Title: Summary of Current Policy
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/WL00001512/00001
 Material Information
Title: Summary of Current Policy
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida
Abstract: Summary of Current Water Management System Policy (1996)
General Note: Box 8, Folder 6 ( Vail Conference, 1996 - 1996 ), Item 38
Funding: Digitized by the Legal Technology Institute in the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: WL00001512
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Levin College of Law, University of Florida
Holding Location: Levin College of Law, University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

Full Text


The current water management system is regional rather than statewide and the
Department of Environmental Protection, ostensibly charged with "exercising general
supervisory authority" over the water management districts, exercises little programmatic
control over the management of the state's water resources. The Department is
responsible for administration of Ch. 373, Florida Statutes, at the state level, but program
responsibilities have largely been delegated to the water management districts. In the
1972 Water Resources Act, the Legislature recognized that the magnitude and complexity
of water resources problems vary by region. As a result, while vesting responsibility in the
Department to manage the waters of the state, the Legislature stated its intent that the
Department delegate program responsibilities to the districts. Although state authority was
to be maintained through oversight of the districts' activities, the Department's "general
supervisory authority" is not well-defined in statute. Sufficient authority has not been
vested in the Department to provide accountability at the state level for implementing water
policy on a consistent, statewide basis.

Although the 1972 Water Resources Act required adoption of a comprehensive plan
for the development and use of the state's water resources the State Water Use Plan -
the state currently lacks a comprehensive plan for allocating available water supply. The
Department has undertaken development of the plan on three separate occasions but, to
date, a comprehensive water use plan as envisioned by s.373.036, F.S., has not been
adopted. Because the state lacks an overall plan for the allocation of water resources,
critical decisions regarding water supply allocation are occurring largely through each
district's consumptive use permitting program. Moreover, development of these permitting
programs has occurred without benefit of the overall water supply policy that the State
Water Use Plan is intended to provide. In the absence of a water supply allocation plan,
allocation decisions are made on a case-by-case basis in the permitting process and do
not necessarily relate to specific allocation objectives.

Another key feature of the 1972 Water Resources Act that has not been fully
implemented is the establishment of minimum flows and levels (s. 373.042, F.S.).
Minimum flows and levels must be established in order to manage water resources in a
manner that preserves the integrity of the hydrologic system and promotes conservation,
development, and proper utilization of surface and ground water. Flows and levels can
play an important role in water supply planning by establishing limits for the amount of
water that can be withdrawn from a particular source. Establishing such a limit helps
define the amount of water a particular source can provide on a sustainable basis,
enabling a planning process in which projected demands can be compared to the available
supply. Allocation decisions can then be made that are consistent with protecting the
water supply sources and ensuring the long-term availability of water for human use.

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