrawal was about 2.9 billion gallons per day, serving a population of 2.77 million. By 1990, withdrawals
had increased 158 percent to 7.5 billion gallons for a population of about 13 million. Approximately 4.7
billion gallons (or 63%) is from ground water sources. The sheer numbers are complicated further by the
State's development patterns. Even though Florida has extensive water resources, a major water use
concern is that approximately 80 percent of the state's population live in coastal areas where fresh water
supplies are most limited and fragile. In these areas, the increasing demands for cheap, dependable, high
quality water for agriculture, industry, and a burgeoning population are beginning to exceed the limits of
easily developed sources.

Florida's water supply challenge is directly linked to the state's rainfall characteristics and natural water
cycles. If one considers the natural water budget within which Floridians must cope, the need for prudent
management becomes obvious. While the state's average yearly rainfall is approximately 53 inches,
about 38 inches is lost to the atmosphere through evapotranspiration. About 8 inches goes to sea as
natural stream discharge or runoff -- leaving only about 7 inches to recharge aquifers, maintain lake levels,
and supply the needs of humans. While some of the natural runoff may also be stored in environmentally
sensitive ways for human purposes (and is an important source in certain areas), the retained amount will
not constitute a substantial portion of the overall water budget. Additionally, Florida's precipitation patterns
are extremely variable -- spatially, seasonally, and from year to year. Unpredictable extremes of flood and
drought are a natural part of the Florida scene, and one region of the state can experience high rainfall










while another is experiencing drought. It is the variability and extremes of Florida's rainfall patterns, coupled
with the state's high population growth rate that pose the greatest challenge to Florida's water supply
planning. Figures 4 and 5 show statewide total withdrawals of fresh water and the relative amounts
withdrawn for various uses.


Figure 4: Statewide Total Fresh Water Withdrawals




Figure 5: Percentage of Total Fresh Water Withdrawals by Use














Water supply planning must consider all feasible sources, including surface waters. However, surface
waters support a variety of fish and wildlife that are dependent on or adapted to natural fluctuations in flow
or water levels, and the periods of greatest human demand usually are also at the time when aquatic
systems are under greatest natural stress. Water managers must assure that human water demands do
not overstress these natural systems. Due to the state's relatively flat topography and variable rainfall, our
natural surface water systems are usually not efficient or dependable sources of public water supplies.
Also, new in-stream reservoirs generally involve major environmental and social impacts and are
discouraged by state water policy. Nonetheless, in 1990, about 37 percent of the state's total fresh water
withdrawals were from surface waters.

Florida has one of the most productive aquifer systems in the United States. Large quantities of water are
obtainable from each of the state's principal aquifers. The state also contains 27 of the 78 first-magnitude
springs (greater than 100 cubic feet per second average flow) in the nation. Because of its availability and
generally high quality, ground water is the principal source of fresh water for public supply, rural domestic,
industrial and commercial, and irrigation uses. About 90 percent of Florida's population depends on ground
water for its drinking water. Clearly, ground water is one of Florida's most valuable natural resources.
Ground water in Florida is particularly vulnerable to contamination. The state is covered nearly everywhere
by a thin layer of surficial sands that overlie a thick sequence of porous limestone and dolomite. Depth to
ground water throughout the state is relatively shallow; ranging from 0-100 feet, with 10-20 feet being most
common. Even though ground water is taken from deeper aquifers for many uses, the combination of
relatively shallow ground water, highly transmissive geologic formations, permeable surface sands, and
rapid conversion of the Florida landscape to various forms of development present a continuing threat to
the state's ground water supplies. Once ground water is contaminated, cleanup is very costly and
sometimes impossible. Prevention of pollution is far more economical than remediation.

Water Supply Issue 1: Demands on ground and surface
water supplies are exceeding or threatening to exceed
sustainable yields from particular sources.


Because replenishment of most water supplies in Florida is dependent on rainfall which occurs primarily
within the state's borders, seasonal and longer-term weather patterns can seriously affect water availability.
Overpumping of water from underlying aquifers can result in salt water intrusion, as well as cause
significant harm to wetlands and associated natural systems. While the circumstances vary in each district,
the consistent message is that localized shortages are emerging. For example, during the 1989 drought,
the South Florida, Southwest Florida and St. Johns River water management districts all imposed some
form of additional water use restrictions.
The 1994 Task Force on Land Use and Water Planning called for the FWP to identify areas where water
resources are in need of restoration or protection. In terms of water supply, the current formal recognition
of such areas is accomplished through WMD establishment of Water Resource Caution Areas by rule. Four
of the five WMDs have designated one or more areas as Water Resource Caution Areas (WRCAs) as
called for in State Water Policy (see Figure 6). As water supplies become more scarce, there is increasing
need to stress conservation, alternative technologies, and improved withdrawal and distribution strategies.














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SUWANNEE
RIVER WMD


ST. JOHNS
RIVER
WMD


WATER

RESOURCE

CAUTION

AREAS

(WRCAs)

IN FLORIDA


SOUTHWEST\
FLORIDA
WMD


SOUTH
FLORIDA
WMD
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Source: Florida's Waler Managemcn Districts
February. ]995


1K











Reduction of per capital water demands through conservation is probably the cheapest, most
environmentally sound, and most effective way of extending water supplies. Accordingly, the DEP Water
Policy Rule (s.62-40.412, F.A.C.) states:
The overall water conservation goal of the state shall be to prevent and reduce wasteful,
uneconomical, or unreasonable use of water resources. Conservation of water shall be required
unless not economically or environmentally feasible."
While the need to conserve water has never been clearer, the perception of Florida as water-rich continues
to work against widespread acceptance of effective conservation practices. Increasingly, the water man-
agement districts and DEP have included conservation and reuse in their approaches to regulation,
technical and financial assistance, and public awareness. The crux of this issue is how to best instill and
maintain a water conservation ethic in all water use sectors.

In addition to conservation, where shortages are occurring or projected, the feasibility of alternative
technologies such as reuse of reclaimed water, beneficial use of stormwater, desalination, and aquifer
storage and recovery, must also be thoroughly assessed. Key aspects of using alternative technologies
include how to fund projects, make best use of existing or modified regulatory approaches, and develop
dependable, environmentally acceptable techniques. Because reuse is such an important topic and holds
such potential, it is discussed separately under Water Supply Strategy 4.4, below.
Other promising approaches under certain circumstances include combined withdrawal strategies for
ground water and surface waters, linking water treatment and distribution systems of adjacent jurisdictions,
and creation of regional water supply authorities. While such approaches may not have been considered in
the past due to technical difficulties, treatment requirements, or cost, their attractiveness has increased as
cheap and dependable sources have become more scarce. All five WMDs and DEP have been working
closely together and with local governments to provide consistent, environmentally sound approaches to
water supply planning. Individual District Water Management Plans (DWMPs) address the water supply
issues of each region in detail.

Water Supply Strategy 1.1: Promote water conservation.

Selected Action Steps:

1. Implement provisions of the DEP Water Policy Rule pertaining to water supply protection and
management, water conservation, and reuse (Sections 62-40.410;.412; and .416, F.A.C.). (DEP
& WMDs, 1995.)
2. Implement water conservation programs through public education, technical and financial
assistance, and consumptive use permitting programs. (WMDs, local governments & utilities,
Ongoing.)

Water Supply Strategy 1.2: Promote efficient and equitable
allocation of limited water among competing uses.
As local demands for water supplies reach the limits of available resources, we are seeing greater compe-
tition between urban, industrial and agricultural users. These user groups, in turn, are in ever-greater
competition with the needs of already-stressed ecological systems. However, the solution is not a simple
matter of improving water distribution networks. If Florida's economy and quality of life are to be sustained,
water supply programs must recognize and account for the water needs of both natural systems and new
development.
One of the most basic tenets of State Water Policy, which guides actions of the department and districts, is
that programs must strive to assure safe, affordable, and reliable supplies for all reasonable-beneficial
uses. The term "reasonable-beneficial" is defined to mean,












The use of water in such quantity as is necessary for economic and efficient utilization for a
purpose and in a manner which is both reasonable and consistent with the public interest (s.
373.019(4), F.S.)

Consumptive use permitting is the primary tool.employed by the WMDs to assure that water resources are
used in a reasonable and beneficial manner. Pursuant to s. 373.223, F.S., in order to obtain a consumptive
use permit in Florida, the applicant must establish that the proposed use of water:
(a) Is a reasonable-beneficial use
(b) Will not interfere with any presently existing legal use of water; and
@ Is consistent with the public interest

This three-part test considers the finite limits of water availability. It includes examination of all options to
prevent withdrawals from causing significant harm to the resource.

Selected Action Steps:

1. Continue efforts to develop alternative water allocation strategies for all Water Resource
Caution Areas (WRCAs). (DEP, & WMDs, Ongoing.)
2.Pursuant to requirements of Chapter 373, F.S., Chapter 62-40, F.A.C., and WMD Rules,
continue to implement consumptive use permitting programs to prevent water withdrawals from
causing significant harm to water resources or associated natural systems. (DEP & WMDs,
Ongoing.)


Water Supply Strategy 1.3: Promote alternative water supply
technologies.

Selected Action Steps:

1. Implement revisions to the DEP Water Policy Rule (Sections 62-40.310(g) and 62-40.410,
F.A.C.) pertaining to alternative water supplies and determining whether a water use is a
reasonable-beneficial use. (DEP & WMDs, 1996.)
2. Develop a protocol for chemical and biological testing to help determine the causes) of toxicity
in by-product water generated from drinking water desalination. (DEP, 1996.)
3. Develop appropriate Aquifer Storage and Recovery criteria. (DEP, WMDs, & EPA, 1997.)
4. Implement alternative water supply funding programs pursuant to s. 373.1961(2), F.S.,
including submittal of annual reports on alternative water supply funding programs pursuant to s.
373.1961(2)(), F.S. (WMDs, 1996 Ongoing.)
5. Cooperate with the appropriate entities to implement a seawater desalination facility through
the New Water Sources Initiative. (SWFWMD, West Coast Regional Water Supply Authority, &
Utilities, 1995 Ongoing.)
6. As part of statewide storm water management, encourage the use of storm water for beneficial
purposes such as irrigation, industrial cooling, ornamental ponds, and artificial ground water
recharge for creation of buffers against saltwater intrusion in coastal areas. (DEP & WMDs,
Ongoing.)















Water Supply Issue 2: Depletion of easily developed local
water sources is increasing pressure for transfers of water.

As easily-developed sources become more scarce, there is growing pressure to explore options for long-
distance water transport, sometimes across WMD boundaries. Some areas in central or northern Florida
are increasingly viewed by water suppliers in more populated areas to the south as attractive solutions to
projected water supply deficits. However, such transfers must be considered in terms of long-term
sustainability of water resources and be assessed in context with other, often competing, public interests
that are involved in water management. The State Comprehensive Plan states that it is state policy to
"Encourage the development of local and regional water supplies within water management districts
instead of transporting water across district boundaries" (s. 187.201, F.S.). The process and general criteria
for deciding if proposed transfers of ground water are in the public interest are prescribed in s.373.2295,
F.S. Further guidance is provided in Florida Statutes, including the following:

Cooperative efforts between municipalities, counties, WMDs, and DEP are mandatory in order to
meet water needs...in a manner which supply adequate and dependable supplies of water where
needed without resulting in adverse effects upon the areas from which the water is withdrawn...(s.
373.196(1), F.S.).
In the performance of, and in conjunction with, its other powers and duties, a water management
district shall not deprive, directly or indirectly, any county wherein which water is withdrawn to the
prior right to supply reasonable and beneficial needs of the county or any of the inhabitants or
property owners therein. (s. 373.1961(5), F.S.)

In short, meeting future water supply needs will require close cooperation between cities and counties within
each WMD, and if interdistrict water or other long-distance transfers are allowed, the WMDs must assure
that the area being supplied does not benefit at the expense of the area where the withdrawal occurs. In
keeping with state law and this basic concept, the DEP Water Policy Rule requires that any transfer or use
of ground water across WMD boundaries must have the approval of the district where the withdrawal
occurs (s. 62-40.422(1), F.A.C.), and any such transfers of surface water must have the approval of both
WMDs (s. 62-40.422(2), F.A.C.).

7ater Supply Strategy 2.1: Promote optimization of local sources
before consideration of long-distance transport of water.

Selected Action Steps

1. Require that local sources, demand management measures,and alternative sources be
developed to the greatest extent practicable, considering the environmental, economic, and
technical feasibility of such alternatives, before considering long distant transport. (DEP & WMDs,
Ongoing.)
2. Encourage, assist in, and where appropriate, require the development and efficient use of
alternative sources of water, including reuse of reclaimed water; greywater use; desalination;
retention, storage and beneficial use of storm water; and other appropriate alternative sources to
ensure water availability, reduce the demand for conventional sources, and to maximize and
maintain existing sources. (DEP & WMDs, Ongoing.)










3. Assure that proposals for transfer of water are fully assessed pursuant to provisions of s.
373.2295, F.S. and s. 62-40.422, F.A.C. (DEP & WMDs, Ongoing.)

Water Supply Issue 3: Inadequate information regarding
quantities, locations, and availability of water supplies to
support new growth hinders efforts to keep demands
within the limits of water availability.

In order for the three-part consumptive use permitting test to be applied effectively, it is critical that
information on quantities, location and availability of water resources be reliable and readily available to the
WMD consumptive use permitting programs. This information is also critical for local government efforts to
assure that planned growth and development will not exceed the limits of water availability. Water supply
planning is underway by the WMDs, but defining the limits of Florida's water resources requires ongoing
research, which is both expensive and time consuming.

Water Supply Strategy 3.1: Enhance capabilities of DEP and WMD
programs to ensure safe, affordable and reliable supplies for all
reasonable-beneficial uses.
All five WMDs have developed or are developing water supply needs and sources plans. Needs and
sources planning is intended to provide the framework for water supply development and management for
at least two decades. As part of a statewide effort to improve the consistency and continuity of water use
data, DEP and the WMDs participate in a cooperative program with the United States Geological Survey
(USGS) to collect, compile, and publish water use data for Florida on a five-year basis. Comparison of
existing and projected demands with future sources allows the identification of additional needs for water
supply development. This advance planning identifies opportunities to address growing needs before they
become critical or damage water and related natural systems.

Selected Action Steps:

1. Continue to exercise general supervisory authority over the WMDs, with special emphasis on
promoting efforts to obtain adequate information about the availability of water supplies. (DEP,
Ongoing.)
2. Implement revisions to the DEP Water Policy Rule (Chapter 62-40, F.A.C.) adopted by the
Environmental Regulation Commission on December 1, 1994 and March 24, 1995. (DEP &
WMDs, Ongoing.)
3. Continue the establishment of minimum flows and levels on a priority basis pursuant to
s.373.047, F.S., and schedules in DWMPs, including the determination of safe or sustainable
yields from ground and surface water sources.
4. Administer water shortage plans and water conservation programs. (WMDs, Ongoing.)
5. Assist, as appropriate, in water supply development, including the development of alternative
sources such as conservation, reuse, desalination, etc. (WMDs, Ongoing.)
6. Continue the cooperative program with the USGS to collect, compile, and publish statewide
water use data on a five-year basis. (DEP, WMDs, and USGS, 1995 Ongoing.)











Water Supply Strategy 3.2: Improve coordination between state and
regional water management programs and local government
comprehensive planning, particularly in terms of providing technical
information and assistance to local governments.

Selected Action Steps:

1. Provide technical assistance and available water supply information to Regional Planning
Councils and local governments in a form applicable to regional policy development and local
government comprehensive planning. This should include the completion and updating of ground
water availaoility inventories pursuant to s. 373.0395, F.S. (WMDs, Ongoing.)
2. Provide outreach mechanisms for assisting local governments in assuring that water supply
demands of planned growth do not exceed water availability. (WMDs, Ongoing.)
3. Expedite completion of ground water basin availability inventories pursuant to s. 373.0395, F.S.
(WMDs, Ongoing.)
4. Through the existing plan review process, increase emphasis on review of the Conservation
and Potable Water elements of local government comprehensive plans to assure that they reflect
the limitations of available ground and surface water and other available water supplies, pursuant
to provisions of s. 373. 0395, F.S. (DEP & WMDs. Ongoing.)


Water Supply Issue 4: The quality of water supplies has
been degraded in many locations, and existing supplies are
increasingly threatened by contamination.

There can be no separation of quality and quantity in water supply planning. Water pollution can diminish
water supplies as surely as overdrafting an aquifer. While primary concerns relate to contamination from
chemicals or pathogens, as explained in Chapter Four, overwithdrawals also can cause contamination by
inducing saltwater intrusion. Three important aspects of protecting the quality of water supplies in Florida
are: wellhead protection, protection of recharge areas, and ensuring compliance with federal and state
Safe Drinking Water Acts.
Wellhead protection refers to the protection of potable water wells from ground water contamination. It
involves the management of land use activities within the zone of influence of a well to ensure a safe water
supply. Florida accomplishes wellhead protection through a combination of local government, regional, and
statewide measures. Local governments are responsible for wellhead protection through their compre-
hensive plans, local ordinances and land use regulations. Acquisition of wellfield protection areas is also an
available option. Technical assistance from DEP and the water management districts is commonly utilized
to delineate areas that are vulnerable to contamination (DRASTIC maps). DEP is also responsible for some
aspects of statewide wellhead protection through its groundwater protection and regulated facilities
programs. These programs regulate and monitor the discharge of pollutants in the environment. Regional
Planning Councils can also play a role in providing policy direction, communication forums, and technical
assistance to local governments in the development of wellhead protection programs.
The fundamental issue in protection of recharge areas is ensuring that natural recharge processes are not
disrupted. Ground water recharge potential varies widely around the state, but in many instances,
population growth and attendant development has degraded or is threatening important recharge areas.









Areas receiving significant recharge may also be vulnerable to an increased potential for contamination.
DEP and the water management districts provide technical assistance to local governments in delineating
recharge areas. Protection of recharge areas would greatly benefit from improved linkages between land
and water planning.
The federal and state Safe Drinking Water Acts are designed to protect the quality of both drinking water
sources and drinking water distribution and delivery systems. As explained more fully under Water Supply
SStrategy 4.3, below, responsibility for implementing these laws is shared by a variety of agencies at the
federal, state, regional and local levels.

Water Supply Strategy 4.1: Protect wellheads and aquifer recharge
areas trough a combination of state regulation of potential sources
of groundwater contamination, acquisition land use regulation by
local governments, and providing technical assistance to local
governments.

Selected Action Steps:

1. Delineate recharge areas according to schedules in District Water Management Plans.
(WMDs, Ongoing.)
2. Develop strategies for aquifer protection, including recharge protection, wellhead protection
measures, and aquifer vulnerability mapping. (DEP & WMDs, 1996.)
3. Continue development of a statewide wellhead protection program. (DEP, WMDs, & local
Governments, Ongoing.)
4. Review local government comprehensive plan revisions and provide technical and financial
assistance to assure that protection of wellheads is adequately addressed. (DEP & WMDs,
Ongoing.).
5. Continue development and support a Model Wellhead Protection Program with NWFWMD and
Leon County, for potential statewide application. (DEP, NWFWMD, and Leon County, 1996.)

Water Supply Strategy 4.2: As described in Chapter Four, continue
to regulate and manage discharges to ground an surface waters to
protect, maintain, and improve their quality for water supply,
environmental protection, and other beneficial purposes.

Selected Action Steps:

1. Continue to regulate municipal and industrial waste discharges pursuant to provisions of
Chapter 403, F.S., and DEP rules. ( DEP. Ongoing.)
2. Continue to implement storm water management programs pursuant to DEP/WMD delegation
agreements. (WMDs, Ongoing.)
3. Implement SWIM programs for priority water bodies, including establishment of pollutant load
reduction goals for stormwater. (DEP & WMDs, Ongoing.)










Water Supply Strategy 4.3: Ensure water supply system compliance
with federal and state Safe Drinking Water Acts.

In addition to protecting the quality of water resources, it is critically important to assure the safety of
drinking water delivered at the tap. The federal and state drinking water programs have this objective, and
involve shared responsibilities by EPA, DEP, the.Florida Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services
(HRS), and the WMDs. DEP responsibilities include permitting, compliance, and enforcement, activities for
all public water systems covered under the federal and state Safe Drinking Water Acts, as well as the
setting of drinking water quality standards. In certain counties, DEP has delegated the permitting,
compliance, and enforcement responsibilities to HRS local programs. However, DEP retains overall
responsibility in those areas. EPA criteria, which are implemented at the state level, are directed at
protecting the quality of both drinking water sources and drinking water delivery systems. DEP implements
EPA criteria related to aquifers and surface waters used as sources for drinking water. Also, the WMDs
share responsibilities with DEP and HRS for regulating private well construction, including well locations to
avoid contamination from septic tanks and known other known pollution sources. A significant point of
mutual concern between DEP and the WMDs is how to avoid degradation of drinking water sources from
withdrawal-induced movement of contaminated groundwater or saltwater.

Selected Action Steps:

1. Enforce drinking water permitting requirements. (DEP & HRS, Ongoing.)
2. Adopt federally mandated drinking water standards. (DEP, Ongoing.)
3. Implement DEP/HRS Interagency Agreement on delegating drinking water programs to eleven
approved County Public Health Units. (DEP & HRS, Ongoing.)


Water Supply Strategy 4.4: Promote reuse of reclaimed wastewater.
Reuse involves taking what was once considered to be wastewater, providing a high degree of treatment
ano disinfection, and using the resulting high-quality reclaimed water for a new, beneficial use. Extensive
treatment and disinfection ensure that public health and environmental quality are protected. Reuse of
reclaimed water will help the state meet the water supply and wastewater management needs of its
growing population. Recognizing this, both Chapters 373 and 403, F.S., established the encouragement-
and promotion of reuse as state objectives.

Florida has implemented a comprehensive, award-winning reuse program to achieve these objectives. A
key component of the reuse program is a set of comprehensive rules governing reuse activities, which are
contained in Chapter 62-610, F.A.C. The DEP Water Policy Rule (Chapter 62-40, F.A.C.) requires a
reasonable amount of reuse within designated Water Resource Caution Areas.

Selected Action Steps:

1. Refine and expand existing rules in Chapter 62-610, F.A.C. Include specific rule provisions
regarding industrial use of reclaimed water, and for ground water recharge, aquifer storage and
recovery, and indirect potable reuse. (DEP, 1996.)
2. For utilities located within Water Resource Caution areas, ensure that permits for domestic
wastewater facilities are consistent with requirements for reuse contained in the utilities'
consumptive use permits. (DEP, Ongoing.)











3. Review reuse feasibility studies for domestic wastewater facilities located within Water
Resource Caution Areas. If reuse is feasible, limit deep well injection and surface water disposal
projects to those serving as backups to reuse systems. (DEP, 1995 Ongoing.)
4. Implement reuse provisions of Florida Statutes and the Reuse Conventions Report. (DEP &
WMDs, Ongoing.)
5. Place appropriate requirements for reuse in consumptive use permits issued to water utilities
and users of water within Water Resource Caution Areas. (WMDs, 1995 Ongoing.)
6. Develop guidelines for reuse feasibility studies for users of water. (DEP, WMDs, & PSC, 1995.)
7. Seek funding ($400,000) for a study of alternative disinfection methods (UV & Ozonation),
conduct the study through contract with a state university, and incorporate the results, as
appropriate, into DEP rules.
8. Prepare annual reports on reuse pursuant to requirements of s. 373.250, F.S. (WMDs,
Ongoing.).
9. Develop draft legislation to establish limitations on other disposal methods and to adjust the
submittal date for annual WMD reuse reports. (WMDs, 1996.)












Chapter Three: Flood


Protection and Floodplain


Management

Flood Protection and Floodplain Management Goals

Require local governments, in cooperation with regional and state agencies, to adopt plans and policies to
protect public and private property and human lives from the effects of natural disasters (s.
187.201(7)(b)25., F.S.)
Encourage the development of a strict floodplain management program by state and local governments
designed to preserve hydrologically significant wetlands and other natural floodplain features. (s.
187.201((8)(b)8, F.S.)

Legal Basis for Management:

Florida Statutes contain a variety of expressions of intent regarding public safety and protection of human
lives and property from the effects of floods and other natural disasters. The WMDs are specifically
authorized by Chapter 373, F.S. to construct and operate flood control structures, and a major benefit of
land acquisition programs implemented by DEP and the WMDs is the reservation of significant floodplain
and flood prone areas from future development. However, local governments (cities, counties, and special
districts) have the primary responsibility for controlling land uses in privately-owned flood prone areas.
While DEP and the WMDs regulate how development projects in floodplains and floodprone areas are
constructed, operated and maintained, their powers to directly control land uses are restricted primarily to
properties owned by the agencies. The thrust of their efforts is to use rulemaking authorities under the
Water Resources Act (Chapter 373, F.S.) to implement legislative intent related to water, and where
possible, to support goals and policies expressed in the State Comprehensive Plan (Chapter 187, F.S.).
Examples include the following:
Protect and restore the ecological functions of wetlands systems to ensure their long-term
environmental, economic, and recreational values. (s. 187.201 ((10)(b)7. F.S.)
Promote restoration of the Everglades system and of the hydrological and ecological functions of
degraded or substantially disrupted surface waters. (s. 187.201 ((10)(b)8. F.S.)
Develop and implement a comprehensive planning, management, and acquisition program to
ensure the integrity of Florida's river systems. (s. 187.201((10)(b)9. F.S.)
Protect and use natural systems in lieu of structural alternatives and restore modified systems. (s.
187.201(8)4, F.S.)
Consider, in land use planning and regulation, the impact of land use on water quality and quantity;
the availability of land, water, and other natural resources to meet demands; and the potential for
flooding. (s. 187.201((16)(b)6. F.S.)











Avoid transportation improvements which encourage or subsidize increased development in coastal
high-hazard areas or in identified environmentally sensitive areas such as wetlands, floodways, or
productive marine areas. (s. 187.201((20)(b)12, F.S.)
Avoid the expenditure of state funds that subsidize development in high-hazard coastal areas. (s.
187.201(9) 3, F.S.)

To develop and regulate dams, impoundments, reservoirs, and other works and to provide water
storage for beneficial purposes. (s. 373.016(2)(c), F.S.)

To prevent damage from floods, soil erosion, and excessive drainage (s. 373,016(2)(d), F.S.)
Encourage nonstructural solutions to water resource problems and give adequate consideration to
nonstructural alternatives whenever structural works are proposed. (s. 62-40.310(3)(a), F.A.C.)

Manage the construction and operation of facilities which dam, divert, or otherwise alter the flow of
surface waters to minimize damage from flooding, soil erosion, or excessive drainage. (s. 62-
40.310(3)(b), F.A.C.)

Encourage the management of floodplains and other flood hazard areas to prevent or reduce flood
damage, consistent with establishment and maintenance of desirable hydrologic characteristics and
associated natural systems.(s. 62-40.310(3)(c), F.A.C.)

Encourage the development and implementation of a strict floodplain management program by
state, regional, and local governments designed to preserve floodplain functions and associated
ecosystems. (s. 62-40.310(1)(d), F.A.C.)

Avoid the expenditure of public funds that encourage or subsidize incompatible new development or
significant expansion of existing development in flood prone areas (s. 62-40.310(3)(e), F.A.C.)

Minimize flood-related emergencies, human disasters, loss of property, and other associated im-
pacts. (s. 62-40.310(3)(f), F.A.C.)

Background Information

It is not surprising that flooding frequently occurs in a state that originally was one-half wetlands. Human
history in Florida is replete with flooding experiences, most notably the devastating hurricanes of the early
20th century that brought about the systems of canals and dikes that make much of central and south Florida
habitable. These systems, which include the Central and South Florida Flood Control Project, as well as
several other regional water conveyance facilities, represent major public investments. But even with these
major investments, the risk of flood damage still persists. Without proper land use controls, flood protection
facilities can actually contribute to increase flood risks by creating a false sense of security which encourages
unwise development in areas subject to flooding. Also, as new development further modifies storm water
runoff patterns, flood risks are often increased for areas that were previously not flood prone.
Flooding can occur in either floodplains (low-lying lands around rivers and streams, lakes, wetlands, and
coastal areas), or in other low-lying, poorly drained areas. Flooding occurs when rainfall is too intensive for
the land to absorb the extra runoff, when natural or artificial flow-ways are inadequate to accommodate
runoff, or when storm surges inundate coastal areas. The Department of Community Affairs estimates that
currently about 1.3 million people, or 13 percent of the state's 1993 population, live in areas subject to
flooding, even from minor hurricanes. The Federal Emergency Management Administration estimates about
14.25 million acres, or 41 percent, of Florida is flood prone--the highest percentage of all 50 states.











Flooding in Florida typically is caused by heavy or prolonged rainfall from tropical storms and hurricanes,
large thunderstorms, and winter frontal activity. Rainfall in Alabama and Georgia can cause significant
flooding problems in North Florida as shown during Tropical Storms Alberto and Beryl in 1994. Major flood
events usually occur in early fall and late winter, or during hurricane season. Heavy summer thunderstorms
can cause some degree of flooding problems in nearly every community in the state.

Florida's high vulnerability to flooding demands an adequate response to protect the public health, safety,
and welfare. The economic and social impacts of flooding events can be staggering. For instance, statewide
flood damage from three tropical storms and two tropical disturbances in 1993 was approximately
$500,000,000. Future public liabilities related to flood losses can be greatly reduced through proper control
of development in floodplains and flood prone areas and maintenance of the existing flood protection
infrastructure. The FWP emphasizes the need for close cooperation between WMDs and local governments
to avoid or minimize flood risks to new development.

Flooding Issue 1: Human occupancy of and alteration of
floodplains and flood rone areas are threatening public
health, safety and welfare.

The cornerstone of any floodplain management strategy is adequate mapping of floodplains and flood prone
areas. However, because floodplain mapping is a complex, expensive, and time-consuming endeavor, many
areas are not adequately mapped. Many floodplain mapping efforts have occurred in response to specific
needs and in specific areas, but a coordinated, statewide approach has not been undertaken. Adequate
floodplain mapping is an important link between land use and water resources planning.

The 1994 Task Force on Land Use and Water Planning called for the Florida Water Plan to identify water
resources in need of restoration or protection. For the subject area of flooding, the best current formal
recognition of such areas is the 10-year and 100-year floodplains mapped by various agencies, including the
water management districts. The WMDs, in their respective District Water Management Plans, have
committed to schedules for updating and expanding floodplain mapping. Protecting the functions of
unaltered floodplains is a critical aspect of statewide ecosystem management efforts. Because many
floodplains in Florida have been altered, restoring their natural functions is also an important issue. Land
acquisition and management through the Save Our Rivers, Preservation 2000, and Conservation and
Recreational Lands and local programs provides a very effective tool for protecting and restoring floodplains.

Floodplain management responsibilities are shared among federal, state, regional, and local governments.
Local governments have the most direct control in floodplain management through land use planning and
regulation, land acquisition and management, and as sponsors for the flood insurance program administered
by the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA). Water management districts and the DEP,
through surface water management regulations authorized in Part IV of Chapter 373, F.S., also regulate
development activities in floodplains and flood prone areas. Structural control of water is also a major WMD
responsibility in some areas of the state.

Intergovernmental coordination and clear definition of respective agency roles is critical because most
floodplains cross jurisdictional boundaries. Activities upstream and downstream can affect flow regimes at a
particular stream location, and inconsistent management approaches must be avoided. Linking regional
water resources planning and management with local land use planning and management can provide
opportunities to increase coordination between governments. For example, through the work of the Gover-
nor's Suwannee River Task Force, the eleven counties along this river system have coordinated land use
planning within the river's floodplain.











A common misconception in Florida is that the five regional WMDs are responsible for providing flood
protection for new development. However, where drainage and flood protection facilities are provided by the
WMDs, they are usually intended to serve only as part of the primary regional water conveyance system.
Local governments are responsible for restricting land uses in flood prone areas and providing the secondary
water conveyance facilities needed to serve local needs. Special districts, primarily Chapter 298, F.S., water
control districts, have also been created in some areas to construct and operate water control facilities to
serve localized needs. The WMDs have authority to regulate discharges into their facilities, and state policy
directs them and other entities to avoid or minimize adverse environmental impacts from construction and
operation of flood protection structures, to discourage locating public facilities in flood prone areas wherever
possible, and to minimize risks and damages when other locations are not feasible.

At the federal level, the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is responsible for most federal flood
protection projects in the state, but usually such projects must have a state or local sponsor. These projects
are subject to an array of federal and state environmental laws, regulations, and executive orders, and must
be coordinated with DEP and the appropriate WMD. It is critical to the success of state and regional water
management programs that federal flood control projects be planned and designed in concert with other
water management strategies and initiatives in the affected basin. Protection and restoration of water quality
and natural systems must be an inherent part of the design and operation of these projects.

Flooding Strategy 1.1: Foster nonstructural strategies in achieving
flood protection.

Flood protection is addressed in Florida through structural and nonstructural methods. Both approaches, to
be effective, require a thorough knowledge of where floodplains and flood prone areas are and the expected
severity and frequency of flooding.

The structural approach usually includes some combination of canals, dikes, dams, pumping stations, and
reservoirs. These facilities have opened areas for development that otherwise might not be habitable, but are
constructed and operated at considerable public or private expense. Statewide, the annual operation and
maintenance costs, for just the major, regional facilities, exceed $55 million. Continued operation and
maintenance of these facilities is a critical issue in providing flood protection for those areas of the state which
depend on them to protect lives and property.

Experience has shown that the structural approach also has a considerable environmental cost. Many
facilities were constructed when we knew much less than today about the complex hydrologic cycle of Florida
and the delicate balance its water-related ecosystems depend on. Thus, another important issue for these
facilities is to restore areas that have experienced environmental degradation or reduce adverse environ-
mental impacts wherever practicable.

The nonstructural approach uses a combination of techniques to minimize encroachment in flood prone
areas. Regulations, for example, strive to ensure that activities in flood prone areas are properly located and
managed, e.g., elevating buildings above the 100-year flood level. Public land acquisition precludes
development in flood prone areas, while providing areas for public recreational (or other) use. Providing
technical assistance such as flood maps or other data to local government land use planning programs helps
direct inappropriate activities away from flood hazard areas.

Nonstructural floodplain management is the preferred approach, both economically and environmentally.
However, in those parts of Florida where the structural approach has been used since the early 1900's, the
nonstructural approach often is not feasible with current development patterns. In these areas, the challenge
is to provide flood protection while minimizing adverse environmental impacts.











Selected Action Steps:


1. Through the Environmental Resource Permitting (ERP) programs of DEP and the WMDs,
assure that the natural flood conveyance capability of water courses is maintained. (DEP & WMDs,
Ongoing.)
2. Identify and, where appropriate, designate natural floodways as Works of the District. (SRWMD
& SWFWMD, Ongoing.)
3. Incorporate flood protection considerations into land acquisition programs. (DEP & WMDs,
Ongoing.)
4. Implement the DEP Water Policy rule, including those portions that deal with floodplain man-
agement. (DEP & WMDs, 1995-Ongoing.)

Flooding Strategy 1.2: Minimize the impacts from future floods.
Selected Action Steps:
1. Consistent with the primary purposes of WMD facilities, construct, operate and maintain works of
the districts in a manner which minimizes flood hazards to existing development and adverse
impacts to natural systems. (WMDs, Ongoing.)
2. In priority areas, delineate floodplains and floodprone areas, and provide this information to
RPCs and local governments for land use planning and regulatory program purposes. (WMDs,
Ongoing.)
3. Review amendments to local government comprehensive plans and Developments of Regional
Impact ( DRIs) and to assure that flooding potential is recognized and that risks are minimized.
(DEP & WMDs, Ongoing.)
4. Complete the Upper St. Johns River Basin Project. (SJRWMD, 1998.)


Flooding Issue 2: Inadequate preparation for flood disasters
and response have increased property damage and risks to
human safety.

The State of Florida Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan, administered by the DCA, Division of
Emergency Management, coordinates the activities and responsibilities of 23 state agencies, 5 water
management districts, school districts, and numerous private organizations during declared emergencies.
The experiences of Hurricane Andrew in 1992 sharpened the state's awareness of the need to be prepared
for, and respond to, flooding and other natural disasters. The five WMDs have entered into a mutual aid
agreement as part of a Cooperating Emergency Management Plan. This plan and agreement facilitates
providing assistance between agencies in response to natural or other disasters.

The most effective opportunity to improve emergency management procedures, however, is after emergency
situations occur and emergency management procedures are completed. An ongoing procedure to evaluate
the effectiveness of emergency management procedures, after the emergency has passed, needs to be
coordinated among all responsible entities.










Flooding Strategy 2.1: Reduce flood risks to property and human
safety.

Selected Action Steps:
1. Through the Environmental Resource Permit programs of DEP and the WMDs, assure that
dams and other water retention or management structures are properly designed, constructed and
maintained to minimize flood risks. (DEP & WMDs, Ongoing.)
2. Ensure the integrity of existing and future dams and structural flood control facilities through
regular inspection, maintenance and appropriate refurbishment or replacement. (DEP & WMDs,
1996)
3. Maintain and operate water control structures in the Upper Ocklawaha River Basin. ( SJRWMD,
Ongoing)
4. Complete canal conveyance capacity studies (SFWMD, 1993 to 1997):
C-7, C-8, C-23. (1993 to 1997.)
C-15, C-16. (1993.)
C-lW, C-100, C-100B. (1993 to 1995.)
L-10, L-12. (1993 to 1994.)

Flooding Strategy 2.2: Improve provision of flood-related emergency
preparedness and response.

Selected Action Steps:

1.Work with DCA Division of Emergency Management and others to assess and clarify flood
emergency planning and response responsibilities of DEP and the WMDs. ( DEP, WMDs, DCA,
local governments, & Special Districts. 1996 Ongoing.)
2. Work with DCA, FEMA, USACOE and local governments to provide effective response to flood
emergencies. (DEP, WMDs, DCA, FEMA, USACE, & Local Governments, Ongoing.)












Chapter Four: Water Quality

Water Quality Goal

It is declared to be the public policy of this state to conserve the waters of the state and to protect, maintain,
and improve the quality thereof for public water supplies, for the propagation of wildlife and fish and other
aquatic life, and for domestic, agricultural, industrial, recreational, and other beneficial uses and to provide
that no wastes be discharged into any waters of the state without first being given the degree of treatment
necessary to protect the beneficial uses of such water. (s. 403.021(2), F.S.)

Legal Basis For Management

Protection of water quality has been a priority concern in Florida for many years, which is reflected in
numerous provisions of Florida Statutes and DEP and WMD rules, including the following:
Protect surface and groundwater quality and quantity in the state. (s. 187.201(8)(b)10., F.S.)
Eliminate the discharge of inadequately treated wastewater and stormwater runoff into the waters of
the state. 187.201((8)(b)12. and 187.201(23)(b)13., F.S.)
The state should assure a safe and healthful environment through monitoring and regulating
activities which impact the quality of the state's air, water, and food. (s. 187.201(6)(b)(2.b., F.S.)
Protect aquifers from depletion and contamination through appropriate regulatory programs and
through incentives. (s. 187.201(3)(b)9. F.S.)
Florida shall improve and restore the quality of waters not presently meeting water quality standards.
(s. 187.201(8)(a), F.S.)
To minimize the degradation of water resources caused by the discharge of stormwater (s.
373.016(2)(e), F.S.)
The Department shall include goals in the state water policy for the proper management of
stormwater. (s. 403.0891, F.S.)
It is a goal of the state that all its agencies, the State University System, the State Board of
Community Colleges, and all municipalities, counties, regional agencies, and special districts,
develop and implement strategies to prevent pollution, including public information programs and
education programs. (s. 403.073, F.S.)
It shall be a goal of surface water management programs to protect, preserve, and restore the
quality, quantity and environmental values of water resources. (s. 62-40.432(1)(a). F.A.C.)
The primary goals of the state's stormwater management program are to maintain, to the maximum
extent practicable, during and after construction and development, the pre-development stormwater
characteristics of a site; to reduce stream channel erosion, pollution, siltation, sedimentation, and
flooding; to reduce stormwater pollutant loadings discharged to waters to preserve or restore
beneficial uses; to reduce the loss of fresh water resources by encouraging the reuse of stormwater;
to enhance ground water recharge by promoting infiltration of storm water in areas with appropriate
soils and geology; to maintain the appropriate salinity regimes in estuaries needed to support the
natural flora and fauna; and to address stormwater management on a watershed basis to provide
cost effective water quality and water quantity solutions to specific watershed problems. (s. 62-
40.432(1)(b), F.A.C.)











Restore and protect the quality of ground and surface water by solving current problems and by
ensuring high quality treatment for stormwater and wastewater. (s. 62-40.310(2)(a), F.A.C.)

Identify existing and future public water supply areas and protect them from contamination. (s. 62-
40.310(2)(b), F.A.C.)

Background Information

Surface Water Quality
Good water quality is essential for natural systems, agriculture, industry, recreation, commercial fishing,
public health, and drinking water. Due to the close relationships among natural resources, land use, and
infrastructure, Florida must address surface water management on a watershed basis. Surface water basins
are unique, and, therefore, management programs need to be tailored to the attributes of each watershed.
To be effective, surface water management programs need to address both point and nonpoint sources of
pollution. Point sources, which are regulated by DEP, include discharges from industries and municipal
wastewater treatment plants. Over the past 25 years substantial progress has been made in reducing
loadings from this type of pollution. Recent state efforts to further improve management of point sources
include application of the "Total Maximum Daily Loads" (TMDLs) concept, whereby point source discharge
permits are considered within the context of all pollution loadings to a waterbody and the overall pollution
load reductions needed to achieve and maintain state water quality standards.
Nonpoint sources include pollution loadings from a variety of sources such as stormwater runoff and indirect
sources such as atmospheric deposition. Among the harmful substances involved are sediment from
erosion, fertilizers and pesticides from farms and lawns, oil, gasoline and metals from roads and parking
lots, and septic tank leachate. Statewide, this type of pollution is much more serious, diffused, and difficult
to manage than point sources.
Nonpoint sources such as stormwater runoff and septic tanks are regulated by a combination of programs
involving EPA, DEP, the WMDs, HRS, DACS, and local governments. Stormwater runoff now is considered
to be the single most significant source of pollution for Florida's surface waters. Regulatory programs for
stormwater runoff currently address the impacts associated with new construction and redevelopment. How-
ever, older developments (constructed before the establishment of stormwater permitting programs)
contribute significant quantities of contaminated runoff to Florida's waters.
In 1987, the Florida legislature created the Surface Water Improvement and Management (SWIM) program
to address problems that threaten the state's surface water bodies. Revised in 1991, the Act declared that
many natural surface water systems in Florida were degraded or in danger of becoming degraded. The Act
directed the WMDs to design and implement plans for protecting and improving priority water bodies. To
date, 28 systems of lakes, rivers, and estuaries have received funding as SWIM water bodies (see Table 1).
Other water bodies have been identified as SWIM priority water bodies but have not received funding.
Several of the WMDs have implemented programs similar to SWIM for non-SWIM waterbodies.
Also in 1987, Congress enacted Section 319 of the Federal Clean Water Act, establishing a national
program to address the impacts of nonpoint source pollution. The Act requires all states to assess the
impact of nonpoint sources on their respective water bodies and to develop a plan and program to abate
these impacts. Florida's Nonpoint Assessment and Management Plan was approved by EPA in 1989. The
implementing framework for this program is based on provisions of the Florida Water Resources Act (Ch.
373, F.S.) and the Florida Air and Water Pollution Control Act (Ch. 403, F.S.), with special emphasis on
SWIM water bodies for receipt of Section 319 federal funding. The focus of the program is to support the
goals and objectives of the State Water Policy (Ch. 62-40, F.A.C.).

While DEP and the WMDs are statutorily the chief stewards for protecting and restoring Florida's water
resources, the public also plays a critical role, particularly in avoiding and helping to clean up nonpoint











source pollution. Many surface water management endeavors require the direct involvement of individuals,
citizen groups, and the private business sector. This involvement may include such diverse activities as
responsible use of pesticides and fertilizers, proper disposal of potential pollutants, participating in cleanup
campaigns and generally practicing good environmental stewardship. The public should be involved in
promoting stormwater utilities, evaluating government programs, and implementing grass roots educational
and cleanup efforts. Partnerships are needed between government agencies, the general public, and the
private sector to help protect and restore water quality of the state's surface waters.

Table 1 : SWIM-FUNDED WATER BODIES


SFWMD SWFWMD SJRWMD SRWMD NWFWMD

Lake Tampa Bay Lake Apopka Suwannee River Lake Jackson
Okeechobee Rainbow River/Blue Indian River System Apalachicola
Fla. Run Lagoon Santa Fe River River and Bay
Everglades Banana Lake System System System
Indian River iv s Lower St. Coastal Rivers Pensacola
Lagoon Crystal River/Kings Johns River System Bay
System Bay
ystem Panasoffkee Upper Alligator Lake Deerpoint
Lake Panasoffkee Ocawaha Lake
Ocklawaha Aucilla River Lake
Biscayne Bay Charlotte Harbor River Sysem
System
Lake Tarpon Waccasassa
Lake Thonotosassa River System
Winter Haven Chain
of Lakes
Sarasota Bay


Ground Water Quality
Since ground water is the source of potable water for over ninety percent of Florida's population, great care
must be exercised to assure that the source aquifers are protected from contamination. Most of the state's
groundwater supply is withdrawn from the Floridan aquifer, which underlies the entire state. Parts of the
Floridan are overlain by clay, which acts as a confining bed, constraining the vertical movement of water and
creating artesian pressure. Where the Floridan aquifer contains poor quality water, other aquifers are used.
In Escambia and Santa Rosa counties, the unconfined to semi-confined Sand and Gravel aquifer is the
principal source of supply. In Dade, Broward. and parts of Palm Beach County the primary source is the
Biscayne, a surficial limestone aquifer that is highly permeable and particularly vulnerable to contamination.
Unnamed surficial and intermediate aquifers are important supply sources along parts of the east coast.
Aquifer protection involves identifying areas that are especially susceptible to contamination, minimizing the
threat from pollution sources, monitoring to detect problems and trends, and cleaning up contaminated
sites. Aquifers that are unconfined or have a confining layer breached by sinkholes are naturally vulnerable
to pollutants introduced at the land surface. Areas where drinking water is supplied by private wells in an
unconfined or semi-confined aquifer are particularly sensitive. As was noted in the Water Supply Chapter,
overpumping (or "mining") ground water can also pose a serious threat to ground water quality.

The federal Safe Drinking Water Act was passed in 1974 to protect drinking water and the aquifers that
supply it. The Act established a system of national drinking water standards and treatment technologies, a









sole source aquifer protection program, an underground injection control program for disposal of wastes,
and a wellhead protection program. In 1983, state legislation provided funding for new programs that
address storage and disposal of hazardous waste, cleanup of contaminated sites, and statewide ground
water quality monitoring. Also in 1983, the Department of Environmental Regulation established the state's
first ground water rule in Chapter 62-520, Part IV, F.A.C. The rule classifies aquifers as G-l or G-ll (potable)
and G-lll or G-IV (non-potable) on the basis of water quality and geologic confinement. Discharge of any
toxic or carcinogenic materials into ground water is prohibited, except into G-IV aquifers. In addition,
discharges to G-1 or G-2 aquifers must meet the federal primary and secondary drinking water standards
beyond a small zone of discharge allowed for dilution and treatment.

DEP rules regulate numerous activities having the potential to affect ground water quality. Some examples
are wastewater treatment plants, wastewater reuse, landfills, hazardous waste, and underground storage
tanks. Other agencies with major roles in the protection of ground water are the WMDs (prevention of salt
water intrusion through regulation of consumptive use of water, surface water management, and well
construction), HRS (regulation of onsite sewage disposal systems), DACS (regulation of fertilizer and
pesticide use), and local governments (regulation of land use).

Water Quality Issue 1: While significant accomplishments
have been made Florida's surface and ground waters
continue to be degraded by point and nonpoint sources of
pollution.

Water Quality Strategy 1.1: Improve research, data collection and
data sharing.

Chapter 373, F.S., establishes DEP as the state's lead water quality monitoring agency and central
repository for surface water and ground water information. Section 373.026(2), F.S., directs all local
governments, water management districts, and state agencies to cooperate with the DEP in making data
available to the department. The FWP supports expanded coordination and more efficient use of program
resources related to research, monitoring and data management, including the development and
implementation of a comprehensive water quality monitoring program.

Selected Action Steps:
1. Continue support and expansion of the Ground Water Quality Monitoring Network and the Surface
Water Ambient Monitoring Program, with opportunities provided for private sector comment. (DEP,
WMDs, & local governments, Ongoing.)
2. Evaluate the Surface Water Ambient Monitoring Program and the Ground Water Quality
Monitoring Network to determine how to better integrate the two, and more effectively use the data
generated to make water quality management decisions.(DEP & WMDs, 1995.)
3. Secure additional funding for both monitoring networks. (DEP & WMDs, 1996).
4. Continue to prepare State Water Quality Assessment (305(b)) Reports. (DEP, 1995 Ongoing.)
5. Develop statewide GIS coverage and coordinate research activities and data sharing. (DEP,
WMDS, RPCs & local governments, 1997.)










6. Establish workshops among WMDs, DEP and other agencies to develop procedures for
cooperative modeling, GIS, and data sharing for TMDL development and implementation, and for
evaluations of the effectiveness of established TMDLs. (DEP & WMDs, 1996 Continuing.)
7. Develop consistent methodologies for delineating areas of interaction between surface and
ground water. (DEP & WMDs, 1996 -Continuing.)

Water Quality Strategy 1.2: Secure dedicated and adequate funding
for surface water programs, including SWIM.
State, regional, and local agencies already know where many surface water quality problems exist, but have
inadequate resources to address them effectively. One of the principal problems facing water resource
managers is the lack of dedicated sources of funding for implementing adequate surface water protection
and restoration programs. State funding for SWIM programs, in particular, has diminished over recent years.
Since its inception in 1987, the statewide SWIM program has depended heavily on year-by-year
appropriations from the legislature, and matching by the WMDs. The only continuing source of revenue for
SWIM, the Advance Disposal Fee (ADF) required on non-recycled food containers, dwindled as companies.
met recycling targets, and was phased out, effective October 1,1995. Also, the 1995 Legislature provided no
new SWIM funding, although it did authorize the WMDs, for one year, to use part of the Save Our Rivers
acquisition program funding to help support SWIM efforts. Without a dedicated source of adequate funding,
the WMDs must either assume full funding responsibility or discontinue ongoing SWIM efforts.

Selected Action Steps:

1. Work with the Legislature to secure a specific, continuing funding source for the statewide SWIM
program. (DEP & WMDs, Ongoing.)


Water Quality Strategy 1.3: Implement statewide stormwater
management.
The EPA still retains authority over the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) municipal
stormwater system program. Under this program, local governments are required first to conduct an
inventory of receiving water bodies and stormwater systems that discharge into water bodies. The next step
is to identify ways to reduce loadings into the receiving waters. Many local governments have requested that
the WMDs provide help during the permitting process in the form of financial assistance for stormwater
master planning and the development of pollutant load reduction goals (PLRGs).

Selected Action Steps:
1. Administer the state stormwater program, in cooperation with the WMDs and other parties, and
support the concept of watershed management as an integral part of ecosystem management
initiatives. (DEP, WMDs & local governments, Ongoing.)
2. Develop and implement stormwater PLRGs according to schedules presented in District Water
Management Plans. (DEP & WMDs, Ongoing.)
3. Assume delegation of the federal NPDES stormwater permitting program. (DEP, 1999).
4. Assist local governments in establishing stormwater utilities. (DEP, WMDs, & local governments,
1992-Ongoing.)










5. Continue to participate in the Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Control program pursuant to provisions of
Section 6217 of the Coastal Zone Reauthorization Amendments of 1990. (NOAA, EPA, DEP, DCA,
local governments, Ongoing.)
6. Continue to participate in the Nonpoint Source Pollutant abatement program pursuant to s. 319 of
the National Clean Water Act. ( EPA, DEP, WMDs, local governments, Ongoing.)
7. Continue and where possible expand the process for permitting Agricultural Surface Water
Management (ASWM) Systems. (DEP, WMDs, & DACs, 1996-Ongoing.)
8. Establish coordination between WMD efforts related to stormwater Pollutant Load Reduction
Goals (PLRGs), and DEP development of Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs). (DEP & WMDs,
1995 Ongoing.)


Water Quality Strategy 1.4: Continue and refine statewide efforts to
reduce impacts from point source pollution.

DEP is responsible for implementing, in accordance with EPA guidelines, the point source portion of the
EPA's NPDES program. Significant reductions in point source pollution (discharges from wastewater
treatment plants and industries) have been achieved since the Clean Water Act was passed in 1972. Never-
theless, additional reductions in point source discharges will have to be made to restore many lakes,
streams and estuaries to their full beneficial uses. DEP received delegation of the NPDES point source
program in May, 1995, an action that may increase overall efficiency of the program. In addition to the
routine regulatory approaches, reuse of reclaimed water presents an opportunity for further reducing
discharges into surface water bodies and is a statewide objective established in Florida laws.

Selected Action Steps:

1. Implement the recently delegated federal NPDES point source surface water permitting
program. (DEP & EPA, 1995.)
2. Continue to implement the federally delegated Underground Injection Control program. (DEP,
Ongoing.)
3. Secure additional resources to increase the number of compliance inspections conducted on all
discharging facilities to the level of service required by rule. (DEP, 2000.)
4. Adopt additional general permit and exemption criteria for small industrial wastewater facilities
pursuant to the recommendations of the Industrial Wastewater Task Force. (DEP, 1995-2000.)
5. Obtain point source loadings data for TMDL development. (DEP, Ongoing.)
6. Incorporate TMDLs into NPDES permits. (DEP, Ongoing.)
7. Continue and amplify existing contract with the Florida Rural Water Association to conduct
technical assistance activities for small wastewater and drinking water facilities to improve
compliance. (DEP, 1996 and Continuing.)
8. Expand DEP technical assistance on pollution prevention, and provide incentives for voluntary
pollution control programs. (DEP, Ongoing.)
9. Through administration of the State Revolving Fund, continue to encourage local government
actions toward improving domestic wastewater management. (DEP, Ongoing.)











Water Quality Strategy 1.5: Update and revise state water quality
standards.

State narrative water quality criteria for nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) are often difficult to implement,
even though they are important indicators of pollution from agricultural runoff, residential runoff, and poorly
functioning septic tanks. In some cases, water-body specific numeric criteria can be developed. In addition,
current DEP water quality standards only reflect differences in class designations (Classes I-V). However,
natural conditions also vary substantially across physiographic regions for different types of water bodies
(e.g., estuaries vs. upland lakes and streams). There are also continuing needs to refine water quality
criteria for ground waters, and to develop develop practical measures of biological integrity.

Selected Action Steps:

1. Assess the ability of existing state water quality criteria to protect designated uses in the
Everglades Protection Area and Agricultural Area waters. (DEP & SFWMD, Ongoing.)
2. Develop numeric phosphorus criteria for the Everglades Protection Area. (DEP & SFWMD, by
2003.)
3. Update and revise state water quality standards through the Triennial Review of Water Quality
Standards. (DEP, Ongoing.)
4. Reclassify the Fenholloway River from Class V to Class III. (DEP, 1997.)
5. Compile surface water guidance concentrations for pesticide contamination. (DEP & EPA, 1998.)

Water Quality Strategy 1.6: Develop and implement appropriate
methods to delineate areas vulnerable to ground water contamination,
and devise strategies to prevent pollution of ground water.

Selected Action Steps:

1. Pursuant to s. 576.045, F.S., in conjunction with DACS, implement programs to reduce
agriculture-related nitrate contamination of groundwater, through enhanced Best Management
Practices (BMPs) for fertilizer use and dairy operations. (DEP& DACS, 1995 Ongoing.)
2. Develop and implement methods to delineate areas vulnerable to contaminants other than
agricultural nitrates. (DEP, 1996-97.)
3. Delineate prime ground water recharge areas. (WMDs, 1995-98)
4. Identify pollution prevention measures to be implemented in vulnerable areas. (DEP, WMDs &
local governments. Ongoing.)

Water Quality Strategy 1.7: Reduce the impacts of human-induced
saltwater intrusion or upcoming on ground water quality.

Saltwater movement, a common occurrence in Florida's aquifers, is a hydrologic consequence when
significant ground water withdrawals occur. Saltwater intrusion or upcoming becomes an issue when
movement of saline water reaches, or threatens to reach and contaminate, fresh water supplies. This
phenomenon has been documented in several areas of the state, including inland areas, and poses a










serious threat to many municipal water supplies. Saltwater intrusion aptly demonstrates the intricate linkage
between water quality and water quantity, and must be dealt with through measures which prevent
withdrawals in excess of sustainable yields.

Selected Action Steps:

1. Establish minimum aquifer water levels pursuant to s. 373.042(2), F.S., and schedules in District
Water Management Plans. (WMDs, Ongoing.)
2. Reevaluate and make necessary changes to the consumptive use permitting process to assure
consistency with WMD needs and sources plans and established minimum flows and levels.
(WMDs, Ongoing.)
3. Implement the alternative source initiatives identified in Water Supply Strategy 4.4. (DEP, WMDs,
EPA. Ongoing).
4. Develop strategies and schedules for identifying water availability of priority aquifers and surface
waters used for water supply, and provide this information to Regional Planning Councils, local
governments and water suppliers. (WMDs, 1995 Ongoing.)
5. Develop management strategies via the joint DEP/WMD work group on saltwater intrusion. (DEP
& WMDs, 1994 -1995.)


Water Quality Strategy 1.8: Reduce the threat of water contamination
from improper management of sold and hazardous wastes.

Although Florida is not heavily industrialized, a continuing threat to Florida's water resources is the improper
handling, storage and disposal of solid and hazardous wastes Inadequate attention to this problem in the
past has spawned a legacy of water contamination from solid and hazardous waste disposal sites in every
region of the state. The enormous costs and difficulty associated with cleaning up these sites accentuate the
need to focus more attention on reducing the level of hazardous and solid waste entering Florida's overall
waste stream, as well as the size of the waste stream itself. DEP, in cooperation with EPA, local
governments and industry is implementing a variety of regulatory and incentive actions to do this.

Selected Action Steps:

1. Implement recycling and other waste reduction measures to achieve major reduction in mercury,
cadmium,-and lead in Florida's municipal solid waste stream. (DEP & local governments, Ongoing.)
2. Identify, clean-up and close contaminated sites at facilities which store or dispose of hazardous
wastes. (DEP, EPA, local governments, and industry, Ongoing.)
3. Through implementation of management standards, training on best management practices, and
technology transfer workshops, ensure that construction and demolition debris disposal sites in
Florida have adequate water quality monitoring and effective pollution controls. (DEP local
governments, and industry, Ongoing.)
4. Through pollution prevention initiatives, achieve major reductions in new discharges of regulated
liquid contaminants. (DEP, local governments & industry, Ongoing.)
5. Working with local governments, complete risk-based cleanup at currently known non-RCRA
contaminated sites. (DEP & local governments, Ongoing.)














Chapter Five: Natural


Systems



Natural Systems Goals

Conserve forests, wetlands, fish, marine life, and wildlife to maintain their environmental, economic,
aesthetic, and recreational values. (s.187.201 (10)(b)1., F.S.)
Reserve from use that water necessary to support essential non-withdrawal demands, including navigation,
recreation, and the protection of fish and wildlife. (s. 187.201(8)(b)14. F.S.)
[Florida Reorganization Act of 1993] It is the policy of the Legislature: ... To protect the functions of entire
ecological systems through enhanced coordination of public land acquisition, regulatory, and planning
programs. (s. 94-356, 2(c), Laws of Florida)
The Legislature hereby declares the policy of the state to be management and preservation of its renewable
marine fishery resources, based upon the best available information, emphasizing protection and
enhancement of the marine and estuarine environment in a manner as to provide for optimum sustained
benefits and use to all the people of this state for present and future generations. (s. 370.025(1), F.S.)

Legal Basis For Management
In addition to the provisions cited as goals, the legal basis for managing Florida's natural systems involves a
broad array of statutory and rule provisions, including the following:-
Florida shall protect and acquire unique natural habitats and ecological systems, such as
wetlands, tropical hardwood hammocks, and virgin longleaf pine forests, and restore degraded
systems to a functional condition. (s. 187.201(10)(a), F.S.)
[The Department of Environmental Protection shall) Adopt by rule a state water policy, which shall
provide goals, objectives, and guidance for the development and review of programs, rules, and
plans relating to water resources. This state water policy shall be consistent with the state
comprehensive plan and may include such department rules as are specifically identified in the
policy. (s. 403.061(33) and s. 373.026(10), F.S.)
To provide for the management of water and related land resources (s. 373.016(2)(a), F.S.)
To preserve natural resources, fish, and wildlife (s. 373.016(2)(f), F.S.)
[Everglades Forever Act] It is the intent of the Legislature to facilitate the surface water
improvement and management process, to assist the district and the Department of Environ-
mental Protection in the performance of their duties and responsibilities, and to provide funding
mechanisms which will contribute to the implementation of the strategies incorporated in the
Everglades Surface Water Improvement and Management Plan ... (s. 373.4592, F.S.)
Within each section, or the water management district as a whole, the department or the
governing board shall establish ...:











(1) Minimum flows for all watercourses in the area. The minimum flow for a given watercourse
shall be the limit at which further withdrawals would be significantly harmful to the water
resources or ecology of the area. (s. 373.042(1), F.S.)
The minimum flow and minimum water level shall be calculated by the department and governing
board using the best information available. When appropriate, minimum flows and levels may be
calculated to reflect seasonal variations. (s. 373.042, F.S.)

Utilize, preserve, restore, and enhance natural water management systems and discourage the
channelization or other alteration of natural rivers, streams and lakes. (s. 62-40.310(4)(c), F.A.C.)
Protect the water storage and water quality enhancement functions of wetlands, floodplains. and
aquifer recharge areas through acquisition, enforcement of laws, and the application of land and
water management practices which provide for compatible uses. (s. 62-40.310(5)(a), F.A.C.)
Emphasize the prevention of pollution and other water resource problems. (s. 62-40.310(5)(b),
F.A.C.)


Background

Florida's natural systems have evolved in response to seasonal and long-term cycles of drought, fire and
flood. The climatic and landscape characteristics of Florida have produced a delicately balanced web of life
which is adapted to the natural periods of stress and has thrived for millions of years. But over the last
century, landscape changes and widespread modification of water regimes to accommodate economic
development have amplified the natural extremes of drought and flood. Such hydrologic disruptions,
coupled with pollution, reduced incidence of natural fires, and other man-induced impacts, are a continuing
threat to Florida's water resources and associated natural systems.

As Florida's population grows, we face the prospect of progressively greater competition between the water
supply and flood protection needs of people and the needs of already stressed natural systems. Since
adequate water supplies and healthy natural systems are fundamental to sustaining the state's economy,
failure to effectively deal with this threat will ultimately affect the welfare and quality of life of all Floridians.

Most of the broader, statewide concerns for natural systems relate directly to Florida's continuing rapid
population growth and development, and include the following:
The loss of half of Florida's wetlands, with corresponding loss of fish and wildlife, due to
hydrologic modifications related to drainage, ground water withdrawals, and dredge and fill
activities;
Reduced base flow to streams leading to low flows in downstream areas during dry periods and
higher than normal salinity in estuaries;
Damage to commercial and sport fisheries caused by abrupt changes in salinity levels, resulting
from drainage and flood control facilities that discharge excessive amounts of fresh water to
estuaries during wet periods;
Disruption of the reproductive cycles of estuarine and marine species in some areas where water
control structures have been constructed to impound water supplies or prevent saltwater
intrusion;
Declining water available for natural systems in some areas of the state where water demands of
Florida's burgeoning population are exceeding the sustainable yield of readily available resources;
and










The creation of flood hazards, destruction of valuable wildlife habitat and degradation of water
quality caused by development that encroaches into floodplains and flood-prone areas.

While some of the natural systems issues have developed recently, others have been a part of the Florida
scene for many years. They are often the result of inadequate understanding of natural processes; state
and federal management programs that were defined too narrowly or inadequate commitment of resources.
However, in recent years substantial progress'has been made. The DEP and each WMD is now involved, to
varying degrees, in efforts to resolve statewide water resource issues related to sustaining Florida's natural
systems.

Natural Systems Issue 1: Florida's ecosystems are
increasingly threatened by water-relate problems
associated with rapid population growth and land use
changes.

The challenge of protecting Florida's natural systems in the face of projected population growth requires a
broad, coordinated management approach: ecosystem management. In recognition of the challenge of pro-
tecting these complex and fragile natural systems, the legislation that created the DEP also empowered this
new department to focus more of its resources on managing entire ecosystems. The definition of Ecosystem
Management adopted by DEP is:

An integrated approach to management of Florida's biological and physical environments -
conducted through the use of tools such as planning, land acquisition, environmental education,
regulation, and pollution prevention designed to maintain, protect, and improve the state's natural,
managed and human communities.

This concept recognizes the interrelated nature of ecological processes, and supports the premise that the
effectiveness of many individual resource protection efforts can be increased if they are parts of a cohesive,
coordinated strategy, tailored to the management needs of specific natural systems. The idea is not new. It
has been applied in varying degrees by many existing programs.
Ecosystem management will be accomplished through a combination of planning, regulatory, acquisition
and restoration programs carried out by DEP and the WMDs in cooperation with other federal, state,
regional and local agencies, as well as private organizations and landowners. A good foundation exists for
statewide application of the DEP Ecosystem Management strategy. For example:

Major work has begun toward restoring the Kissimmee River/Lake Okeechobee/Everglades
systems and dealing with problems of Florida Bay and the Florida Keys.

DEP and the WMDs in north Florida are working with federal agencies, local governments and
the states of Georgia and Alabama to develop comprehensive basin management plans and
interstate compacts to protect the Apalachicola and Suwannee River systems. On a smaller
scale, the St. Johns River Water Management District is participating in an interstate effort with
the state of Georgia, federal agencies, and major private landowners, to develop a management
plan for the St. Marys River.
DEP and the WMDs, through several interrelated programs, are working with other federal,
state, and local agencies, as well as private organizations to implement the largest land
acquisition program in the U.S. Much of this is specifically designed to protect and help restore
the integrity of water resources and associated natural systems.











Surface Water Improvement and Management (SWIM) Plans are being implemented for 26
water bodies of regional and statewide significance, but the 1995 Legislature provided no new
funding for fiscal year 1995-96.
Federally owned lands such as Eglin Air Force Base, Everglades National Park and several
National Forests are the subjects of concerted interagency ecosystem management efforts.


Natural Systems Strategy 1.1: Use the authorities, programs, and
technical expertise of DEP and the WMDs to promote ecosystem
management.

Selected Action Steps:

1. Further develop and implement recommendations in the DEP Ecosystem Management
Strategy, including establishment of ecosystem management areas, ecosystem management
teams, incentive-based permitting, development of linear infrastructure plans, and reallocating
staff, funding and other resources to support ecosystem management initiatives in priority areas.
(DEP & WMDs, 1995-96.)
2. Develop and apply ecosystem management techniques to lands owned by the state and the
WMDs. (DEP, 1996.)
3. Emphasize ecosystem protection in land acquisition. (DEP & WMDs, Ongoing.)
4. Continue DEP/WMD cooperation on the Suwannee River, Everglades, Hillsborough River, St.
Johns River, Wekiva River, and Apalachicola Ecosystem Management Area Implementation Plans.
(DEP & WMDs, Ongoing.)
5. Develop special Basin Criteria for Tomoka River and Spruce Creek. (SJRWMD, 1994-1995.)
6. Develop a Surface Water Management Plan for Orange Creek Basin. (SJRWMD Advisory
Board, 1994 to 1996.)
7. Initiate development of a Peace River Ecosystem Management Area Implementation Plan.
(SWFWMD & DEP, 1995.)
8. Through the existing plan review process, review revisions to local government comprehensive
plans to assure adequate consideration for protecting wetlands, floodplains, and regionally
significant habitat. (DEP & WMDs. Ongoing.)
9. Evaluate and effectively utilize innovative land acquisition and management strategies such as
joint acquisition/management with local governments, federal agencies, and the private sector to
promote ecosystem management. (DEP, WMDs, Federal agencies, local governments, & others.
Ongoing.)


Natural Systems Strategy 1.2: Maintain and enhance biodiversity
and biological productivity.

Over 50 percent of Florida's wetlands have been lost as a result of man's activities since 1900, a significant
reduction in wildlife habitat. Much of the remaining natural area exists in a highly managed environment
controlled by water management systems designed to prevent or minimize impacts of flooding and criss-
crossed by a complex transportation network. Plans for future development must recognize the effects of










man's activities on the waters and land of the state, including the loss of habitat and other detrimental
impacts on wildlife. The acquisition and management of land for ecological purposes must continue.
Research must be increased to determine carrying capacities of various ecosystems, including water
needs. And the effectiveness of environmental regulatory programs must be maintained.

Selected Action Steps:
1. Review local government comprehensive plan amendments and DRI's for impacts to natural
resources of regional significance. (DEP & WMDs, Ongoing.)
2. Assist Regional Planning Councils and local governments in identifying natural resources of
regional significance, developing model ordinances, and take other steps to establish protection for
natural systems. (DEP & WMDs, Ongoing.)
3. Promote stewardship programs for habitat conservation. (SJRWMD, GFWFC, DACS/DOF,
Ongoing.)
4. Implement recommendations of the DEP 1995 Ecosystem Management Plan. (DEP, WMDs, &
others, Ongoing after September, 1995.)

Natural Systems Strategy 1.3: Implement effective water resource
and pollution control permitting.

The DEP and water management districts have worked closely to develop and implement a consistent and
timely permitting program for surface water management and natural resource protection, using statewide
criteria to prevent or mitigate development impacts. The state is also evaluating whether to take over, in the
environmental resource permitting (ERP) program, some of the permitting functions of the U.S. Army
Corps of Engineers.

Selected Action Steps:

1. Develop and implement basin-specific criteria, tailored to the management needs of the water
resources or associated natural system. This will be accomplished in conjunction with
establishment of Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) and other action steps presented under
Water Quality Strategy 1.4. (DEP & WMDs, Ongoing.)
2. Implement the combined Environmental Resource Permit (ERP) system as defined in law and
rules. (DEP & WMDs, 1995-Ongoing.)
3. Continue existing regulation of agriculture and surface water management projects. (WMDs.
Ongoing.)
4. Incorporate TMDLs into point source discharge permits. (DEP, Ongoing.)

Natural St stems Strategy 1.4: Maintain and, where feasible, restore
the hydrofogic patterns o watersheds and ecosystems, with particular
emphasis on restoring natural patterns of fresh water flow to estuarine
systems.

Some of the state's major natural systems are facing degradation and possible destruction. The benefits
provided by these areas, such as wildlife habitat, fisheries production, water storage and aquifer recharge,
may be lost unless significant efforts are made to protect and restore them. A notable example is the
Kissimmee River/Everglades/Florida Bay ecosystem in south Florida where drainage projects and urban










and agricultural development have significantly altered natural habitat and patterns of water flow. Similar
concerns are involved in the Upper St. Johns River basin and the Green Swamp.

Selected Action Steps:

1. Implement the Everglades restoration activities mandated by the Everglades Forever Act of
1994. (DEP, SFWMD, & USACE, 1995-2004.)
2. Continue the Upper St. Johns River restoration project. (SJRWMD& USACE, completion 1998.)
3. Implement the Kissimmee River restoration project. (SFWMD & USACE, 1995-2012.)
4. Continue SWIM Program efforts to reestablish hydrologic connections between misquito
impoundments and the Indian River Lagoon estuarine system. (SJRWMD; Ongoing.)
5. Continue SWIM program efforts related to reducing excessive fresh water discharges in the
Turkey Creek and St. Lucie subbasins of the Indian River Lagoon estuarine system. (SJRWMD,
Melbourne-Tillman Water Control District. & SFWMD. Ongoing.)
6. Implement protection strategies for the Green Swamp, including the "Land Authority".
(SWFWMD, Local Governments, Ongoing.)
7. Continue cooperative efforts to incorporate restoration of hydrology and natural systems into the
design and construction of new regional transportation facilities such as the Polk County Parkway
and Interstate 4 corridor. (DEP, WMDs, DOT, MPOs, GFWFC, local governments, & others,
Ongoing.)
8. Assist RPCs in the formulation of Regional Strategic Plan goals, policies, and strategies for
effectively accomplishing, as applicable, the objectives of the Florida Water Plan. (DEP, & WMDs,
Ongoing.)


Natural Systems Strategy 1.5: Assure close coordination between
establishment of mitigation banks and land acquisition programs of
state, regional and local government.

Selected Action Steps:

1. Develop statewide restoration priorities, and incorporate these into existing restoration programs,
acquisition programs, and location of mitigation banks. (DEP, WMDs, GFWFC, and Local
governments, Ongoing.)
2. Develop the South Florida Comprehensive Conservation, Permitting and Mitigation Plan. (DEP,
SFWMD, USACE, EPA, GFWFC & others, 1997.)
3. Based on results of the South Florida Comprehensive Conservation, Permitting and Mitigation
Plan, review statewide restoration priorities such as Pollution Recovery Trust Fund (PRTF) projects,
and extend this planning strategy statewide. (DEP & WMDs, 2000.)


natural l Systems Strategy 1.6: Achieve maintenance control of exotic
and noxious aquatic species.

In Florida the primary nuisance species of vegetation include melaleuca, Brazilian pepper and Australian
Pine on land areas and hydrilla on water bodies. These species tend to form monocultures..crowding out










and preventing the regrowth of native species, which have much greater environmental values than the
nuisance species.

Selected Action Steps:

1. Promote the use of native plants for landscaping. (WMDs & local governments, Ongoing.)
2. Develop a statewide interagency approach for control of invasive exotic plants. (DEP, WMDs,
GFWFC, Ongoing.)
3. Continue the Melaleuca Task Force. (SFWMD & DEP, Ongoing.)
4. Reduce the infestation of invasive exotic upland plants by 25 percent on state lands. (DEP, 2010)
5. Bring hydrilla, water hyacinth, and water lettuce under maintenance control in public waters.
(DEP, 2000.)


Natural Systems Issue 2: The establishment of minimum
flows and levels for Florida's watercourses, lakes and
aquifers is essential for water managers to have a sound
basis for determining and preventing cumulative impacts
to water resources and natural systems caused by water
withdrawals.
A significant element in sustaining Florida's natural systems involves meeting their basic water needs. To
that end, the water management districts are directed by s. 373.042, F.S. to establish minimum flows for
surface water courses and minimum levels of groundwater in aquifers. These represent the flows and
levels at which further withdrawals will cause significant harm to the water resources or ecology of the
area. While this charge may seem straightforward, it is no simple task.
The technical requirements for assessing individual systems vary, depending on the type of water resource
involved. Many of Florida's surface fresh water systems have been greatly modified and must now be
managed for multiple objectives. In these cases, establishing minimum flows and levels may involve
balancing sometimes competing public interests related to natural systems, water supply, recreation,
navigation and water quality. Given the complexity of the research and analysis needed to support
establishment of minimum flows and levels and continuing limitations on funding, the WMDs are capable of
assessing only priority water bodies.
Whether pristine or greatly modified surface water systems are involved, management must strive to
establish minimum flows and levels that mimic both the stage and duration of high and low water that
would be experienced naturally. A single minimum low flow or low water level will not afford adequate
protection to natural systems that are the products of many hydrologic, geologic and climatic variables.
Aquifer levels also fluctuate in response to climatic conditions and water withdrawals. Under certain
circumstances, excessively low aquifer levels can trigger salt water intrusion into water supplies, cause
wells to go dry, reduce lake levels, and dry up wetlands.
Once established, minimum flows and levels can be adopted by rule and are implemented primarily
through WMD consumptive use permitting programs, construction and operation of works of the districts, in
water shortage declarations, and in conjunction with other authorities pursuant to Chapter 373, F.S. For
instance, DEP and the WMDs have authority under s. 373.223, F.S., to reserve from use such quantities of
water, during the entire year or seasonally, that are required for the protection of fish and wildlife.










Natural S stems Strategy 2.1: Expedite establishment of minimum
flows and Yevels for priority watercourses, lakes and aquifers.
Detailed scientific data on individual hydrologic units is often lacking. But in order to implement protective
measures in a timely manner, establishment of minimum flows and levels for surface waters should, to the
extent possible, generally be done through reliance on best available information, based on well-founded
scientific principles and professional judgement.

Selected Action Steps:

1. Continue monitoring of streams, lakes and aquifers to help provide information needed to
establish minimum flows and levels. (WMDs, DEP & USGS, Ongoing.)
2. Carry out establishment of minimum flows and levels according to the schedules in District
Water Management Plans. (WMDs, Ongoing.)
3. As part of establishing minimum flows and levels, reserve from use such quantities of water as
are required for the protection of fish and wildlife. (WMDs, Ongoing.)


Natural Systems Strategy 2.2: Prevent water withdrawals fom
causing significant harm to water resources and associated natural
systems.

Selected Action Steps:

1. Maintain established minimum flows and levels through consumptive use permitting. (WMDs,
Ongoing.)
2. Where excessive withdrawals are determined to have caused significant harm to water
resources or natural systems, seek to eliminate, reduce, or mitigate the harm by limiting
withdrawals and/or requiring restoration/recovery actions. (WMDs, Ongoing.)











Chapter Six: Coordination


and Evaluation


Coordination Goal

Systematic planning capabilities shall be integrated into all levels of government in Florida with particular
emphasis on improving intergovernmental coordination and maximizing citizen involvement (s.
187.201(26)(a), F.S.)

Legal Basis for Management

Coordination is critical to successful implementation of water resource and natural systems management
programs, and is inherent in the basic authorities of DEP and the WMDs. Specific legal provisions relating
to coordination in implementing water resource management programs include the following:
[The Department of Environmental Protection shall] Adopt by rule a state water policy, which
shall provide goals, objectives, and guidance for the development and review of programs,
rules, and plans relating to water resources. This state water policy shall be consistent with the
state comprehensive plan and may include such department rules as are specifically identified
in the policy. (s. 403.061(33) and s. 373.026(10), F.S.)
It is a goal of the state that all its agencies, the State University System, the State Board of
Community Colleges, and all municipalities, counties, regional agencies, and special districts,
develop and implement strategies to prevent pollution, including public information programs
and education programs. (s. 403.073, F.S.)
Advise, consult, cooperate, and enter into agreements with other agencies of the state, the
Federal Government, other states, interstate agencies, groups, political subdivisions, and
industries affected by the provisions of this act, rules, or policies of the department (s. 403.061,
F.S.)
Develop interstate agreements and undertake cooperative programs with Alabama and
Georgia to provide for coordinated management of surface and ground waters. (s. 62-
40.310(5)(b), F.A.C.)
The department shall determine the consistency of federal activities, permits, and funding
decisions with its authorities in the Florida Coastal Management Program. (s. 380.23, F.S.)

Background Information
Having a completed Florida Water Plan is evidence that Florida is serious about effective water resources
management. Effectiveness requires cooperation and coordination at every level of government, and with
the public, to put the FWP into action. Effectiveness also requires that the programs which implement the
FWP, and the plan itself, be evaluated periodically to determine where changes are needed to reflect
improved strategies and new issues. This chapter describes some of the key parties and mechanisms











important to effective implementation and evaluation of the provisions and programs encompassed by the
FWP.
Several state agencies other than DEP have water management related responsibilities. These agencies
include the Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission (G&FWFC), the Department of Community Affairs
(DCA), and the Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services (HRS). The G&FWC conducts research
related to understanding critical habitat and other survival needs of Florida's fresh water and anadromous
fish, endangered species, and game and non-game animals. Identification of regionally significant habitat
areas is a particularly valuable part of this work. The DCA is responsible for developing the State Land
Development Plan, which must be consistent with the State Comprehensive Plan and should be mutually
compatible with the Florida Water Plan. DCA also is responsible for review and certification of local
government comprehensive plans for conformance with state planning requirements. The HRS is
responsible for implementing statewide programs to protect public health, including regulation of septic
tank systems and drinking water distribution systems. In addition, the Department of Transportation (DOT)
is responsible for developing the Florida Transportation Plan, which has significant implications for water
resources and should be mutually compatible with the FWP.

In cooperation with the WMDs, DEP has overall responsibility for assuring wise use and protection of
Florida's water resources. Sections 373.016 and 373.026, F.S., assign DEP the responsibility for general
supervision of the WMDs, and direct DEP to delegate its water management responsibilities to the WMDs,
to the greatest extent practicable.

Where interstate waters are involved, the states of Georgia and Alabama may also be affected. In most
cases, mechanisms already exist for coordinating with these interests. These mechanisms will be fully used
and refined as needed. The primary mechanisms used to achieve statewide coordination of water resource
management efforts are indicated in Tables 2 and 3, and are briefly explained below.

Water Resources Coordinating Commission

The Water Resources Coordinating Commission (WRCC) is an executive-level advisory and coordination
mechanism, created by Executive Order of the Governor. It is composed of the Lieutenant Governor, the
DEP secretary and the WMD governing board chairs (voting members), and the WMD executive directors
and the directors of the DEP Divisions of Environmental Resource Permitting and Water Facilities. The
stated purpose of the WRCC is "to coordinate and maximize efficiency in the performance of the statutory
duties and responsibilities of DEP and the WMDs to more effectively preserve, protect, and manage the
state's water resources; however, the Commission shall serve in an advisory capacity only."

WMD Executive Directors' Meetings

Regular meetings of the WMD executive directors, with participation by DEP, afford opportunities to
address issues in need of collective attention. The DEP helps establish agendas for the meetings and
participates in technical and policy-level discussions.

DEP/WMD Liaisons

DEP has five liaisons, one assigned to each WMD, to assist the DEP and the WMDs in coordinating on a
variety of issues. The liaison staff are employees of the DEP Office of Water Policy, but live and work in the
districts.


Joint DEP/WMD Develooment of DEP Water Policv Rule











As directed by Section 373.026(10) and 403.061(33), F.S., DEP adopts by rule a state water policy, which
provides goals, objectives, and guidance for the development and review of programs, rules, and plans
relating to water resources. The DEP Water Policy Rule. Chapter 62-40, F.A.C (also referred to as the
State Water Policy) provides the foundation for DEP and the WMDs to develop long-range plans and carry
out other statutory responsibilities related to water management. The rule is not regulatory, but coordinates
and applies statutory water management policies. Periodic updates of the rule are accomplished through a
joint DEP/WMD rule development work group.

Issue-Specific Work Groups

Close coordination on major issues is often accomplished through joint DEP/WMD work groups or teams.
Examples of this are the DWMP Plan Review Group, which established the "Format and Guidelines" for
development of the DWMPs, and cooperated on developing the draft Florida Water Plan. Also, 16
separate" conventions" committees worked over a 2-year period to develop recommended approaches for
dealing with specific issues in the DWMPs, such as management of surface water quality, determining
surface and ground water availability, and floodplain mapping. Another such group is the Reuse Coordi-
nating Committee, which consists of representatives of the water management districts, DEP, and the
Public Service Commission.

DEP Review of WMD Rules

Under Section 373.114, F.S., DEP has exclusive authority to review rules of the WMDs for consistency with
the State Water Policy. If the department determines that a WMD rule is inconsistent with the State Water
Policy, it may order the WMD to initiate rulemaking to amend or repeal the rule. Any such order may be
appealed to the Land and Water Adjudicatory Commission (Governor and Cabinet). To prevent
inconsistencies with State Water Policy, individual WMD programs often employ joint DEP/WMD rule
development teams.

DEP Review of WMD Budgets/Program Auditing

Section 373.536, F.S., directs the WMDs to submit a tentative budget to DEP annually by August 5. Within
30 days, DEP must provide its review and comments on the budget to the district governing boards,
legislative leaders, and the Governor. This review and comment is presented in the form of a report based
on a standard format prescribed by the DEP and agreed upon by all the WMDs. The data contained in the
DEP report are derived from the information submitted by the WMDs.

DEP is not authorized to and does not audit or object to the proposed budgets. This responsibility is with the
Executive Office of the Governor and the House and Senate Appropriations Committees. However, DEP
notes items such as substantial millage rate increases or new or unusually large expenditures. Also, for
certain.WMD programs involving DEP-administered funds, DEP conducts periodic financial audits.

Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs)

Under Sections 373.026 and 373.046, F.S., DEP may enter into interagency or interlocal agreements with
any other state agency, any water management district, or any local government conducting programs
related to or materially affecting water resources of the state. This mechanism is used to establish the
basis for WMD implementation of delegated or shared programs related to stormwater management,
wetlands permitting, construction of drinking water wells, and other water-related issues. DEP also uses
MOUs to delegate certain of its air and water pollution permitting and enforcement programs to local
governments.











Regional Planning Councils


Florida's eleven Regional Planning Councils (RPCs) have a significant role in coordinating growth
management activities and providing technical assistance to cities and counties for planning purposes.
Pursuant to s.186.507, F.S., each RPC must develop a Strategic Regional Policy Plan (SRPP) which is
consistent with the State Comprehensive Plan, and which is intended to be used to develop a coordinated
program of regional actions directed at resolving identified problems and needs. An important component
of the SRPPs is identification of resources of regional significance, which may include such things as
floodplains, ground water recharge areas, springs, and regionally significant surface water resources and
habitat areas.

It is critical to the success of regional planning and growth management programs that technical
information developed by the WMDs, the Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission, DEP and other
agencies be made available to the RPCs for use in developing SRPPs. The RPCs, in turn, assist in
providing such information to local governments in a form suitable for local planning. This includes
assuring that local government planning adequately considers the limits of water that is available to meet
potable water supply needs of planned growth and development. The RPCs are also responsible for
coordinating the multi-agency review of large-scale development projects (DRIs) and providing first-level
oversight, coordination and technical assistance to local governments in the preparation and amendment
of their comprehensive growth management plans.

Local Government Technical Assistance and Coordination

DEP and the WMDs provide technical and financial assistance to local governments related to municipal
wastewater treatment, water reuse, and other water pollution control, water quality, and water supply
concerns. In developing, revising, and implementing the Florida Water Plan, coordination with local
government is critical because it is local government that will provide the link between land use planning
and water resources planning. To ensure that the link is made, the department intends to increase
opportunities for local government involvement during FWP revisions and to determine strategies by which
the department and WMDs can best enhance the integration of land use and water resources planning at
the local level.

DEP Rules

The FWP will be implemented primarily through DEP and WMD rules, programs, and budgets. Some DEP
rules (water quality standards and classifications) are required by s. 373.039. F.S. to be included as part of
the Florida Water Plan. Rules that are incorporated as part of the FWP to the FWP are listed in the
Introduction and Overview.












Table 2. Primary Water Resource Management Coordination Mechanisms


Function/Entity

DEP General Supervision over
WMDs (Policies, Plans and
Programs)










Statewide Ecosystem
Management (DEP)

State Comprehensive Plan
(Governor's Office)
State Land Development Plan
(DCA)
Florida Transportation Plan
(DOT)

Strategic Regional Policy Plans
(RPCs)

Agricultural Interests (DACS)
Local Comprehensive Plans

Local Government Water
Supply Planning, Wastewater
Management Water Reuse.
Storm Water Management,
and Solid Waste Management


(State, Regional and Local)

Primary Mechanisms

a. Water Resources Coordinating Commission
b. WMD Executive Director's Meetings
c. State Water Policy (Ch. 62-40, F.A.C.)
d. DEP Liaisons to the WMDs
e. Florida Water Plan Work Group
f. Issue-Specific Work Groups (Policy/Rule
Development.)
g. Reuse Coordinating Committee
h. Memoranda of Understanding (Delegation
of Programs/Authorities)
I. Permit Streamlining, Mitigation Banking, etc.)
J. DEP Review of WMD Rules & Budgets,
Auditing
a. Ecosystem Management Areas/Teams
b. Adaptive Management

Overall Coordination by Office of the Governor

Interagency Planning Committees

Interagency Plan Review Process


a. Florida Water Plan Work Group
b. Plan Review Process (Chapter 186.507(2),
F.S., and Chapter 27E-5, F.A.C.)
Agricultural Water Policy Committee

Plan Review Process (Chapter 9J-5, F.A.C.)

a. DEP/WMD Technical and Financial
Assistance Programs
b. Reuse-Coordinating Committee











Table 3. Primary Water Resource Management Coordinating Mechanisms
(Federal and Interstate)


Function/Entity

US Army Corps of Engineers
Programs/Projects







US Environmental Protection Agency
Programs


National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration (NOAA) Programs

US Geological Survey Programs


US Soil Conservation Service Programs

US Forest Service Programs

US Fish and Wildlife Service



National Park Service


States of Alabama and Georgia


Primary Mechanisms

a. Public Works Program
b. State Clearinghouse Review Process
c. DEP/USACE Quarterly Meetings
d. Joint DEP/USACE Permit Application
Process (CWA Sec.404)
e. Memoranda of Understanding
f. Potential Delegation of Sec. 404 Permitting to
DEP

a. EPA/DEP Yearly Work Plans/Grants
b. EPA Technical Assistance/Special Projects
c. Delegation of EPA/CWA Programs to DEP

a. Grants
b. Cooperative Agreements/Special Projects

a. Contracts For Technical Services/Data
b. Cooperative Agreements

Contracts For Technical Services/Data

Ecosystem Management Teams

a. Acquisition Programs
b. Ecosystem Management Teams
c. Special Projects

a. Acquisition Programs
b. Ecosystem Management Teams

a. AFC Tri-State MOU
b. Suwannee River Coordinating Committee
c. St. Marys River Management Committee










Coordination and Evaluation Issue 1: Public education on
water resources and public participation in the water
management process is needed to ensure public and
legislative support for water management programs.

Florida has made substantial progress in environmental education in recent years, particularly in the public
school system. However, efforts targeted on management of water resources remain fragmented and are
not effectively conveying the message to sectors of the public whose strong support is needed for
continuing and enhancing statewide water resource management efforts. Without such support, the ability
of DEP and the WMDs to develop and implement effective long-range strategies is severely hampered.
Also, Florida's challenge of sustaining our water resources and natural systems cannot be successfully
met through the actions of government alone. Success depends heavily on Florida's ability to educate
citizens and visitors, governmental leaders, and the business community about water resource issues, and
to enlist their cooperation and active participation in helping to meet the challenge.

Coordination Strategy 1.1: Improve public education about Florida's
water resources.

Selected Action Steps:

1. Perform an inventory/assessment of current public education efforts related to water resources. (DEP
& WMDs, 1996.)
2. Design and implement a water stewardship program for Floridians and visitors. (DEP & WMDs, 1997.)


Coordination Strategy 1.2: Improve public participation in Florida's
water management process.

Selected Action Steps:

1. Conduct statewide seminars and public meetings on water resources issues, ecosystem management
and other environmental programs to encourage public involvement in water resource management, both
locally and statewide. (DEP & WMDs, 1996 Ongoing.)
2. Solicit public participation in development and revision of the Florida Water Plan. (DEP & WMDs, 1995
Ongoing.)
3. Develop public participation programs such as watershed action committees, citizen water quality
monitoring teams, pollution event reporting, etc. (DEP & WMDs, Ongoing.)
4. Incorporate public participation in the TMDL process. (DEP, Ongoing.)


Coordination and Evaluation Issue 2: Coordination of
water-related programs at all levels of government is










needed to ensure wise use and management of Florida's
water resources.

Coordination Strategy 2.1: Improve internal coordination between
DEP water-related programs.

Selected Action Steps:

1. Include specific Florida Water Plan strategies in the DEP Agency Strategic Plan. (DEP, 1995 -
Ongoing.)
2. Provide water management briefings to the DEP Policy Coordinating Committee. (DEP, Ongoing.)
3. Publish feature articles on water management in DEP Newsletters and periodicals. (1995-Ongoing.)
4. Conduct seminars, and encourage DEP program participation in the Annual Florida Water
Management Conference and technical workshops. (DEP & WMDs, Ongoing.)

Coordination Strategy 2.2: Secure dedicated and adequate funding
for implementing DEP responsibilities related to WMD general
supervision and state level water resource planning, policy
development, and management.

Selected Action Steps:
1. Evaluate and amend the permit fee structure for all DEP programs to fulfill the legislative mandate that
such programs be, to the greatest extent possible, self-sufficient. (DEP, Ongoing.)
2. Work with the Governor's Office and the legislature to secure adequate funding and staff support for
implementing DEP responsibilities related to WMD general supervision and statewide water resource
planning, policy development and management. (DEP & Governor's Office, Ongoing.)

Coordination Strategy 2.3: Improve state-level interagency
coordination on water-related programs.

Selected Action Steps:

1 .Where appropriate, implement recommendations of the Governor's Task Force on Land Use and Water
Planning. (DEP & WMDs, 1996-Ongoing.)
2. Coordinate with DCA on revisions to the State Land Development Plan. (DCA, DEP, & WMDs, 1995.)
3. Coordinate with DOT on revisions to the State Transportation Plan. (DEP, 1995.)
4. Coordinate with the Governor's Office on revisions to the State Comprehensive Plan. (DEP & Governor's
Office. Ongoing)
5. Coordinate with DACS on the Pesticide Review Council and on implementing programs to prevent water
contamination from agricultural chemicals. (DEP & DACS, Ongoing.)
6. Coordinate with HRS on Interagency Agreements relating to drinking water and septic tank
management. (DEP & HRS, Ongoing.)










7. Through continuation of the Reuse Coordinating Committee, coordinate statewide efforts to increase
water reuse. (DEP, WMDs, HRS, Ongoing.)

Coordination Strategy 2.4: Improve coordination between DEP and
WMD programs.

Selected Action Steps:

1. Continue and enhance the coordination role of the Water Resources Coordinating Commission. (DEP,
WMDs & Governors Office. Ongoing.)
2.Continue and enhance DEP participation in WMD Executive Director's Meetings. (DEP & WMDs, 1995 -
Ongoing.)
3. Implement streamlined permitting. (DEP & WMDs, 1996-Ongoing.)
4. Implement improvements in the DEP/WMD rule review process. (DEP & WMDs, 1996.)
5. Continue and enhance the FWP/DWMP Work Group. (DEP & WMDs, Ongoing.)

Coordination Strategy 2.5: Improve regional coordination between the
DEP, WMDs, DCA and Regional Planning Councils.

Selected Action Steps:

1. Conduct regular executive-level meetings among DEP, the WMDs, DCA and Regional Planning
Councils to evaluate and enhance water resource management. (DEP, WMDs, & RPCs, 1996-Ongoing.)
2. Establish a regular staff forum among DEP, the WMDs, DCA, GFWFC, and Regional Planning Councils
to exchange technical information and facilitate technical assistance to local governments. (DEP, WMDs,
DCA, GFWFC & RPCs, 1996-97-Continuing.)
3. Provide special emphasis on water resource management issues in agency reviews of Strategic
Regional Policy Plans. (DEP & WMDs, 1995-Ongoing.)
4. Develop mechanisms to make possible the routine sharing of existing permit and GIS information
between DEP, WMDs and RPCs. (DEP, WMDs, & RPCs, Ongoing.)
5. Provide opportunities for collaborative involvement and participation of RPCs in DEP and WMD
environmental resource management planning and data gathering programs. (DEP, WMDs & RPCs, 1996
Ongoing.)

Coordination Strategy 2.6: Improve coordination with local
governments.

Selected Action Steps:

1. Create and/or strengthen technical assistance and review teams to work directly with local government
planners and decision-makers in ecosystem management. (DEP & WMDs, 1996.)
2. Develop regular forums for providing technical assistance to local governments on all water resource
management issues. (DEP, WMDs, & RPCs, 1996-97 Ongoing.)
3. Coordinate with the Florida Local Environmental Regulators Association (FLERA) to broaden local
government participation in statewide water resource management. (DEP, Ongoing.)










Coordination Strategy 2.7: Improve interstate and federal-level
coordination.

Selected Action Steps:

1. Complete the basin assessment for the Apalachicola/Chattahoochee/Flint River system. (USACE, DEP,
Governor's Office, NWFWMD, Georgia, & Alabama, 1996.)
2. Following completion of ACF basin assessment, develop an interstate compact with the states of
Georgia and Alabama on management of the Apalachicola, Chattahoochee, and Flint River system.
(USACE, DEP, Governor's Office, NWFWMD, Georgia & Alabama, Ongoing.)
3. Continue efforts of the Suwannee River Coordinating Council to develop a comprehensive management
plan for the Suwannee River basin. (SRWMD, USGS, DEP, DCA, local governments & state of Georgia,
Ongoing.)
4. Continue participation in appropriate national water resource-related organizations. (DEP & WMDs,
Ongoing.)
5. Continue cooperative efforts with the state of Georgia on management of the St. Mary's River.
(SJRWMD & state of Georgia, Ongoing.)
6. Maintain close coordination with the Florida Congressional Delegation on water resource-related issues.
(DEP & WMDs, Ongoing.)
7. Improve early coordination in the planning and design of federal activities, permits, and funding decisions
to ensure consistency with state watershed management, ecosystem management, and water quality
enhancement efforts. (DEP, WMDs, & USACE Ongoing.)
8. Continue efforts to streamline and coordinate state and federal wetland permitting programs through the
development of a comprehensive State Programmatic General Permit. ( DEP, WMDs, & USACE, 1997.)
9. Establish more effective communication on all EPA-delegated programs, and streamline the DEP/EPA
workplan development and reporting process.

Coordination and Evaluation Issue 3: DEP and the
WMDs should measure progress toward meeting water
resource management goals.

Evaluating the effectiveness of the Florida Water Plan includes assessing DEP and WMD program
success, both in implementing the strategies and schedules specified in the Plan, and in sustaining
Florida's water resources. Measuring conformance to schedules is relatively straightforward, but judging
the success of statewide efforts toward sustaining water resources must rely on a variety of indicators,
many of which are not fully developed or which require long time frames. The process for evaluation will
focus on the following methods:

Annual Assessment/Status Report

DEP, in cooperation with the WMDs, will prepare an annual assessment of its progress toward
implementation of the FWP. This report will focus on the department's compliance with the strategies and
schedules in the Florida Water Plan, and is intended to serve as a status report on statewide water
resources management activities.

Five-Year Evaluation/ FWP Revisions

At least once every five years, DEP, in cooperation with the WMDs, other governmental entities, and the
public, will conduct an evaluation of the statewide effectiveness of DEP and WMD strategies toward









meeting water resource management goals established in the FWP. The report will provide the basis for
subsequent revisions to the FWP, and will draw heavily from regional assessments conducted by the
WMDs and, as appropriate, from other assessment efforts such as:
DEP Strategic Assessment of Florida's Environment (SAFE) Reports
EPA-sponsored Comparative Risk Reports
DEP Ecosystem Audit and Evaluation Committee Reports
"GAP" Reports of the Florida Commission on Governmental Accountability to the People

Evaluation Strategy 3.1: Implement an annual process to evaluate
progress on implementing the FWP and District Water Management
Plans.

Selected Action Steps:

1. Prepare annual Status Reports on progress toward implementation of each District Water Management
Plan. (WMDs & DEP, 1996 Continuing.)
2. Prepare an annual Status Report on progress on implementation of Florida Water Plan. (DEP & WMDs.
1996 Continuing.)


Evaluation Strategy 3.2: Implement a lon -term process for evaluation
and updating the Florida Water Plan and District Water
Management Plans, including benchmarks for assessing progress.

Selected Action Steps:

1. Prepare operational benchmarks for jointly evaluating program effectiveness. (DEP & WMDs, 1996.)
2. Continue development and refinement of the Strategic Assessment of Florida's Environment (SAFE)
project. (DEP & FSU, 1996 Ongoing.)
3. Continue production of the Clean Water Act s. 305(b) Statewide Water Quality Assessment Reports.
(DEP, 1995 Ongoing.)
4. Complete Ecosystem Audit and Evaluation Reports. (DEP, 1996 Continuing.)
5. Establish a process involving DEP, the WMDs, the Governor's Office, local governments and the public
to conduct 5-year assessments of the FWP and recommend changes. (DEP lead, 1997 Continuing.)
6. Prepare Evaluation Report of the statewide effectiveness of DEP and WMD strategies. (DEP & WMDs,
at least every 5 years after 1995).
7. Revise District Water Management Plans at least every five years. (WMDs, 1999 Continuing.)














Summary

Florida's economic future, quality of life, and natural systems are inextricably tied to the state's water
resources. How well we fulfill our responsibilities as stewards of these irreplaceable treasures will in large
part determine the legacy that present-day Floridians will leave for future generations. In order to cope with
the complexities of water management in the face of rapid population growth, Florida's programs must
place greater emphasis on comprehensive approaches and long-range planning. They must provide better
perspectives of statewide and regional water resource management needs and establish cohesive
strategies for directing available agency resources toward meeting those needs in the most cost-effective
manner. This draft Florida Water Plan is a concerted effort by DEP and the WMDs, involving literally
hundreds of participants, to focus on the priority water issues facing Florida, and identify specific strategies
and action steps to address these issues.
The draft plan is not complete and further revisions are anticipated. In the coming months the draft will
undergo further agency review, and public workshops will be held around the state to explain the plan and
solicit suggestions from the general public. The Plan will then be revised to incorporate appropriate
suggestions and be submitted for approval by the Secretary of DEP.














Related Documents


Florida Department of
Environmental Protection

Water Policy rule (Chapter 62-
40, Florida Administrative Code)
Surface Water Quality
Standards rule (Chapter 62-302,
F.A.C.)
Florida Water Quality
Assessment (Biennial 305(b)
Report)
Strategic Assessment of
Florida's Environment


Water Management
Districts
Northwest Florida District
Water Management Plan
St. Johns River District Water
Management Plan

South Florida District Water
Management Plan

Southwest Florida District
Water Management Plan
Suwannee River District Water
Management Plan




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