373.0421 Establishment and implementation of minimum flows and levels.—
(a) Considerations.—When establishing minimum flows and levels pursuant to s. 373.042, the department or governing board shall consider changes and structural alterations to watersheds, surface waters, and aquifers and the effects such changes or alterations have had, and the constraints such changes or alterations have placed, on the hydrology of an affected watershed, surface water, or aquifer, provided that nothing in this paragraph shall allow significant harm as provided by s. 373.042(1) caused by withdrawals.
1. The Legislature recognizes that certain water bodies no longer serve their historical hydrologic functions. The Legislature also recognizes that recovery of these water bodies to historical hydrologic conditions may not be economically or technically feasible, and that such recovery effort could cause adverse environmental or hydrologic impacts. Accordingly, the department or governing board may determine that setting a minimum flow or level for such a water body based on its historical condition is not appropriate.
2. The department or the governing board is not required to establish minimum flows or levels pursuant to s. 373.042 for surface water bodies less than 25 acres in area, unless the water body or bodies, individually or cumulatively, have significant economic, environmental, or hydrologic value.
3. The department or the governing board shall not set minimum flows or levels pursuant to s. 373.042 for surface water bodies constructed prior to the requirement for a permit, or pursuant to an exemption, a permit, or a reclamation plan which regulates the size, depth, or function of the surface water body under the provisions of this chapter, chapter 378, or chapter 403, unless the constructed surface water body is of significant hydrologic value or is an essential element of the water resources of the area.
The exclusions of this paragraph shall not apply to the Everglades Protection Area, as defined in s. 373.4592(2)(i).
(2) If the existing flow or level in a water body is below, or is projected to fall within 20 years below, the applicable minimum flow or level established pursuant to s. 373.042, the department or governing board, as part of the regional water supply plan described in s. 373.709, shall expeditiously implement a recovery or prevention strategy, which includes the development of additional water supplies and other actions, consistent with the authority granted by this chapter, to:
(a) Achieve recovery to the established minimum flow or level as soon as practicable; or
(b) Prevent the existing flow or level from falling below the established minimum flow or level.
The recovery or prevention strategy shall include phasing or a timetable which will allow for the provision of sufficient water supplies for all existing and projected reasonable-beneficial uses, including development of additional water supplies and implementation of conservation and other efficiency measures concurrent with, to the extent practical, and to offset, reductions in permitted withdrawals, consistent with the provisions of this chapter.
(3) The provisions of this section are supplemental to any other specific requirements or authority provided by law. Minimum flows and levels shall be reevaluated periodically and revised as needed.
History.—s. 6, ch. 97-160; s. 36, ch. 2004-5; s. 13, ch. 2010-205.