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The Florida Statutes

The 2018 Florida Statutes

Title XXVIII
NATURAL RESOURCES; CONSERVATION, RECLAMATION, AND USE
Chapter 373
WATER RESOURCES
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F.S. 373.037
373.037 Pilot program for alternative water supply development in restricted allocation areas.
(1) As used in this section, the term:
(a) “Central Florida Water Initiative Area” means all of Orange, Osceola, Polk, and Seminole Counties, and southern Lake County, as designated by the Central Florida Water Initiative Guiding Document of January 30, 2015.
(b) “Lower East Coast Regional Water Supply Planning Area” means the areas withdrawing surface and groundwater from Water Conservation Areas 1, 2A, 2B, 3A, and 3B, Grassy Waters Preserve/Water Catchment Area, Pal Mar, J.W. Corbett Wildlife Management Area, Loxahatchee Slough, Loxahatchee River, Riverbend Park, Dupuis Reserve, Jonathan Dickinson State Park, Kitching Creek, Moonshine Creek, Cypress Creek, Hobe Grove Ditch, the Holey Land and Rotenberger Wildlife Management Areas, and the freshwater portions of the Everglades National Park, as designated by the South Florida Water Management District.
(c) “Restricted allocation area” means an area within a water supply planning region of the Southwest Florida Water Management District, the South Florida Water Management District, or the St. Johns River Water Management District where the governing board of the water management district has determined that existing sources of water are not adequate to supply water for all existing and future reasonable-beneficial uses and to sustain the water resources and related natural systems for the planning period pursuant to ss. 373.036 and 373.709 and where the governing board of the water management district has applied allocation restrictions with regard to the use of specific sources of water. For the purposes of this section, the term includes the Central Florida Water Initiative Area, the Lower East Coast Regional Water Supply Planning Area, the Southern Water Use Caution Area, and the Upper East Coast Regional Water Supply Planning Area.
(d) “Southern Water Use Caution Area” means all of Desoto, Hardee, Manatee, and Sarasota Counties and parts of Charlotte, Highlands, Hillsborough, and Polk Counties, as designated by the Southwest Florida Water Management District.
(e) “Upper East Coast Regional Water Supply Planning Area” means the areas withdrawing surface and groundwater from the Central and Southern Florida canals or the Floridan Aquifer, as designated by the South Florida Water Management District.
(2) The Legislature finds that:
(a) Local governments, regional water supply authorities, and government-owned and privately owned water utilities face significant challenges in securing funds for implementing large-scale alternative water supply projects in certain restricted allocation areas due to a variety of factors, such as the magnitude of the water resource challenges, the large number of water users, the difficulty of developing multijurisdictional solutions across district, county, or municipal boundaries, and the expense of developing large-scale alternative water supply projects identified in the regional water supply plans pursuant to s. 373.709.
(b) These factors make it necessary to provide other options for the Southwest Florida Water Management District, the South Florida Water Management District, and the St. Johns River Water Management District to be able to take the lead in developing and implementing one alternative water supply project within a restricted allocation area as a pilot alternative water supply development project.
(c) Each pilot project must provide water supply and environmental benefits. Consideration should be given to projects that provide reductions in damaging discharges to tide or that are part of a recovery or prevention strategy for minimum flows and minimum water levels.
(3) The water management districts specified in paragraph (2)(b) may, at their sole discretion, designate and implement an existing alternative water supply project that is identified in each district’s regional water supply plan as its one pilot project or amend their respective regional water supply plans to add a new alternative water supply project as their district pilot project. A pilot project designation made pursuant to this section should be made no later than July 1, 2017, and is not subject to the rulemaking requirements of chapter 120 or subject to legal challenge pursuant to ss. 120.569 and 120.57. A water management district may designate an alternative water supply project located within another water management district if the project is located in a restricted allocation area designated by the other water management district and a substantial quantity of water provided by the alternative water supply project will be used within the boundaries of the water management district that designated the alternative water supply project.
(4) In addition to the other powers granted and duties imposed under this chapter, if a district specified in paragraph (2)(b) elects to implement a pilot project pursuant to this section, its governing board has the following powers and is subject to the following restrictions in implementing the pilot project:
(a) The governing board may not develop and implement a pilot project on privately owned land without the voluntary consent of the landowner, which consent may be evidenced by deed, easement, license, contract, or other written legal instrument executed by the landowner after July 1, 2016.
(b) The governing board may not engage in local water supply distribution or sell water to the pilot project participants.
(c) The governing board may join with one or more other water management districts and counties, municipalities, special districts, publicly owned or privately owned water utilities, multijurisdictional water supply entities, regional water supply authorities, self-suppliers, or other entities for the purpose of carrying out its powers, and may contract with any such other entities to finance or otherwise implement acquisitions, construction, and operation and maintenance, if such contracts are consistent with the public interest and based upon independent cost estimates, including comparisons with other alternative water supply projects. The contracts may provide for contributions to be made by each party to the contract for the division and apportionment of resulting costs, including operations and maintenance, benefits, services, and products. The contracts may contain other covenants and agreements necessary and appropriate to accomplish their purposes.
(5) A water management district may provide up to 50 percent of funding assistance for a pilot project.
(6) If a water management district specified in paragraph (2)(b) elects to implement a pilot project, it shall submit a report to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives by July 1, 2020, on the effectiveness of its pilot project. The report must include all of the following information:
(a) A description of the alternative water supply project selected as a pilot project, including the quantity of water the project has produced or is expected to produce and the consumptive users who are expected to use the water produced by the pilot project to meet their existing and future reasonable-beneficial uses.
(b) Progress made in developing and implementing the pilot project in comparison to the development and implementation of other alternative water supply projects in the restricted allocation area.
(c) The capital and operating costs to be expended by the water management district in implementing the pilot project in comparison to other alternative water supply projects being developed and implemented in the restricted allocation area.
(d) The source of funds to be used by the water management district in developing and implementing the pilot project.
(e) The benefits to the district’s water resources and natural systems from implementation of the pilot project.
(f) A recommendation as to whether the traditional role of water management districts regarding the development and implementation of alternative water supply projects, as specified in ss. 373.705 and 373.707, should be revised and, if so, identification of the statutory changes necessary to expand the scope of the pilot program.
History.s. 4, ch. 2016-1.