Section 373.196, Florida Statutes 2009
373.196 Alternative water supply development.--
(1) The purpose of this section is to encourage cooperation in the development of water supplies and to provide for alternative water supply development.
(a) Demands on natural supplies of fresh water to meet the needs of a rapidly growing population and the needs of the environment, agriculture, industry, and mining will continue to increase.
(b) There is a need for the development of alternative water supplies for Florida to sustain its economic growth, economic viability, and natural resources.
(c) Cooperative efforts between municipalities, counties, special districts, water management districts, and the Department of Environmental Protection are mandatory in order to meet the water needs of rapidly urbanizing areas in a manner that will supply adequate and dependable supplies of water where needed without resulting in adverse effects upon the areas from which such water is withdrawn. Such efforts should use all practical means of obtaining water, including, but not limited to, withdrawals of surface water and groundwater, reuse, and desalinization, and will necessitate not only cooperation but also well-coordinated activities. Municipalities, counties, and special districts are encouraged to create regional water supply authorities as authorized in s. 373.1962 or multijurisdictional water supply entities.
(d) Alternative water supply development must receive priority funding attention to increase the available supplies of water to meet all existing and future reasonable-beneficial uses and to benefit the natural systems.
(e) Cooperation between counties, municipalities, regional water supply authorities, multijurisdictional water supply entities, special districts, and publicly owned and privately owned water utilities in the development of countywide and multicountywide alternative water supply projects will allow for necessary economies of scale and efficiencies to be achieved in order to accelerate the development of new, dependable, and sustainable alternative water supplies.
(f) It is in the public interest that county, municipal, industrial, agricultural, and other public and private water users, the Department of Environmental Protection, and the water management districts cooperate and work together in the development of alternative water supplies to avoid the adverse effects of competition for limited supplies of water. Public moneys or services provided to private entities for alternative water supply development may constitute public purposes that also are in the public interest.
(2)(a) Sufficient water must be available for all existing and future reasonable-beneficial uses and the natural systems, and the adverse effects of competition for water supplies must be avoided.
(b) Water supply development and alternative water supply development must be conducted in coordination with water management district regional water supply planning.
(c) Funding for the development of alternative water supplies shall be a shared responsibility of water suppliers and users, the State of Florida, and the water management districts, with water suppliers and users having the primary responsibility and the State of Florida and the water management districts being responsible for providing funding assistance.
(3) The primary roles of the water management districts in water resource development as it relates to supporting alternative water supply development are:
(a) The formulation and implementation of regional water resource management strategies that support alternative water supply development;
(b) The collection and evaluation of surface water and groundwater data to be used for a planning level assessment of the feasibility of alternative water supply development projects;
(c) The construction, operation, and maintenance of major public works facilities for flood control, surface and underground water storage, and groundwater recharge augmentation to support alternative water supply development;
(d) Planning for alternative water supply development as provided in regional water supply plans in coordination with local governments, regional water supply authorities, multijurisdictional water supply entities, special districts, and publicly owned and privately owned water utilities and self-suppliers;
(e) The formulation and implementation of structural and nonstructural programs to protect and manage water resources in support of alternative water supply projects; and
(f) The provision of technical and financial assistance to local governments and publicly owned and privately owned water utilities for alternative water supply projects.
(4) The primary roles of local government, regional water supply authorities, multijurisdictional water supply entities, special districts, and publicly owned and privately owned water utilities in alternative water supply development shall be:
(a) The planning, design, construction, operation, and maintenance of alternative water supply development projects;
(b) The formulation and implementation of alternative water supply development strategies and programs;
(c) The planning, design, construction, operation, and maintenance of facilities to collect, divert, produce, treat, transmit, and distribute water for sale, resale, or end use; and
(d) The coordination of alternative water supply development activities with the appropriate water management district having jurisdiction over the activity.
(5) Nothing in this section shall be construed to preclude the various special districts, municipalities, and counties from continuing to operate existing water production and transmission facilities or to enter into cooperative agreements with other special districts, municipalities, and counties for the purpose of meeting their respective needs for dependable and adequate supplies of water; however, the obtaining of water through such operations shall not be done in a manner that results in adverse effects upon the areas from which such water is withdrawn.
(6)(a) The statewide funds provided pursuant to the Water Protection and Sustainability Program serve to supplement existing water management district or basin board funding for alternative water supply development assistance and should not result in a reduction of such funding. Therefore, the water management districts shall include in the annual tentative and adopted budget submittals required under this chapter the amount of funds allocated for water resource development that supports alternative water supply development and the funds allocated for alternative water supply projects selected for inclusion in the Water Protection and Sustainability Program. It shall be the goal of each water management district and basin boards that the combined funds allocated annually for these purposes be, at a minimum, the equivalent of 100 percent of the state funding provided to the water management district for alternative water supply development. If this goal is not achieved, the water management district shall provide in the budget submittal an explanation of the reasons or constraints that prevent this goal from being met, an explanation of how the goal will be met in future years, and affirmation of match is required during the budget review process as established under s. 373.536(5). The Suwannee River Water Management District and the Northwest Florida Water Management District shall not be required to meet the match requirements of this paragraph; however, they shall try to achieve the match requirement to the greatest extent practicable.
(b) State funds from the Water Protection and Sustainability Program created in s. 403.890 shall be made available for financial assistance for the project construction costs of alternative water supply development projects selected by a water management district governing board for inclusion in the program.
History.--s. 1, ch. 74-114; s. 43, ch. 79-65; s. 257, ch. 94-356; s. 2, ch. 98-88; s. 2, ch. 2005-291.