(1) As used in this section, the term “interdistrict transfer and use” means a consumptive water use that involves the withdrawal of groundwater from a point within one water management district for use outside the boundaries of that district, but does not include a withdrawal and use within the same county. In case of withdrawal of groundwater from a point within one water management district for use outside the boundaries of that district but within the same county, the provisions of subsections (4), (11), and (13) shall apply, and the district considering a permit application for such a consumptive use shall apply the applicable provisions of this chapter, and its rules, to the withdrawal and use.
(2) To obtain a permit for an interdistrict transfer and use of groundwater, an applicant must file an application in accordance with s. 373.229 with the water management district having jurisdiction over the area from which the applicant proposes to withdraw groundwater and submit a copy of the application to the water management district having jurisdiction over the area where the water is to be used.
(3) The governing board of the water management district where the groundwater is proposed to be withdrawn shall review the application in accordance with this part, the rules of the district which relate to consumptive water use permitting, and other applicable provisions of this chapter.
(4) In determining if an application is consistent with the public interest as required by s. 373.223, the projected populations, as contained in the future land use elements of the comprehensive plans adopted pursuant to chapter 163 by the local governments within which the withdrawal areas and the proposed use areas are located, will be considered together with other evidence presented on future needs of those areas. If the proposed interdistrict transfer of groundwater meets the requirements of this chapter, and if the needs of the area where the use will occur and the specific area from which the groundwater will be withdrawn can be satisfied, the permit for the interdistrict transfer and use shall be issued. (5) In addition to other requirements contained in this part, the water management district where the groundwater is proposed to be withdrawn shall:
(a) Furnish copies of any application, information, correspondence, or other related material to the water management district having jurisdiction over the area where the water is to be used; and
(b) Request comments on the application and the future water needs of the proposed use area from the water management district having jurisdiction over the area where the water is to be used. If comments are received, they must be attached to the preliminary notice of intended agency action and may not create a point of entry for review whether issued by the governing board or district staff.
(6) Upon completion of review of the application, the water management district where the groundwater is proposed to be withdrawn shall prepare a notice of preliminary intended agency action which shall include an evaluation of the application and a recommendation of approval, denial, or approval with conditions. The notice shall be furnished to the district where the water is to be used, the applicant, the Department of Environmental Protection, the local governments having jurisdiction over the area from which the groundwater is to be withdrawn and where the water is to be used, and any person requesting a copy of the notice.
(a) Any interested person may, within the time specified in the notice, notify in writing the district from where the groundwater is to be withdrawn of such person’s position and comments or objections, if any, to the preliminary intended action.
(b) The filing of the notice of intended agency action shall toll the time periods contained in s. 120.60 for the granting or denial of a permit for an interdistrict transfer and use of groundwater.
(c) The preliminary intended agency action and any comments or objections of interested persons made pursuant to paragraph (a) shall be considered by the governing board of the water management district where the groundwater is proposed to be withdrawn. Following such consideration, the governing board shall issue a notice of intended agency action.
(d) Any substantially affected person who submitted a notification pursuant to paragraph (a) may request review by the department within 14 days after the filing of the notice of intended agency action. If no request for review is filed, the notice of intended agency action shall become the final order of the governing board.
(7) Notwithstanding the provisions of chapter 120, the department shall, within 30 days after its receipt of a request for review of the water management district’s action, approve, deny, or modify the water management district’s action on the proposed interdistrict transfer and use of groundwater. The department shall issue a notice of its intended action. Any substantially affected person who requested review pursuant to paragraph (6)(a) may request an administrative hearing pursuant to chapter 120 within 14 days after notice of the department’s intended action. The parties to such proceeding shall include, at a minimum, the affected water management districts and the applicant. The proceedings initiated by a petition under ss. 120.569 and 120.57, following the department’s issuance of a notice of intended agency action, is the exclusive proceeding authorized for the review of agency action on the interdistrict transfer and use of groundwater. This procedure is to give effect to the legislative intent that this section provide a single, efficient, simplified, coordinated permitting process for the interdistrict transfer and use of groundwater. (8) The department shall issue a final order which is subject to review pursuant to s. 120.68 or s. 373.114. (9) In administering this part, the department or the water management districts may enter into interagency agreements. However, such agreements are not subject to the provisions of s. 373.046 and chapter 120.
(10) The state hereby preempts any regulation of the interdistrict transfer and use of groundwater. If any provision of this section is in conflict with any other provision or restriction under any law, administrative rule, or ordinance, this section shall govern and such law, rule, or ordinance shall be deemed superseded for the purposes of this section. A water management district or the department may not adopt special rules which prohibit or restrict interdistrict transfer and use of groundwater in a manner inconsistent with this section.
(11) If, after the final order of the department or final agency action under this section, the proposed use of the site designated in the application for groundwater production, treatment, or transmission facilities does not conform with the existing zoning ordinances, a rezoning application may be submitted. If local authorities deny the application for rezoning, the applicant may appeal this decision to the Land and Water Adjudicatory Commission, which shall authorize a variance or nonconforming use to the existing comprehensive plan and zoning ordinances, unless the commission determines after notice and hearing that such variance or nonconforming use is contrary to the public interest.
(12) The permit required under this section and other sections of this chapter and chapter 403 are the sole permits required for interdistrict transfer and use of groundwater, and such permits are in lieu of any license, permit, or similar document required by any state agency or political subdivision pursuant to chapter 163, chapter 380, or chapter 381, and the Florida Transportation Code.
(13) When a consumptive use permit under this section is granted for water use beyond the boundaries of a local government from which or through which the groundwater is withdrawn or transferred and a local government denies a permit required under chapter 125 or chapter 153 for a facility or any infrastructure which produces, treats, transmits, or distributes such groundwater, the person or unit of government applying for the permit under chapter 125 or chapter 153 may appeal the denial to the Land and Water Adjudicatory Commission. The commission shall review the local government action for consistency with this chapter and the interdistrict groundwater transfer permit and may reverse, modify, or approve the local government’s action.