October 22, 2020
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The Florida Statutes

The 2009 Florida Statutes

Title XXVIII
NATURAL RESOURCES; CONSERVATION, RECLAMATION, AND USE
Chapter 373
WATER RESOURCES
View Entire Chapter
Section 373.1961, Florida Statutes 2009

373.1961  Water production; general powers and duties; identification of needs; funding criteria; economic incentives; reuse funding.--

(1)  POWERS AND DUTIES OF BOARD.--In the performance of, and in conjunction with, its other powers and duties, the governing board of a water management district existing pursuant to this chapter:

(a)  Shall engage in planning to assist counties, municipalities, special districts, publicly owned and privately owned water utilities, multijurisdictional water supply entities, or regional water supply authorities in meeting water supply needs in such manner as will give priority to encouraging conservation and reducing adverse environmental effects of improper or excessive withdrawals of water from concentrated areas. As used in this section and s. 373.196, regional water supply authorities are regional water authorities created under s. 373.1962 or other laws of this state.

(b)  Shall assist counties, municipalities, special districts, publicly owned or privately owned water utilities, multijurisdictional water supply entities, or regional water supply authorities in meeting water supply needs in such manner as will give priority to encouraging conservation and reducing adverse environmental effects of improper or excessive withdrawals of water from concentrated areas.

(c)  May establish, design, construct, operate, and maintain water production and transmission facilities for the purpose of supplying water to counties, municipalities, special districts, publicly owned and privately owned water utilities, multijurisdictional water supply entities, or regional water supply authorities. The permit required by part II of this chapter for a water management district engaged in water production and transmission shall be granted, denied, or granted with conditions by the department.

(d)  Shall not engage in local water supply distribution.

(e)  Shall not deprive, directly or indirectly, any county wherein water is withdrawn of the prior right to the reasonable and beneficial use of water which is required to supply adequately the reasonable and beneficial needs of the county or any of the inhabitants or property owners therein.

(f)  May provide water and financial assistance to regional water supply authorities, but may not provide water to counties and municipalities which are located within the area of such authority without the specific approval of the authority or, in the event of the authority's disapproval, the approval of the Governor and Cabinet sitting as the Land and Water Adjudicatory Commission. The district may supply water at rates and upon terms mutually agreed to by the parties or, if they do not agree, as set by the governing board and specifically approved by the Governor and Cabinet sitting as the Land and Water Adjudicatory Commission.

(g)  May acquire title to such interest as is necessary in real property, by purchase, gift, devise, lease, eminent domain, or otherwise, for water production and transmission consistent with this section and s. 373.196. However, the district shall not use any of the eminent domain powers herein granted to acquire water and water rights already devoted to reasonable and beneficial use or any water production or transmission facilities owned by any county, municipality, or regional water supply authority. The district may exercise eminent domain powers outside of its district boundaries for the acquisition of pumpage facilities, storage areas, transmission facilities, and the normal appurtenances thereto, provided that at least 45 days prior to the exercise of eminent domain, the district notifies the district where the property is located after public notice and the district where the property is located does not object within 45 days after notification of such exercise of eminent domain authority.

(h)  In addition to the power to issue revenue bonds pursuant to s. 373.584, may issue revenue bonds for the purposes of paying the costs and expenses incurred in carrying out the purposes of this chapter or refunding obligations of the district issued pursuant to this section. Such revenue bonds shall be secured by, and be payable from, revenues derived from the operation, lease, or use of its water production and transmission facilities and other water-related facilities and from the sale of water or services relating thereto. Such revenue bonds may not be secured by, or be payable from, moneys derived by the district from the Water Management Lands Trust Fund or from ad valorem taxes received by the district. All provisions of s. 373.584 relating to the issuance of revenue bonds which are not inconsistent with this section shall apply to the issuance of revenue bonds pursuant to this section. The district may also issue bond anticipation notes in accordance with the provisions of s. 373.584.

(i)  May join with one or more other water management districts, counties, municipalities, special districts, publicly owned or privately owned water utilities, multijurisdictional water supply entities, or regional water supply authorities for the purpose of carrying out any of its powers, and may contract with such other entities to finance acquisitions, construction, operation, and maintenance. The contract may provide for contributions to be made by each party thereto, for the division and apportionment of the expenses of acquisitions, construction, operation, and maintenance, and for the division and apportionment of the benefits, services, and products therefrom. The contracts may contain other covenants and agreements necessary and appropriate to accomplish their purposes.

(2)  IDENTIFICATION OF WATER SUPPLY NEEDS IN DISTRICT BUDGET.--The water management district shall implement its responsibilities as expeditiously as possible in areas subject to regional water supply plans. Each district's governing board shall include in its annual budget the amount needed for the fiscal year to assist in implementing alternative water supply development projects.

(3)  FUNDING.--

(a)  The water management districts and the state shall share a percentage of revenues with water providers and users, including local governments, water, wastewater, and reuse utilities, municipal, special district, industrial, and agricultural water users, and other public and private water users, to be used to supplement other funding sources in the development of alternative water supplies.

(b)  Beginning in fiscal year 2005-2006, the state shall annually provide a portion of those revenues deposited into the Water Protection and Sustainability Program Trust Fund for the purpose of providing funding assistance for the development of alternative water supplies pursuant to the Water Protection and Sustainability Program. At the beginning of each fiscal year, beginning with fiscal year 2005-2006, such revenues shall be distributed by the department into the alternative water supply trust fund accounts created by each district for the purpose of alternative water supply development under the following funding formula:

1.  Thirty percent to the South Florida Water Management District;

2.  Twenty-five percent to the Southwest Florida Water Management District;

3.  Twenty-five percent to the St. Johns River Water Management District;

4.  Ten percent to the Suwannee River Water Management District; and

5.  Ten percent to the Northwest Florida Water Management District.

(c)  The financial assistance for alternative water supply projects allocated in each district's budget as required in s. 373.196(6) shall be combined with the state funds and used to assist in funding the project construction costs of alternative water supply projects selected by the governing board. If the district has not completed any regional water supply plan, or the regional water supply plan does not identify the need for any alternative water supply projects, funds deposited in that district's trust fund may be used for water resource development projects, including, but not limited to, springs protection.

(d)  All projects submitted to the governing board for consideration shall reflect the total capital cost for implementation. The costs shall be segregated pursuant to the categories described in the definition of capital costs.

(e)  Applicants for projects that may receive funding assistance pursuant to the Water Protection and Sustainability Program shall, at a minimum, be required to pay 60 percent of the project's construction costs. The water management districts may, at their discretion, totally or partially waive this requirement for projects sponsored by financially disadvantaged small local governments as defined in 1s. 403.885(5). The water management districts or basin boards may, at their discretion, use ad valorem or federal revenues to assist a project applicant in meeting the requirements of this paragraph.

(f)  The governing boards shall determine those projects that will be selected for financial assistance. The governing boards may establish factors to determine project funding; however, significant weight shall be given to the following factors:

1.  Whether the project provides substantial environmental benefits by preventing or limiting adverse water resource impacts.

2.  Whether the project reduces competition for water supplies.

3.  Whether the project brings about replacement of traditional sources in order to help implement a minimum flow or level or a reservation.

4.  Whether the project will be implemented by a consumptive use permittee that has achieved the targets contained in a goal-based water conservation program approved pursuant to s. 373.227.

5.  The quantity of water supplied by the project as compared to its cost.

6.  Projects in which the construction and delivery to end users of reuse water is a major component.

7.  Whether the project will be implemented by a multijurisdictional water supply entity or regional water supply authority.

8.  Whether the project implements reuse that assists in the elimination of domestic wastewater ocean outfalls as provided in s. 403.086(9).

(g)  Additional factors to be considered in determining project funding shall include:

1.  Whether the project is part of a plan to implement two or more alternative water supply projects, all of which will be operated to produce water at a uniform rate for the participants in a multijurisdictional water supply entity or regional water supply authority.

2.  The percentage of project costs to be funded by the water supplier or water user.

3.  Whether the project proposal includes sufficient preliminary planning and engineering to demonstrate that the project can reasonably be implemented within the timeframes provided in the regional water supply plan.

4.  Whether the project is a subsequent phase of an alternative water supply project that is underway.

5.  Whether and in what percentage a local government or local government utility is transferring water supply system revenues to the local government general fund in excess of reimbursements for services received from the general fund, including direct and indirect costs and legitimate payments in lieu of taxes.

(h)  After conducting one or more meetings to solicit public input on eligible projects including input from those entities identified pursuant to s. 373.036(2)(a)3.d. for implementation of alternative water supply projects, the governing board of each water management district shall select projects for funding assistance based upon the criteria set forth in paragraphs (f) and (g). The governing board may select a project identified or listed as an alternative water supply development project in the regional water supply plan, or allocate up to 20 percent of the funding for alternative water supply projects that are not identified or listed in the regional water supply plan but are consistent with the goals of the plan.

(i)  Without diminishing amounts available through other means described in this paragraph, the governing boards are encouraged to consider establishing revolving loan funds to expand the total funds available to accomplish the objectives of this section. A revolving loan fund created under this paragraph must be a nonlapsing fund from which the water management district may make loans with interest rates below prevailing market rates to public or private entities for the purposes described in this section. The governing board may adopt resolutions to establish revolving loan funds which must specify the details of the administration of the fund, the procedures for applying for loans from the fund, the criteria for awarding loans from the fund, the initial capitalization of the fund, and the goals for future capitalization of the fund in subsequent budget years. Revolving loan funds created under this paragraph must be used to expand the total sums and sources of cooperative funding available for the development of alternative water supplies. The Legislature does not intend for the creation of revolving loan funds to supplant or otherwise reduce existing sources or amounts of funds currently available through other means.

(j)  For each utility that receives financial assistance from the state or a water management district for an alternative water supply project, the water management district shall require the appropriate rate-setting authority to develop rate structures for water customers in the service area of the funded utility that will:

1.  Promote the conservation of water; and

2.  Promote the use of water from alternative water supplies.

(k)  The governing boards shall establish a process for the disbursal of revenues pursuant to this subsection.

(l)  All revenues made available pursuant to this subsection must be encumbered annually by the governing board when it approves projects sufficient to expend the available revenues.

(m)  This subsection is not subject to the rulemaking requirements of chapter 120.

(n)  By March 1 of each year, as part of the consolidated annual report required by s. 373.036(7), each water management district shall submit a report on the disbursal of all budgeted amounts pursuant to this section. Such report shall describe all alternative water supply projects funded as well as the quantity of new water to be created as a result of such projects and shall account separately for any other moneys provided through grants, matching grants, revolving loans, and the use of district lands or facilities to implement regional water supply plans.

(o)  The Florida Public Service Commission shall allow entities under its jurisdiction constructing or participating in constructing facilities that provide alternative water supplies to recover their full, prudently incurred cost of constructing such facilities through their rate structure. If construction of a facility or participation in construction is pursuant to or in furtherance of a regional water supply plan, the cost shall be deemed to be prudently incurred. Every component of an alternative water supply facility constructed by an investor-owned utility shall be recovered in current rates. Any state or water management district cost-share is not subject to the recovery provisions allowed in this paragraph.

(4)  FUNDING FOR REUSE.--Funding assistance provided by the water management districts for a water reuse system may include the following conditions for that project if a water management district determines that such conditions will encourage water use efficiency:

(a)  Metering of reclaimed water use for residential irrigation, agricultural irrigation, industrial uses, except for electric utilities as defined in s. 366.02(2), landscape irrigation, golf course irrigation, irrigation of other public access areas, commercial and institutional uses such as toilet flushing, and transfers to other reclaimed water utilities;

(b)  Implementation of reclaimed water rate structures based on actual use of reclaimed water for the reuse activities listed in paragraph (a);

(c)  Implementation of education programs to inform the public about water issues, water conservation, and the importance and proper use of reclaimed water; or

(d)  Development of location data for key reuse facilities.

(5)  FUNDING FOR ALTERNATIVE WATER SUPPLY.--Notwithstanding subsection (3), and for the 2008-2009 fiscal year only, $5,000,000 provided for alternative water supply shall be allocated as shown in the General Appropriations Act. This subsection expires July 1, 2009.

(6)  For the 2008-2009 fiscal year only, funds remaining to be distributed, after the distribution provided for in subsection (5), pursuant to paragraph (3)(b) shall be allocated as follows:

(a)  Fifty percent to the Northwest Florida Water Management District.

(b)  Fifty percent to the Suwannee River Water Management District.

History.--s. 2, ch. 74-114; s. 14, ch. 76-243; s. 7, ch. 82-101; s. 2, ch. 87-347; s. 7, ch. 95-323; s. 1, ch. 2001-256; s. 40, ch. 2002-296; s. 11, ch. 2004-381; s. 8, ch. 2005-36; s. 3, ch. 2005-291; s. 40, ch. 2006-1; s. 83, ch. 2008-4; s. 41, ch. 2008-153; s. 3, ch. 2008-232; s. 6, ch. 2009-2.

1Note.--Repealed by s. 73, ch. 2006-230.

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