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The Florida Statutes

The 2022 Florida Statutes

Title XXVIII
NATURAL RESOURCES; CONSERVATION, RECLAMATION, AND USE
Chapter 373
WATER RESOURCES
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F.S. 373.0465
373.0465 Central Florida Water Initiative.
(1) The Legislature finds that:
(a) Historically, the Floridan Aquifer system has supplied the vast majority of the water used in the Central Florida Coordination Area.
(b) Because the boundaries of the St. Johns River Water Management District, the South Florida Water Management District, and the Southwest Florida Water Management District meet within the Central Florida Coordination Area, the three districts and the Department of Environmental Protection have worked cooperatively to determine that the Floridan Aquifer system is locally approaching the sustainable limits of use and are exploring the need to develop sources of water to meet the long-term water needs of the area.
(c) The Central Florida Water Initiative is a collaborative process involving the Department of Environmental Protection, the St. Johns River Water Management District, the South Florida Water Management District, the Southwest Florida Water Management District, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, regional public water supply utilities, and other stakeholders. As set forth in the Central Florida Water Initiative Guiding Document of January 30, 2015, the initiative has developed an initial framework for a unified process to address the current and long-term water supply needs of Central Florida without causing harm to the water resources and associated natural systems.
(d) Developing water sources as an alternative to continued reliance on the Floridan Aquifer will benefit existing and future water users and natural systems within and beyond the boundaries of the Central Florida Water Initiative.
(2)(a) As used in this section, the term “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) The department, the St. Johns River Water Management District, the South Florida Water Management District, the Southwest Florida Water Management District, and the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services shall:
1. Provide for a continuation of the collaborative process in the Central Florida Water Initiative Area among the state agencies, affected water management districts, regional public water supply utilities, and other stakeholders;
2. Build upon the guiding principles and goals set forth in the Central Florida Water Initiative Guiding Document of January 30, 2015, and the work that has already been accomplished by the Central Florida Water Initiative participants;
3. Develop and implement, as set forth in the Central Florida Water Initiative Guiding Document of January 30, 2015, a single multidistrict regional water supply plan, including any needed recovery or prevention strategies and a list of water supply development projects or water resource projects; and
4. Provide for a single hydrologic planning model to assess the availability of groundwater in the Central Florida Water Initiative Area.
(c) In developing the water supply planning program consistent with the goals set forth in this subsection, the department, the St. Johns River Water Management District, the South Florida Water Management District, the Southwest Florida Water Management District, and the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services shall:
1. Consider limitations on groundwater use together with opportunities for new, increased, or redistributed groundwater uses that are consistent with the conditions established under s. 373.223;
2. Establish a coordinated process for the identification of water resources requiring new or revised conditions. Any new or revised condition must be consistent with s. 373.223;
3. Consider existing recovery or prevention strategies;
4. Include a list of water supply options sufficient to meet the water needs of all existing and future reasonable-beneficial uses consistent with the conditions established under s. 373.223; and
5. Identify, as necessary, which of the water supply sources are preferred water supply sources pursuant to s. 373.2234.
(d) The department, in consultation with the St. Johns River Water Management District, the South Florida Water Management District, the Southwest Florida Water Management District, and the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, shall adopt uniform rules for application within the Central Florida Water Initiative Area that include:
1. A single, uniform definition of the term “harmful to the water resources” consistent with the term’s usage in s. 373.219;
2. A single method for calculating residential per capita water use;
3. A single process for permit reviews;
4. A single, consistent process, as appropriate, to set minimum flows and minimum water levels and water reservations;
5. A goal for residential per capita water use for each consumptive use permit;
6. An annual conservation goal for each consumptive use permit consistent with the regional water supply plan;
7. A drought allocation for supplemental irrigation for agricultural uses which is based on a 2-in-10-year rainfall condition or, if the applicant so requests, is based on a 5-in-10-year rainfall condition alone or combined with the 2-in-10-year rainfall condition. The applicable water management district may also condition, for information only purposes, consumptive use permits to advise permittees that their annual use of water should be less than the drought allocation in all years except for the drought condition that is the basis for the allocation or a more severe drought; and
8. A process for the applicable water management district to annually examine an agricultural user’s 5-year moving average supplemental irrigation water use against the annual supplemental irrigation needs in the 5-in-10-year rainfall condition beginning no earlier than 5 years following the effective date of the rules adopted under this section. If this annual examination indicates that the agricultural user’s 5-year moving average use exceeds that needed in such rainfall condition for reasons other than prolonged periods of below average rainfall, the water management district may modify the agricultural user’s permit to include an annual supplemental irrigation allocation based on both the amount of supplemental irrigation required during a 2-in-10-year rainfall condition and the amount of supplemental irrigation required during a 5-in-10-year rainfall condition as provided in rules adopted pursuant to this section. In such case, the supplemental irrigation allocation based on the 5-in-10-year rainfall condition shall be valid for only 5 years unless the agricultural user’s 5-year moving average use continues to exceed the amount of supplemental irrigation needed during a 5-in-10-year rainfall condition for reasons other than prolonged periods of drought.

Subparagraphs 7. and 8. may not be construed to limit the ability of the department or a water management district to establish different supplemental irrigation requirements as part of an existing or a future recovery or prevention strategy adopted pursuant to s. 373.0363, s. 373.042, or s. 373.0421. The uniform rules must include existing recovery strategies within the Central Florida Water Initiative Area adopted before July 1, 2016. The department may grant variances to the uniform rules if there are unique circumstances or hydrogeological factors that make application of the uniform rules unrealistic or impractical.

(e) The department shall initiate rulemaking for the uniform rules by December 31, 2016. The department’s uniform rules shall be applied by the water management districts only within the Central Florida Water Initiative Area. Upon adoption of the rules, the water management districts shall implement the rules without further rulemaking pursuant to s. 120.54. The rules adopted by the department pursuant to this section are considered the rules of the water management districts.
(f) Water management district planning programs developed pursuant to this subsection shall be approved or adopted as required under this chapter. However, such planning programs may not serve to modify planning programs in areas of the affected districts that are not within the Central Florida Water Initiative Area, but may include interregional projects located outside the Central Florida Water Initiative Area which are consistent with planning and regulatory programs in the areas in which they are located.
History.s. 7, ch. 2016-1; s. 3, ch. 2021-153; s. 32, ch. 2022-4.