Procedure for water use and impoundment construction permit applications

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373.116 Procedure for water use and impoundment construction permit applications.–

(1) Applications for water use permits, under part II of this chapter; for permits for construction or alteration of dams, impoundments, reservoirs, and appurtenant works, under part IV of this chapter; and for permits under s. 403.812 shall be filed with the water management district on appropriate forms provided by the governing board.

(2) Upon receipt of an application for a permit of the type referred to in subsection (1), the governing board shall cause a notice thereof to be published in a newspaper having general circulation within the affected area. In addition, the governing board shall send, by regular mail, a copy of such notice to any person who has filed a written request for notification of any pending applications affecting this particular designated area. Upon written request, notice of application for the consumptive use of water shall be mailed by regular mail to the county and appropriate city government from which boundaries the withdrawal is proposed to be made.

History.–s. 21, part I, ch. 72-299; s. 14, ch. 78-95; s. 73, ch. 83-310; s. 3, ch. 96-339.

373.117 Certification by professional engineer.–

(1) If an application for a permit or license to conduct an activity regulated under this chapter requires the services of a professional engineer as regulated and defined by chapter 471, the department or governing board of a water management district may require, as a condition of granting a permit or license, that a professional engineer licensed under chapter 471 certify upon completion of the permitted or licensed activity that such activity has been completed in substantial conformance with the plans and specifications approved by the department or board.

(2) The cost of such certification by a professional engineer shall be borne by the permittee.

(3) No permitted or licensed activity which is required to be so certified shall be placed into use or operation until the professional engineer’s certificate is filed with the department or board.

History.–s. 4, ch. 79-160.

373.118 General permits.–

(1) The governing board may adopt rules establishing a general permit system under this chapter for projects, or categories of projects, which have, either singly or cumulatively, a minimal adverse impact on the water resources of the district. Such rules shall specify design or performance criteria which, if applied, would result in compliance with the conditions for issuance of permits established in this chapter and district rules.

(2) A general permit system relating to water use may provide for the granting of permits for the use of water in specified amounts within identified areas of the district. General permits for water use shall be subject to all the provisions of part II except the provisions of s. 373.229.

(3) In lieu of the publication of notice requirements of ss. 373.116, 373.229, and 373.413, the governing board may establish alternative notice requirements for general permits, which requirements take into account the nature and scope of the projects permitted and the effect the proposed activity may have on other persons.

(4) To provide for greater efficiency, the governing board may delegate by rule its powers and duties pertaining to general permits to the executive director. The executive director may execute such delegated authority through designated staff. However, when delegating the authority to take final action on permit applications under part II or part IV or petitions for variances or waivers of permitting requirements under part II or part IV, the governing board shall provide a process for referring any denial of such application or petition to the governing board to take such final action.

History.–s. 1, ch. 83-169; s. 1, ch. 2000-319.

373.119 Administrative enforcement procedures; orders.–

(1) Whenever the executive director of a water management district has reason to believe that a violation of any provision of this chapter or any regulation promulgated thereunder or permits or order issued pursuant thereto has occurred, is occurring, or is about to occur, the executive director may cause a written complaint to be served upon the alleged violator or violators. The complaint shall specify the provision or provisions of this chapter or regulation or permit or order alleged to be violated or about to be violated and the facts alleged to constitute a violation thereof, and may order that necessary corrective action be taken within a reasonable time to be prescribed in such order. Any such order shall become final unless the person or persons named therein request by written petition a hearing no later than 14 days after the date such order is served.

(2) Whenever the executive director, with the concurrence and advice of the governing board, finds that an emergency exists requiring immediate action to protect the public health, safety, or welfare; the health of animals, fish or aquatic life; a public water supply; or recreational, commercial, industrial, agricultural or other reasonable uses, the executive director may, without prior notice, issue an order reciting the existence of such an emergency and requiring that such action be taken as the executive director deems necessary to meet the emergency.

(3) Any person to whom an emergency order is directed pursuant to subsection (2) shall comply therewith immediately, but on petition to the board shall be afforded a hearing as soon as possible.

History.–s. 22, part I, ch. 72-299; s. 14, ch. 78-95.

373.123 Penalty.–Any person, real or artificial, that shall construct or enlarge, or cause to be constructed or enlarged, a canal or shall enlarge or deepen a natural stream in such a manner as to permit salt water to move inland of an established saltwater barrier line, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.083. Each day such movement of salt water shall continue, shall constitute a separate offense of the provisions of this law.

History.–s. 3, ch. 63-210; s. 324, ch. 71-136; s. 25, ch. 73-190.

Note.–Former s. 373.195.

373.129 Maintenance of actions.–The department, the governing board of any water management district, any local board, or a local government to which authority has been delegated pursuant to s. 373.103(8), is authorized to commence and maintain proper and necessary actions and proceedings in any court of competent jurisdiction for any of the following purposes:

(1) To enforce rules, regulations, and orders adopted or issued pursuant to this law.

(2) To enjoin or abate violations of the provisions of this law or rules, regulations, and orders adopted pursuant hereto.

(3) To protect and preserve the water resources of the state.

(4) To defend all actions and proceedings involving its powers and duties pertaining to the water resources of the state.

(5) To recover a civil penalty for each offense in an amount not to exceed $10,000 per offense. Each date during which such violation occurs constitutes a separate offense.

(a) A civil penalty recovered pursuant to this subsection shall be deposited in the Water Management Lands Trust Fund established under s. 373.59 and used exclusively by the water management district that deposits the money into the fund. Any such civil penalty recovered after the expiration of such fund shall be deposited in the Ecosystem Management and Restoration Trust Fund and used exclusively within the water management district that deposits the money into the fund.

(b) A local government that is delegated authority pursuant to s. 373.103(8) may deposit a civil penalty recovered pursuant to this subsection into a local water pollution control program trust fund, notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (a). However, civil penalties that are deposited in a local water pollution control program trust fund and that are recovered for violations of state water quality standards may be used only to restore water quality in the area that was the subject of the action, and civil penalties that are deposited in a local water pollution control program trust fund and that are recovered for violation of requirements relating to water quantity may be used only to purchase lands and make capital improvements associated with surface water management, or other purposes consistent with the requirements of this chapter for the management and storage of surface water.

(6) To recover investigative costs, court costs, and reasonable attorney’s fees.

(7) Enforce the provisions of part IV of this chapter in the same manner and to the same extent as provided in ss. 373.430, 403.121(1) and (2), 403.131, 403.141, and 403.161.

History.–s. 16, ch. 57-380; s. 16, ch. 63-336; ss. 25, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 25, ch. 73-190; s. 42, ch. 79-65; s. 9, ch. 84-341; s. 2, ch. 91-231; s. 4, ch. 91-288; s. 27, ch. 93-213; s. 38, ch. 96-321.

Note.–Former s. 373.221.

373.136 Enforcement of regulations and orders.–

(1) The governing board may enforce its regulations and orders adopted pursuant to this chapter, by suit for injunction or other appropriate action in the courts of the state.

(2) The court may award to the prevailing party or parties reasonable attorney’s fees for services rendered in actions at law and all appellate proceedings resulting therefrom under the provisions of this chapter. In addition to the above, the court may award all costs and charges incident to such actions.

(3) Any action by a citizen of the state to seek judicial enforcement of any of the provisions of this chapter shall be governed by the Florida Environmental Protection Act, s. 403.412.

History.–s. 25, part I, ch. 72-299; s. 7, ch. 99-353.

373.139 Acquisition of real property.–

(1) The Legislature declares it to be necessary for the public health and welfare that water and water-related resources be conserved and protected. The acquisition of real property for this objective shall constitute a public purpose for which public funds may be expended.

(2) The governing board of the district is empowered and authorized to acquire in fee or less than fee title to real property, easements and other interests or rights therein, by purchase, gift, devise, lease, eminent domain, or otherwise for flood control, water storage, water management, conservation and protection of water resources, aquifer recharge, water resource and water supply development, and preservation of wetlands, streams, and lakes. Eminent domain powers may be used only for acquiring real property for flood control and water storage or for curing title defects or encumbrances to real property owned by the district or to be acquired by the district from a willing seller.

(3) The initial 5-year work plan and any subsequent modifications or additions thereto shall be adopted by each water management district after a public hearing. Each water management district shall provide at least 14 days’ advance notice of the hearing date and shall separately notify each county commission within which a proposed work plan project or project modification or addition is located of the hearing date.

(a) Appraisal reports, offers, and counteroffers are confidential and exempt from the provisions of s. 119.07(1) until an option contract is executed or, if no option contract is executed, until 30 days before a contract or agreement for purchase is considered for approval by the governing board. However, each district may, at its discretion, disclose appraisal reports to private landowners during negotiations for acquisitions using alternatives to fee simple techniques, if the district determines that disclosure of such reports will bring the proposed acquisition to closure. In the event that negotiation is terminated by the district, the title information, appraisal report, offers, and counteroffers shall become available pursuant to s. 119.07(1). Notwithstanding the provisions of this section and s. 259.041, a district and the Division of State Lands may share and disclose title information, appraisal reports, appraisal information, offers, and counteroffers when joint acquisition of property is contemplated. A district and the Division of State Lands shall maintain the confidentiality of such title information, appraisal reports, appraisal information, offers, and counteroffers in conformance with this section and s. 259.041, except in those cases in which a district and the division have exercised discretion to disclose such information. A district may disclose appraisal information, offers, and counteroffers to a third party who has entered into a contractual agreement with the district to work with or on the behalf of or to assist the district in connection with land acquisitions. The third party shall maintain the confidentiality of such information in conformance with this section. In addition, a district may use, as its own, appraisals obtained by a third party provided the appraiser is selected from the district’s list of approved appraisers and the appraisal is reviewed and approved by the district.

(b) The Secretary of Environmental Protection shall release moneys from the appropriate account or trust fund to a district for preacquisition costs within 30 days after receipt of a resolution adopted by the district’s governing board which identifies and justifies any such preacquisition costs necessary for the purchase of any lands listed in the district’s 5-year work plan. The district shall return to the department any funds not used for the purposes stated in the resolution, and the department shall deposit the unused funds into the appropriate account or trust fund.

(c) The Secretary of Environmental Protection shall release acquisition moneys from the appropriate account or trust fund to a district following receipt of a resolution adopted by the governing board identifying the lands being acquired and certifying that such acquisition is consistent with the 5-year work plan of acquisition and other provisions of this section. The governing board also shall provide to the Secretary of Environmental Protection a copy of all certified appraisals used to determine the value of the land to be purchased. Each parcel to be acquired must have at least one appraisal. Two appraisals are required when the estimated value of the parcel exceeds $500,000. However, when both appraisals exceed $500,000 and differ significantly, a third appraisal may be obtained. If the purchase price is greater than the appraisal price, the governing board shall submit written justification for the increased price. The Secretary of Environmental Protection may withhold moneys for any purchase that is not consistent with the 5-year plan or the intent of this section or that is in excess of appraised value. The governing board may appeal any denial to the Land and Water Adjudicatory Commission pursuant to s. 373.114.

(4) The governing board of the district may purchase tax certificates or tax deeds issued in accordance with chapter 197 relating to property eligible for purchase under this section.

(5) This section shall not limit the exercise of similar powers delegated by statute to any state or local governmental agency or other person.

(6) A district may dispose of land acquired under this section pursuant to s. 373.056 or s. 373.089. However, no such disposition of land shall be made if it would have the effect of causing all or any portion of the interest on any revenue bonds issued pursuant to s. 259.101 or s. 259.105 to fund the acquisition programs detailed in this section to lose the exclusion from gross income for purposes of federal income taxation. Revenue derived from such disposition may not be used for any purpose except the purchase of other lands meeting the criteria specified in this section or payment of debt service on revenue bonds or notes issued under s. 373.584.

(7) The districts have the authority to promulgate rules that include the specific process by which land is acquired; the selection and retention of outside appraisers, surveyors, and acquisition agents; and public notification. Rules adopted pursuant to this subsection shall be submitted to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, for review by the Legislature, no later than 30 days prior to the 2001 Regular Session and shall become effective only after legislative review. In its review, the Legislature may reject, modify, or take no action relative to such rules. The districts shall conform such rules to changes made by the Legislature, or, if no action was taken by the Legislature, such rules shall become effective.

History.–s. 26, part I, ch. 72-299; s. 1, ch. 72-318; s. 3, ch. 85-347; s. 7, ch. 86-294; s. 4, ch. 89-117; s. 5, ch. 91-288; s. 6, ch. 94-240; s. 16, ch. 96-389; s. 173, ch. 96-406; s. 12, ch. 97-160; s. 13, ch. 97-164; s. 33, ch. 99-247; s. 13, ch. 2000-170; s. 13, ch. 2001-256.

373.1391 Management of real property.–

(1)(a) Lands titled to the governing boards of the districts shall be managed and maintained, to the extent practicable, in such a way as to ensure a balance between public access, general public recreational purposes, and restoration and protection of their natural state and condition. Except when prohibited by a covenant or condition described in s. 373.056(2), lands owned, managed, and controlled by the district may be used for multiple purposes, including, but not limited to, agriculture, silviculture, and water supply, as well as boating and other recreational uses.

(b) Whenever practicable, such lands shall be open to the general public for recreational uses. General public recreational purposes shall include, but not be limited to, fishing, hunting, horseback riding, swimming, camping, hiking, canoeing, boating, diving, birding, sailing, jogging, and other related outdoor activities to the maximum extent possible considering the environmental sensitivity and suitability of those lands. These public lands shall be evaluated for their resource value for the purpose of establishing which parcels, in whole or in part, annually or seasonally, would be conducive to general public recreational purposes. Such findings shall be included in management plans which are developed for such public lands. These lands shall be made available to the public for these purposes, unless the district governing board can demonstrate that such activities would be incompatible with the purposes for which these lands were acquired.

(c) In developing or reviewing land management plans when a dispute arises that has not been resolved by a water management district’s final agency action, that dispute must be resolved under chapter 120.

(d) For any fee simple acquisition of a parcel which is or will be leased back for agricultural purposes, or for any acquisition of a less-than-fee interest in lands that is or will be used for agricultural purposes, the district governing board shall first consider having a soil and water conservation district created pursuant to chapter 582 manage and monitor such interest.

(2) Interests in real property acquired by the districts under this section with funds other than those appropriated under the Florida Forever Act may be used for permittable water resource development and water supply development purposes under the following conditions: the minimum flows and levels of priority water bodies on such lands have been established; the project complies with all conditions for issuance of a permit under part II of this chapter; and the project is compatible with the purposes for which the land was acquired.

(3) Each district is encouraged to use volunteers to provide land management and other services. Volunteers shall be covered by liability protection and workers’ compensation in the same manner as district employees, unless waived in writing by such volunteers or unless such volunteers otherwise provide equivalent insurance.

(4) Each water management district is authorized and encouraged to enter into cooperative land management agreements with state agencies or local governments to provide for the coordinated and cost-effective management of lands to which the water management districts, the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund, or local governments hold title. Any such cooperative land management agreement must be consistent with any applicable laws governing land use, management duties, and responsibilities and procedures of each cooperating entity. Each cooperating entity is authorized to expend such funds as are made available to it for land management on any such lands included in a cooperative land management agreement.

(5) The following additional uses of lands acquired pursuant to the Florida Forever program and other state-funded land purchase programs shall be authorized, upon a finding by the governing board, if they meet the criteria specified in paragraphs (a)-(e): water resource development projects, water supply development projects, stormwater management projects, linear facilities, and sustainable agriculture and forestry. Such additional uses are authorized where:

(a) Not inconsistent with the management plan for such lands;

(b) Compatible with the natural ecosystem and resource values of such lands;

(c) The proposed use is appropriately located on such lands and where due consideration is given to the use of other available lands;

(d) The using entity reasonably compensates the titleholder for such use based upon an appropriate measure of value; and

(e) The use is consistent with the public interest.

A decision by the governing board pursuant to this subsection shall be given a presumption of correctness. Moneys received from the use of state lands pursuant to this subsection shall be returned to the lead managing agency in accordance with the provisions of s. 373.59.

(6) The districts have the authority to adopt rules that specify: allowable activities on district-owned lands; the amount of fees, licenses, or other charges for users of district-owned lands; the application and reimbursement process for payments in lieu of taxes; the use of volunteers for management activities; and the processes related to entering into or severing cooperative land management agreements. Rules promulgated pursuant to the subsection shall become effective only after submitted to the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives for review by the Legislature not later than 30 days prior to the next regular session. In its review, the Legislature may reject, modify, or take no action relative to such rules. The districts shall conform such rules to changes made by the Legislature, or, if no action is taken, such rules shall become effective.

History.–s. 34, ch. 99-247; s. 14, ch. 2000-170.

373.1395 Limitation on liability of water management district with respect to areas made available to the public for recreational purposes without charge.–

(1) The purpose of this section is to encourage water management districts to make available land, water areas, and park areas to the public for outdoor recreational purposes by limiting their liability to persons going thereon and to third persons who may be damaged by the acts or omissions of persons going thereon.

(2) Except as provided in subsection (4), a water management district that provides the public with a park area or other land for outdoor recreational purposes, or allows access over district lands for recreational purposes, owes no duty of care to keep that park area or land safe for entry or use by others or to give warning to persons entering or going on that park area or land of any hazardous conditions, structures, or activities thereon. A water management district that provides the public with a park area or other land for outdoor recreational purposes does not, by providing that park area or land, extend any assurance that such park area or land is safe for any purpose, does not incur any duty of care toward a person who goes on that park area or land, and is not responsible for any injury to persons or property caused by an act or omission of a person who goes on that park area or land. This subsection does not apply if there is any charge made or usually made for entering or using the park area or land, or if any commercial or other activity from which profit is derived from the patronage of the public is conducted on such park area or land or any part thereof.

(3)(a) Except as provided in subsection (4), a water management district that leases any land or water area to the state for outdoor recreational purposes, or for access to outdoor recreational purposes, owes no duty of care to keep that land or water area safe for entry or use by others or to give warning to persons entering or going on that land or water of any hazardous conditions, structures, or activities thereon. A water management district that leases a land or water area to the state for outdoor recreational purposes does not, by giving such lease, extend any assurance that such land or water area is safe for any purpose, incur any duty of care toward a person who goes on the leased land or water area, and is not responsible for any injury to persons or property caused by an act or omission of a person who goes on the leased land or water area.

(b) This subsection applies to any person going on the leased land or water area whether the person goes as an invitee, licensee, trespasser, or otherwise.

(4) This section does not relieve any water management district of any liability that would otherwise exist for gross negligence or a deliberate, willful, or malicious injury to a person or property. This section does not create or increase the liability of any water management district or person beyond that which is authorized by s. 768.28.

(5) The term “outdoor recreational purposes,” as used in this section, includes activities such as, but not limited to, horseback riding, hunting, fishing, bicycling, swimming, boating, camping, picnicking, hiking, pleasure driving, nature study, water skiing, motorcycling, and visiting historical, archaeological, scenic, or scientific sites.

History.–s. 12, ch. 92-288; s. 1, ch. 94-144; s. 7, ch. 94-240; s. 1007, ch. 95-148.

373.1401 Management of lands of water management districts.–In addition to provisions contained in s. 373.1391(1) for soil and water conservation districts, the governing board of each water management district may contract with a nongovernmental person or entity, any federal or state agency, a county, a municipality, or any other governmental entity, or environmental nonprofit organization to provide for the improvement, management, or maintenance of any real property owned by or under the control of the district.

History.–s. 6, ch. 91-288; s. 14, ch. 2001-256.

373.145 Information program regarding hydrologic conditioning and consumption of major surface and groundwater sources.–In order to aid in the development of a better understanding of the unique surface and groundwater resources of this state, the water management districts shall develop an information program designed to provide information concerning existing hydrologic conditions of major surface and groundwater sources in this state and suggestions for good conservation practices within those areas. The program shall be developed by December 31, 2002. Beginning January 1, 2003, and on a regular basis no less than every 6 months thereafter, the information developed pursuant to this section shall be distributed to every member of the Florida Senate and the Florida House of Representatives and to local print and broadcast news organizations. Each water management district shall be responsible for the distribution of this information within its established geographic area.

History.–s. 38, ch. 2002-296.

373.146 Publication of notices, process, and papers.–

(1) Whenever in this chapter the publication of any notice, process, or paper is required or provided for, unless otherwise provided by law, the publication thereof in some newspaper or newspapers as defined in chapter 50 having general circulation within the area to be affected shall be taken and considered as being sufficient.

(2) Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, and except in the case of emergency meetings, water management districts may provide reasonable notice of public meetings held to evaluate responses to solicitations issued by the water management district, by publication in a newspaper of general paid circulation in the county where the principal office of the water management district is located, or in the county or counties where the public work will be performed, no less than 7 days before such meeting.

History.–s. 44, ch. 25209, 1949; s. 27, part I, ch. 72-299; s. 25, ch. 73-190; s. 14, ch. 78-95; s. 35, ch. 99-247.

Note.–Former s. 378.44.

373.149 Existing districts preserved.–The enactment of this act shall not affect the existence of the Central and Southern Florida Flood Control District created by chapter 25270, 1949, Laws of Florida, or the Southwest Florida Water Management District, created by chapter 61-691, Laws of Florida, or any contract or obligation of such districts entered into prior to the effective date of this act. The two districts shall continue to exercise the taxing powers authorized to them in the territories within their respective boundaries, except that nothing herein shall limit the department in considering and recommending to the 1973 session of the Legislature changes in the boundaries and transfers of funds, appropriations, personnel, property, or equipment between or among the existing districts and districts created by this chapter. The two districts shall continue to exercise the powers presently authorized by chapter 378 and this chapter, notwithstanding provisions contained to the contrary in this chapter, until any such powers shall be specifically revoked or modified by the department pursuant to this chapter, except that the provisions of s. 373.139 relating to acquisition of real property shall apply.

History.–s. 28, part I, ch. 72-299.

373.1501 South Florida Water Management District as local sponsor.–

(1) As used in this section and s. 373.026(8), the term:

(a) “C-111 Project” means the project identified in the Central and Southern Florida Flood Control Project, Real Estate Design Memorandum, Canal 111, South Dade County, Florida.

(b) “Department” means the Department of Environmental Protection.

(c) “District” means the South Florida Water Management District.

(d) “Kissimmee River Restoration Project” means the project identified in the Project Cooperation Agreement between the United States Department of the Army and the South Florida Water Management District dated March 22, 1994.

(e) “Pal-Mar Project” means the Pal-Mar (West Jupiter Wetlands) lands identified in the Save Our Rivers 2000 Land Acquisition and Management Plan approved by the South Florida Water Management District on September 9, 1999 (Resolution 99-94).

(f) “Project” means the Central and Southern Florida Project.

(g) “Project component” means any structural or operational change, resulting from the restudy, to the Central and Southern Florida Project as it existed and was operated as of January 1, 1999.

(h) “Restudy” means the Comprehensive Review Study of the Central and Southern Florida Project, for which federal participation was authorized by the federal Water Resources Development Acts of 1992 and 1996 together with related Congressional resolutions and for which participation by the South Florida Water Management District is authorized by this section. The term includes all actions undertaken pursuant to the aforementioned authorizations which will result in recommendations for modifications or additions to the Central and Southern Florida Project.

(i) “Southern Corkscrew Regional Ecosystem Watershed Project” means the area described in the Critical Restoration Project Contract C-9906 Southern Corkscrew Regional Ecosystem Watershed Project Addition/Imperial River Flowway and approved by the South Florida Water Management District on August 12, 1999.

(j) “Water Preserve Areas” means those areas located only within Palm Beach and Broward counties that are designated as Water Preserve Areas, as approved by the South Florida Water Management District Governing Board on September 11, 1997, and shall also include all of those lands within Cell II of the East Coast Buffer in Broward County as delineated in the boundary survey prepared by Stoner and Associates, Inc., dated January 31, 2000, SWFWMD #10953.

(k) “Ten Mile Creek Project” means the Ten Mile Creek Water Preserve Area identified in the Central and Southern Florida Ecosystem Critical Project Letter Report dated April 13, 1998.

(2) The Legislature finds that the restudy is important for restoring the Everglades ecosystem and sustaining the environment, economy, and social well-being of South Florida. It is the intent of the Legislature to facilitate and support the restudy through a process concurrent with Federal Government review and Congressional authorization. Nothing in this section is intended in any way to limit federal agencies or Congress in the exercise of their duties and responsibilities. It is further the intent of the Legislature that all project components be implemented through the appropriate processes of this chapter and be consistent with the balanced policies and purposes of this chapter, specifically s. 373.016.

(3) The Legislature declares that the Kissimmee River Project, the Ten Mile Creek Project, the Water Preserve Areas, the Southern Corkscrew Regional Ecosystem Watershed Project, the Pal-Mar Project, and the C-111 Project are in the public interest, for a public purpose, and necessary for the public health and welfare. The governing board of the district is empowered and authorized to acquire fee title or easement by eminent domain for the limited purposes of implementing the Kissimmee River Project, the Ten Mile Creek Project, the Water Preserve Areas, the Southern Corkscrew Regional Ecosystem Watershed Project, the Pal-Mar Project, and the C-111 Project. Any acquisition of real property, including by eminent domain, for those objectives constitutes a public purpose for which it is in the public interest to expend public funds. Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, such properties shall not be removed from the district’s plan of acquisition, and the use of state funds for these properties is authorized. In the absence of willing sellers, any land necessary for implementing the projects in this subsection shall be acquired in accordance with state condemnation law pursuant to chapters 73 and 74.

(4) The district is authorized to act as local sponsor of the project for those project features within the district as provided in this subsection and subject to the oversight of the department as further provided in s. 373.026. The district may:

(a) Act as local sponsor for all project features previously authorized by Congress;

(b) Continue data gathering, analysis, research, and design of project components, participate in preconstruction engineering and design documents for project components, and further refine the Comprehensive Plan of the restudy as a guide and framework for identifying other project components;

(c) Construct pilot projects that will assist in determining the feasibility of technology included in the Comprehensive Plan of the restudy; and

(d) Act as local sponsor for project components.

(5) In its role as local sponsor for the project, the district shall comply with its responsibilities under this chapter and implement project components through appropriate provisions of this chapter. In the development of project components, the district shall:

(a) Analyze and evaluate all needs to be met in a comprehensive manner and consider all applicable water resource issues, including water supply, water quality, flood protection, threatened and endangered species, and other natural system and habitat needs;

(b) Determine with reasonable certainty that all project components are feasible based upon standard engineering practices and technologies and are the most efficient and cost-effective of feasible alternatives or combination of alternatives, consistent with restudy purposes, implementation of project components, and operation of the project;

(c) Determine with reasonable certainty that all project components are consistent with applicable law and regulations, and can be permitted and operated as proposed. For purposes of such determination:

1. The district shall convene a preapplication conference with all state and federal agencies with applicable regulatory jurisdiction;

2. State agencies with applicable regulatory jurisdiction shall participate in the preapplication conference and provide information necessary for the district’s determination; and

3. The district shall request that federal agencies with applicable regulatory jurisdiction participate in the preapplication conference and provide information necessary for the district’s determination;

(d) Consistent with this chapter, the purposes for the restudy provided in the Water Resources Development Act of 1996, and other applicable federal law, provide reasonable assurances that the quantity of water available to existing legal users shall not be diminished by implementation of project components so as to adversely impact existing legal users, that existing levels of service for flood protection will not be diminished outside the geographic area of the project component, and that water management practices will continue to adapt to meet the needs of the restored natural environment.

(e) Ensure that implementation of project components is coordinated with existing utilities and public infrastructure and that impacts to and relocation of existing utility or public infrastructure are minimized.

(6) The department and the district shall expeditiously pursue implementation of project modifications previously authorized by Congress or the Legislature, including the Everglades Construction Project. Project components should complement and should not delay project modifications previously authorized.

(7) Notwithstanding any provision of this section, nothing herein shall be construed to modify or supplant the authority of the district or the department to prevent harm to the water resources as provided in this chapter.

(8) Final agency action with regard to any project component subject to s. 373.026(8)(b) shall be taken by the department. Actions taken by the district pursuant to subsection (5) shall not be considered final agency action. Any petition for formal proceedings filed pursuant to ss. 120.569 and 120.57 shall require a hearing under the summary hearing provisions of s. 120.574, which shall be mandatory. The final hearing under this section shall be held within 30 days after receipt of the petition by the Division of Administrative Hearings.

History.–s. 1, ch. 99-143; s. 15, ch. 2000-170.

373.1502 Regulation of comprehensive plan project components.–

(1) SHORT TITLE.–This section may be cited as the “Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan Regulation Act.”

(2) FINDINGS; INTENT.–

(a) The Legislature finds that implementation of the comprehensive plan, as defined in s. 373.470(2)(a), is in the public interest and is necessary for restoring, preserving, and protecting the South Florida ecosystem, providing for the protection of water quality in and the reduction of the loss of fresh water from the Everglades, and providing such features as are necessary to meet the other water-related needs of the region, including flood control, the enhancement of water supplies, and other objectives served by the project.

(b) The Legislature intends to provide efficient and effective permitting of project components, taking into account all other statutory responsibilities the department and the South Florida Water Management District are required to consider.

(3) REGULATION OF COMPREHENSIVE PLAN STRUCTURES AND FACILITIES.–

(a) This subsection applies to all project components, as defined in s. 373.1501, identified in the comprehensive plan unless the project component is otherwise subject to s. 373.4592, s. 373.4595, or the department’s rules on reuse of reclaimed water. Permits issued under this subsection are in lieu of all other permits required under this chapter or chapter 403, except for permits issued under any delegated or approved federal program.

(b) The department shall issue a permit for a term of 5 years for the construction, operation, modification, or maintenance of a project component based on the criteria set forth in this section. If the department is the entity responsible for the construction, operation, modification, or maintenance of any individual project component, the district shall issue a permit for a term of 5 years based on the criteria set forth in this section. The permit application must provide reasonable assurances that:

1. The project component will achieve the design objectives set forth in the detailed design documents submitted as part of the application.

2. State water quality standards will be met to the maximum extent practicable. Under no circumstances shall the project component cause or contribute to violation of state water quality standards.

3. Discharges from the project component will not pose a serious danger to public health, safety, or welfare.

4. Any impacts to wetlands or threatened or endangered species resulting from implementation of the project component will be avoided, minimized, and mitigated, as appropriate.

(c) Construction activities for comprehensive plan project components may be initiated upon submission of a permit application and completion of the department’s approval under s. 373.1501, but before final agency action or notice of intended agency action. However, a permit must be obtained before the commencement or modification of operation.

(d) Permits issued under this subsection must contain reasonable conditions to ensure that water quality resulting from construction and operation of project components is adequately and accurately monitored.

(e) Permits issued under this subsection may:

1. Authorize construction, operation, modification, and maintenance of individual or multiple project components under a single permit;

2. Include any standard conditions provided by department rule which are appropriate and consistent with this subsection; or

3. Establish reporting requirements that are consolidated with other reports if all reporting requirements are met.

(f) The permitting entity shall require a processing fee in an amount sufficient to cover the costs of reviewing and acting upon any application for a permit under this section and to cover the costs of surveillance associated with any permit issued under this section.

(g) At least 60 days before the expiration of any permit issued under this subsection, the permittee may apply for a renewal for a term of 5 years. Such submittals are considered timely and sufficient under s. 120.60(4). Permits issued under this subsection may be modified upon review and approval by the department or district, as appropriate.

(h) Project components that would otherwise qualify as exempt pursuant to s. 373.406 shall not need permits under this section.

History.–s. 2, ch. 2001-172; s. 7, ch. 2002-261.

373.171 Rules.–

(1) In order to obtain the most beneficial use of the water resources of the state and to protect the public health, safety, and welfare and the interests of the water users affected, governing boards, by action not inconsistent with the other provisions of this law and without impairing property rights, may:

(a) Adopt rules or issue orders affecting the use of water, as conditions warrant, and forbidding the construction of new diversion facilities or wells, the initiation of new water uses, or the modification of any existing uses, diversion facilities, or storage facilities within the affected area.

(b) Regulate the use of water within the affected area by apportioning, limiting, or rotating uses of water or by preventing those uses which the governing board finds have ceased to be reasonable or beneficial.

(c) Issue orders and adopt rules pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 to implement the provisions of this chapter.

(2) In adopting rules and issuing orders under this law, the governing board shall act with a view to full protection of the existing rights to water in this state insofar as is consistent with the purpose of this law.

(3) No rule or order shall require any modification of existing use or disposition of water in the district unless it is shown that the use or disposition proposed to be modified is detrimental to other water users or to the water resources of the state.

(4) All rules adopted by the governing board shall be filed with the Department of State as provided in chapter 120. An information copy will be filed with the Department of Environmental Protection.

History.–s. 11, ch. 57-380; s. 8, ch. 63-336; ss. 10, 25, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 8, ch. 76-243; s. 1, ch. 77-117; s. 14, ch. 78-95; s. 256, ch. 94-356; s. 84, ch. 98-200.

373.1725 Notice of intent by publication.–In addition to rulemaking procedures required pursuant to chapter 120, the water management districts, when proposing to adopt, amend, or repeal any rule, shall provide notice of intent by publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the affected area. The publication notice shall summarize the proposed rule and shall occur at least 14 days prior to the intended action.

History.–s. 12, ch. 91-288.

373.175 Declaration of water shortage; emergency orders.–

(1) The governing board of the district may by order declare that a water shortage exists within all or part of the district when insufficient ground or surface water is available to meet the needs of the users or when conditions are such as to require temporary reduction in total use within the area to protect water resources from serious harm.

(2) The governing board may impose such restrictions on one or more users of the water resource as may be necessary to protect the water resources of the area from serious harm.

(3) When a water shortage is declared, the governing board shall cause notice thereof to be published in a prominent place within a newspaper of general circulation throughout the area. Publication of such notice shall serve as notice to all users in the area of the condition of water shortage.

(4) If an emergency condition exists due to a water shortage within any area of the district and the executive director of the district, with the concurrence of the governing board, finds that the exercise of powers under this section is not sufficient to protect the public health, safety, or welfare, the health of animals, fish, or aquatic life, a public water supply, or recreational, commercial, industrial, agricultural, or other reasonable uses, the executive director may, pursuant to the provisions of chapter 120, issue emergency orders reciting the existence of such an emergency and requiring that such action, including, but not limited to, apportioning, rotating, limiting, or prohibiting the use of the water resources of the district, be taken as the executive director, with the concurrence of the governing board, deems necessary to meet the emergency.

History.–s. 1, ch. 72-730; s. 25, ch. 73-190; s. 1, ch. 73-295; s. 14, ch. 78-95; s. 35, ch. 83-218; s. 597, ch. 95-148.

Note.–Former s. 378.152.

373.185 Local Xeriscape ordinances.–

(1) As used in this section, the term:

(a) “Local government” means any county or municipality of the state.

(b) “Xeriscape” or “Florida-friendly landscape” means quality landscapes that conserve water and protect the environment and are adaptable to local conditions and which are drought tolerant. The principles of Xeriscape include planning and design, appropriate choice of plants, soil analysis which may include the use of solid waste compost, efficient irrigation, practical use of turf, appropriate use of mulches, and proper maintenance.

(2) Each water management district shall design and implement an incentive program to encourage all local governments within its district to adopt new ordinances or amend existing ordinances to require Xeriscape landscaping for development permitted after the effective date of the new ordinance or amendment. Each district shall adopt rules governing the implementation of its incentive program and governing the review and approval of local government Xeriscape ordinances or amendments which are intended to qualify a local government for the incentive program. Each district shall assist the local governments within its jurisdiction by providing a model Xeriscape code and other technical assistance. A local government Xeriscape ordinance or amendment, in order to qualify the local government for a district’s incentive program, must include, at a minimum:

(a) Landscape design, installation, and maintenance standards that result in water conservation. Such standards shall address the use of plant groupings, soil analysis including the promotion of the use of solid waste compost, efficient irrigation systems, and other water-conserving practices.

(b) Identification of prohibited invasive exotic plant species.

(c) Identification of controlled plant species, accompanied by the conditions under which such plants may be used.

(d) A provision specifying the maximum percentage of turf and the maximum percentage of impervious surfaces allowed in a xeriscaped area and addressing the practical selection and installation of turf.

(e) Specific standards for land clearing and requirements for the preservation of existing native vegetation.

(f) A monitoring program for ordinance implementation and compliance.

The districts also shall work with local governments to promote, through educational programs and publications, the use of Xeriscape practices, including the use of solid waste compost, in existing residential and commercial development. This section may not be construed to limit the authority of the districts to require Xeriscape ordinances or practices as a condition of any consumptive use permit.

(3) A deed restriction or covenant entered after October 1, 2001, or local government ordinance may not prohibit any property owner from implementing Xeriscape or Florida-friendly landscape on his or her land.

History.–s. 3, ch. 91-41; s. 3, ch. 91-68; s. 7, ch. 2001-252.

373.196 Legislative findings.–

(1) It is the finding of the Legislature that cooperative efforts between municipalities, counties, 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 which will supply adequate and dependable supplies of water where needed without resulting in adverse effects upon the areas from whence such water is withdrawn. Such efforts should utilize all practical means of obtaining water, including, but not limited to, withdrawals of surface water and groundwater, recycling of waste water, and desalinization, and will necessitate not only cooperation but also well-coordinated activities. The purpose of this act is to provide additional statutory authority for such cooperative and coordinated efforts.

(2) Municipalities and counties are encouraged to create regional water supply authorities as authorized herein. It is further the intent that municipalities, counties, and regional water supply authorities are to have the primary responsibility for water supply, and water management districts and their basin boards are to engage only in those functions that are incidental to the exercise of their flood control and water management powers or that are related to water resource development pursuant to s. 373.0831.

(3) Nothing herein shall be construed to preclude the various municipalities and counties from continuing to operate existing water production and transmission facilities or to enter into cooperative agreements with other municipalities and counties for the purpose of meeting their respective needs for dependable and adequate supplies of water, provided the obtaining of water through such operations shall not be done in a manner which results in adverse effects upon the areas from whence such water is withdrawn.

History.–s. 1, ch. 74-114; s. 43, ch. 79-65; s. 257, ch. 94-356; s. 2, ch. 98-88.

373.1961 Water production.–

(1) 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, private utilities, 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, regional water supply authorities are regional water authorities created under s. 373.1962 or other laws of this state.

(b) Shall assist counties, municipalities, private utilities, or 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, private utilities, 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 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. 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, private utilities, 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) The Legislature finds that, due to a combination of factors, vastly increased demands have been placed on natural supplies of fresh water, and that, absent increased development of alternative water supplies, such demands may increase in the future. The Legislature also finds that potential exists in the state for the production of significant quantities of alternative water supplies, including reclaimed water, and that water production includes the development of alternative water supplies, including reclaimed water, for appropriate uses. It is the intent of the Legislature that utilities develop reclaimed water systems, where reclaimed water is the most appropriate alternative water supply option, to deliver reclaimed water to as many users as possible through the most cost-effective means, and to construct reclaimed water system infrastructure to their owned or operated properties and facilities where they have reclamation capability. It is also the intent of the Legislature that the water management districts which levy ad valorem taxes for water management purposes should share a percentage of those tax revenues with water providers and users, including local governments, water, wastewater, and reuse utilities, municipal, 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. The Legislature finds that public moneys or services provided to private entities for such uses constitute public purposes which are in the public interest. In order to further the development and use of alternative water supply systems, including reclaimed water systems, the Legislature provides the following:

(a) The governing boards of the water management districts where water resource caution areas have been designated shall include in their annual budgets an amount for the development of alternative water supply systems, including reclaimed water systems, pursuant to the requirements of this subsection. Beginning in 1996, such amounts shall be made available to water providers and users no later than December 31 of each year, through grants, matching grants, revolving loans, or the use of district lands or facilities pursuant to the requirements of this subsection and guidelines established by the districts.

(b) It is the intent of the Legislature that for each reclaimed water utility, or any other utility, which receives funds pursuant to this subsection, the appropriate rate-setting authorities should develop rate structures for all water, wastewater, and reclaimed water and other alternative water supply utilities in the service area of the funded utility, which accomplish the following:

1. Provide meaningful progress toward the development and implementation of alternative water supply systems, including reclaimed water systems;

2. Promote the conservation of fresh water withdrawn from natural systems;

3. Provide for an appropriate distribution of costs for all water, wastewater, and alternative water supply utilities, including reclaimed water utilities, among all of the users of those utilities; and

4. Prohibit rate discrimination within classes of utility users.

(c) In order to be eligible for funding pursuant to this subsection, a project must be consistent with a local government comprehensive plan and the governing body of the local government must require all appropriate new facilities within the project’s service area to connect to and use the project’s alternative water supplies. The appropriate local government must provide written notification to the appropriate district that the proposed project is consistent with the local government comprehensive plan.

(d) Any and all revenues disbursed pursuant to this subsection shall be applied only for the payment of capital or infrastructure costs for the construction of alternative water supply systems that provide alternative water supplies.

(e) By January 1 of each year, the governing boards shall make available written guidelines for the disbursal of revenues pursuant to this subsection. Such guidelines shall include at minimum:

1. An application process and a deadline for filing applications annually.

2. A process for determining project eligibility pursuant to the requirements of paragraphs (c) and (d).

3. A process and criteria for funding projects pursuant to this subsection that cross district boundaries or that serve more than one district.

(f) The governing board of each water management district shall establish an alternative water supplies grants advisory committee to recommend to the governing board projects for funding pursuant to this subsection. The advisory committee members shall include, but not be limited to, one or more representatives of county, municipal, and investor-owned private utilities, and may include, but not be limited to, representatives of agricultural interests and environmental interests. Each committee member shall represent his or her interest group as a whole and shall not represent any specific entity. The committee shall apply the guidelines and project eligibility criteria established by the governing board in reviewing proposed projects. After one or more hearings to solicit public input on eligible projects, the committee shall rank the eligible projects and shall submit them to the governing board for final funding approval. The advisory committee may submit to the governing board more projects than the available grant money would fund.

(g) All revenues made available annually pursuant to this subsection must be encumbered annually by the governing board if it approves projects sufficient to expend the available revenues. Funds must be disbursed within 36 months after encumbrance.

(h) For purposes of this subsection, alternative water supplies are supplies of water that have been reclaimed after one or more public supply, municipal, industrial, commercial, or agricultural uses, or are supplies of stormwater, or brackish or salt water, that have been treated in accordance with applicable rules and standards sufficient to supply the intended use.

(i) This subsection shall not be subject to the rulemaking requirements of chapter 120.

(j) By January 30 of each year, each water management district shall submit an annual report to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives which accounts for the disbursal of all budgeted amounts pursuant to this subsection. Such report shall describe all projects funded and shall account separately for moneys provided through grants, matching grants, revolving loans, and the use of district lands or facilities.

(k) The Florida Public Service Commission shall allow entities under its jurisdiction constructing alternative water supply facilities, including but not limited to aquifer storage and recovery wells, to recover the full, prudently incurred cost of such facilities through their rate structure. Every component of an alternative water supply facility constructed by an investor-owned utility shall be recovered in current rates.

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.

373.1962 Regional water supply authorities.–

(1) By agreement between local governmental units created or existing pursuant to the provisions of Art. VIII of the State Constitution, pursuant to the Florida Interlocal Cooperation Act of 1969, s. 163.01, and upon the approval of the Secretary of Environmental Protection to ensure that such agreement will be in the public interest and complies with the intent and purposes of this act, regional water supply authorities may be created for the purpose of developing, recovering, storing, and supplying water for county or municipal purposes in such a manner as will give priority to reducing adverse environmental effects of excessive or improper withdrawals of water from concentrated areas. In approving said agreement the Secretary of Environmental Protection shall consider, but not be limited to, the following:

(a) Whether the geographic territory of the proposed authority is of sufficient size and character to reduce the environmental effects of improper or excessive withdrawals of water from concentrated areas.

(b) The maximization of economic development of the water resources within the territory of the proposed authority.

(c) The availability of a dependable and adequate water supply.

(d) The ability of any proposed authority to design, construct, operate, and maintain water supply facilities in the locations, and at the times necessary, to ensure that an adequate water supply will be available to all citizens within the authority.

(e) The effect or impact of any proposed authority on any municipality, county, or existing authority or authorities.

(f) The existing needs of the water users within the area of the authority.

(2) In addition to other powers and duties agreed upon, and notwithstanding the provisions of s. 163.01, such authority may:

(a) Upon approval of the electors residing in each county or municipality within the territory to be included in any authority, levy ad valorem taxes, not to exceed 0.5 mill, pursuant to s. 9(b), Art. VII of the State Constitution. No tax authorized by this paragraph shall be levied in any county or municipality without an affirmative vote of the electors residing in such county or municipality.

(b) Acquire water and water rights; develop, store, and transport water; provide, sell and deliver water for county or municipal uses and purposes; provide for the furnishing of such water and water service upon terms and conditions and at rates which will apportion to parties and nonparties an equitable share of the capital cost and operating expense of the authority’s work to the purchaser.

(c) Collect, treat, and recover wastewater.

(d) Not engage in local distribution.

(e) Exercise the power of eminent domain in the manner provided by law for the condemnation of private property for public use to acquire title to such interest in real property as is necessary to the exercise of the powers herein granted, except water and water rights already devoted to reasonable and beneficial use or any water production or transmission facilities owned by any county or municipality.

(f) Issue revenue bonds in the manner prescribed by the Revenue Bond Act of 1953, as amended, part I, chapter 159, to be payable solely from funds derived from the sale of water by the authority to any county or municipality. Such bonds may be additionally secured by the full faith and credit of any county or municipality, as provided by s. 159.16 or by a pledge of excise taxes, as provided by s. 159.19. For the purpose of issuing revenue bonds, an authority shall be considered a “unit” as defined in s. 159.02(2) and as that term is used in the Revenue Bond Act of 1953, as amended. Such bonds may be issued to finance the cost of acquiring properties and facilities for the production and transmission of water by the authority to any county or municipality, which cost shall include the acquisition of real property and easements therein for such purposes. Such bonds may be in the form of refunding bonds to take up any outstanding bonds of the authority or of any county or municipality where such outstanding bonds are secured by properties and facilities for production and transmission of water, which properties and facilities are being acquired by the authority. Refunding bonds may be issued to take up and refund all outstanding bonds of said authority that are subject to call and termination, and all bonds of said authority that are not subject to call or redemption, when the surrender of said bonds can be procured from the holder thereof at prices satisfactory to the authority. Such refunding bonds may be issued at any time when, in the judgment of the authority, it will be to the best interest of the authority financially or economically by securing a lower rate of interest on said bonds or by extending the time of maturity of said bonds or, for any other reason, in the judgment of the authority, advantageous to said authority.

(g) Sue and be sued in its own name.

(h) Borrow money and incur indebtedness and issue bonds or other evidence of such indebtedness.

(i) Join with one or more other public corporations for the purpose of carrying out any of its powers and for that purpose to contract with such other public corporation or corporations for the purpose of financing such acquisitions, construction, and operations. Such contracts may provide for contributions to be made by each party thereto, for the division and apportionment of the expenses of such acquisitions and operations, and for the division and apportionment of the benefits, services, and products therefrom. Such contract may contain such other and further covenants and agreements as may be necessary and convenient to accomplish the purposes hereof.

(3) A regional water supply authority is authorized to develop, construct, operate, maintain, or contract for alternative sources of potable water, including desalinated water, and pipelines to interconnect authority sources and facilities, either by itself or jointly with a water management district; however, such alternative potable water sources, facilities, and pipelines may also be privately developed, constructed, owned, operated, and maintained, in which event an authority and a water management district are authorized to pledge and contribute their funds to reduce the wholesale cost of water from such alternative sources of potable water supplied by an authority to its member governments.

(4) When it is found to be in the public interest, for the public convenience and welfare, for a public benefit, and necessary for carrying out the purpose of any regional water supply authority, any state agency, county, water control district existing pursuant to chapter 298, water management district existing pursuant to this chapter, municipality, governmental agency, or public corporation in this state holding title to any interest in land is hereby authorized, in its discretion, to convey the title to or dedicate land, title to which is in such entity, including tax-reverted land, or to grant use-rights therein, to any regional water supply authority created pursuant to this section. Land granted or conveyed to such authority shall be for the public purposes of such authority and may be made subject to the condition that in the event said land is not so used, or if used and subsequently its use for said purpose is abandoned, the interest granted shall cease as to such authority and shall automatically revert to the granting entity.

(5) Each county or municipality which is a party to an agreement pursuant to subsection (1) shall have a preferential right to purchase water from the regional water supply authority for use by such county or municipality.

(6) In carrying out the provisions of this section, any county wherein water is withdrawn by the authority shall not be deprived, directly or indirectly, of the prior right to the reasonable and beneficial use of water which is required adequately to supply the reasonable and beneficial needs of the county or any of the inhabitants or property owners therein.

(7) Upon a resolution adopted by the governing body of any county or municipality, the authority may, subject to a majority vote of its voting members, include such county or municipality in its regional water supply authority upon such terms and conditions as may be prescribed.

(8) The authority shall design, construct, operate, and maintain facilities in the locations and at the times necessary to ensure that an adequate water supply will be available to all citizens within the authority.

(9) Where a water supply authority exists pursuant to this section or s. 373.1963 under a voluntary interlocal agreement that is consistent with requirements in s. 373.1963(1)(b) and receives or maintains consumptive use permits under this voluntary agreement consistent with the water supply plan, if any, adopted by the governing board, such authority shall be exempt from consideration by the governing board or department of the factors specified in s. 373.223(3)(a)-(g) and the submissions required by s. 373.229(3). Such exemptions shall apply only to water sources within the jurisdictional areas of such voluntary water supply interlocal agreements.

History.–s. 7, ch. 74-114; s. 1, ch. 77-174; s. 35, ch. 79-5; s. 1, ch. 86-22; s. 258, ch. 94-356; s. 29, ch. 97-160; s. 3, ch. 98-88.

373.1963 Assistance to West Coast Regional Water Supply Authority.–

(1) It is the intent of the Legislature to authorize the implementation of changes in governance recommended by the West Coast Regional Water Supply Authority in its reports to the Legislature dated February 1, 1997, and January 5, 1998. The authority and its member governments may reconstitute the authority’s governance and rename the authority under a voluntary interlocal agreement with a term of not less than 20 years. The interlocal agreement must comply with this subsection as follows:

(a) The authority and its member governments agree that cooperative efforts are mandatory to meet their water needs in a manner that will provide adequate and dependable supplies of water where needed without resulting in adverse environmental effects upon the areas from which the water is withdrawn or otherwise produced.

(b) In accordance with s. 4, Art. VIII of the State Constitution and notwithstanding s. 163.01, the interlocal agreement may include the following terms, which are considered approved by the parties without a vote of their electors, upon execution of the interlocal agreement by all member governments and upon satisfaction of all conditions precedent in the interlocal agreement:

1. All member governments shall relinquish to the authority their individual rights to develop potable water supply sources, except as otherwise provided in the interlocal agreement;

2. The authority shall be the sole and exclusive wholesale potable water supplier for all member governments; and

3. The authority shall have the absolute and unequivocal obligation to meet the wholesale needs of the member governments for potable water.

4. A member government may not restrict or prohibit the use of land within a member’s jurisdictional boundaries by the authority for water supply purposes through use of zoning, land use, comprehensive planning, or other form of regulation.

5. A member government may not impose any tax, fee, or charge upon the authority in conjunction with the production or supply of water not otherwise provided for in the interlocal agreement.

6. The authority may use the powers provided in part II of chapter 159 for financing and refinancing water treatment, production, or transmission facilities, including, but not limited to, desalinization facilities. All such water treatment, production, or transmission facilities are considered a “manufacturing plant” for purposes of s. 159.27(5) and serve a paramount public purpose by providing water to citizens of the state.

7. A member government and any governmental or quasi-judicial board or commission established by local ordinance or general or special law where the governing membership of such board or commission is shared, in whole or in part, or appointed by a member government agreeing to be bound by the interlocal agreement shall be limited to the procedures set forth therein regarding actions that directly or indirectly restrict or prohibit the use of lands or other activities related to the production or supply of water.

(c) The authority shall acquire full or lesser interests in all regionally significant member government wholesale water supply facilities and tangible assets and each member government shall convey such interests in the facilities and assets to the authority, at an agreed value.

(d) The authority shall charge a uniform per gallon wholesale rate to member governments for the wholesale supply of potable water. All capital, operation, maintenance, and administrative costs for existing facilities and acquired facilities, authority master water plan facilities, and other future projects must be allocated to member governments based on water usage at the uniform per gallon wholesale rate.

(e) The interlocal agreement may include procedures for resolving the parties’ differences regarding water management district proposed agency action in the water use permitting process within the authority. Such procedures should minimize the potential for litigation and include alternative dispute resolution. Any governmental or quasi-judicial board or commission established by local ordinance or general or special law where the governing members of such board or commission is shared, in whole or in part, or appointed by a member government, may agree to be bound by the dispute resolution procedures set forth in the interlocal agreement.

(f) Upon execution of the voluntary interlocal agreement provided for herein, the authority shall jointly develop with the Southwest Florida Water Management District alternative sources of potable water and transmission pipelines to interconnect regionally significant water supply sources and facilities of the authority in amounts sufficient to meet the needs of all member governments for a period of at least 20 years and for natural systems. Nothing herein, however, shall preclude the authority and its member governments from developing traditional water sources pursuant to the voluntary interlocal agreement. Development and construction costs for alternative source facilities, which may include a desalination facility and significant regional interconnects, must be borne as mutually agreed to by both the authority and the Southwest Florida Water Management District. Nothing herein shall preclude authority or district cost sharing with private entities for the construction or ownership of alternative source facilities. By December 31, 1997, the authority and the Southwest Florida Water Management District shall:

1. Enter into a mutually acceptable agreement detailing the development and implementation of directives contained in this paragraph; or

2. Jointly prepare and submit to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives a report describing the progress made and impediments encountered in their attempts to implement the water resource development and water supply development directives contained in this paragraph.

Nothing in this section shall be construed to modify the rights or responsibilities of the authority or its member governments, except as otherwise provided herein, or of the Southwest Florida Water Management District or the department pursuant to this chapter or chapter 403 and as otherwise set forth by statutes.

(g) Unless otherwise provided in the interlocal agreement, the authority shall be governed by a board of commissioners consisting of nine voting members, all of whom must be elected officers, as follows:

1. Three members from Hillsborough County who must be selected by the county commission; provided, however, that one member shall be selected by the Mayor of Tampa in the event that the City of Tampa elects to be a member of the authority;

2. Three members from Pasco County, two of whom must be selected by the county commission and one of whom must be selected by the City Council of New Port Richey;

3. Three members from Pinellas County, two of whom must be selected by the county commission and one of whom must be selected by the City Council of St. Petersburg.

Except as otherwise provided in this section or in the voluntary interlocal agreement between the member governments, a majority vote shall bind the authority and its member governments in all matters relating to the funding of wholesale water supply, production, delivery, and related activities.

(2) The provisions of this section supersede any conflicting provisions contained in all other general or special laws or provisions thereof as they may apply directly or indirectly to the exclusivity of water supply or withdrawal of water, including provisions relating to the environmental effects, if any, in conjunction with the production and supply of potable water, and the provisions of this section are intended to be a complete revision of all laws related to a regional water supply authority created under s. 373.1962 and this section.

(3) In lieu of the provisions in s. 373.1962(2)(a), the Southwest Florida Water Management District shall assist the West Coast Regional Water Supply Authority for a period of 5 years, terminating December 31, 1981, by levying an ad valorem tax, upon request of the authority, of not more than 0.05 mill on all taxable property within the limits of the authority. During such period the corresponding basin board ad valorem tax levies shall be reduced accordingly.

(4) The authority shall prepare its annual budget in the same manner as prescribed for the preparation of basin budgets, but such authority budget shall not be subject to review by the respective basin boards or by the governing board of the district.

(5) The annual millage for the authority shall be the amount required to raise the amount called for by the annual budget when applied to the total assessment on all taxable property within the limits of the authority, as determined for county taxing purposes.

(6) The authority may, by resolution, request the governing board of the district to levy ad valorem taxes within the boundaries of the authority. Upon receipt of such request, together with formal certification of the adoption of its annual budget and of the required tax levy, the authority tax levy shall be made by the governing board of the district to finance authority functions.

(7) The taxes provided for in this section shall be extended by the property appraiser on the county tax roll in each county within, or partly within, the authority boundaries and shall be collected by the tax collector in the same manner and time as county taxes, and the proceeds therefrom paid to the district which shall forthwith pay them over to the authority. Until paid, such taxes shall be a lien on the property against which assessed and enforceable in like manner as county taxes. The property appraisers, tax collectors, and clerks of the circuit court of the respective counties shall be entitled to compensation for services performed in connection with such taxes at the same rates as apply to county taxes.

(8) The governing board of the district shall not be responsible for any actions or lack of actions by the authority.

History.–s. 13, ch. 76-243; s. 1, ch. 77-174; s. 4, ch. 96-339; s. 30, ch. 97-160; s. 2, ch. 98-402.

373.199 Florida Forever Water Management District Work Plan.–

(1) Over the years, the Legislature has created numerous programs and funded several initiatives intended to restore, conserve, protect, and manage Florida’s water resources and the lands and ecosystems associated with them. Although these programs and initiatives have yielded individual successes, the overall quality of Florida’s water resources continues to degrade; natural systems associated with surface waters continue to be altered or have not been restored to a fully functioning level; and sufficient quantities of water for current and future reasonable beneficial uses and for natural systems remain in doubt.

(2) Therefore, in order to further the goals of the Florida Forever Act each water management district shall develop a 5-year work plan that identifies projects that meet the criteria in subsections (3), (4), and (5).

(3) In developing the list, each water management district shall:

(a) Integrate its existing surface water improvement and management plans, Save Our Rivers land acquisition lists, stormwater management projects, proposed water resource development projects, proposed water body restoration projects, proposed capital improvement projects necessary to promote reclamation, storage, or recovery of water, and other properties or activities that would assist in meeting the goals of Florida Forever.

(b) Work cooperatively with the applicable ecosystem management area teams and other citizen advisory groups, the Department of Environmental Protection and its district offices, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Department of Community Affairs, the Department of Transportation, other state agencies, and federal agencies, where applicable.

(4) The list submitted by the districts shall include, where applicable, the following information for each project:

(a) A description of the water body system, its historical and current uses, and its hydrology; a history of the conditions which have led to the need for restoration or protection; and a synopsis of restoration efforts that have occurred to date, if applicable.

(b) An identification of all governmental units that have jurisdiction over the water body and its drainage basin within the approved surface water improvement and management plan area, including local, regional, state, and federal units.

(c) A description of land uses within the project area’s drainage basin, and of important tributaries, point and nonpoint sources of pollution, and permitted discharge activities associated with that basin.

(d) A description of strategies and potential strategies, including improved stormwater management, for restoring or protecting the water body to Class III or better surface water quality status.

(e) A listing and synopsis of studies that are being or have been prepared for the water body, stormwater management project, or water resource development project.

(f) A description of the measures needed to manage and maintain the water body once it has been restored and to prevent future degradation, to manage and maintain the stormwater management system, or to manage and maintain the water resource development project.

(g) A schedule for restoration and protection of the water body, implementation of the stormwater management project, or development of the water resource development project.

(h) An estimate of the funding needed to carry out the restoration, protection, or improvement project, or the development of new water resources, where applicable, and the projected sources of the funding.

(i) Numeric performance measures for each project. Each performance measure shall include a baseline measurement, which is the current situation; a performance standard, which water management district staff anticipates the project will achieve; and the performance measurement itself, which should reflect the incremental improvements the project accomplishes towards achieving the performance standard. These measures shall reflect the relevant goals detailed in s. 259.105(4).

(j) A discussion of permitting and other regulatory issues related to the project.

(k) An identification of the proposed public access for projects with land acquisition components.

(l) An identification of those lands which require a full fee simple interest to achieve water management goals and those lands which can be acquired using alternatives to fee simple acquisition techniques and still achieve such goals. In their evaluation of which lands would be appropriate for acquisition through alternatives to fee simple, district staff shall consider criteria including, but not limited to, acquisition costs, the net present value of future land management costs, the net present value of ad valorem revenue loss to the local government, and potential for revenue generated from activities compatible with acquisition objectives.

(m) An identification of lands needed to protect or recharge groundwater and a plan for their acquisition as necessary to protect potable water supplies. Lands which serve to protect or recharge groundwater identified pursuant to this paragraph shall also serve to protect other valuable natural resources or provide space for natural resource based recreation.

(5) The list of projects shall indicate the relative significance of each project within the particular water management district’s boundaries, and the schedule of activities and sums of money earmarked should reflect those rankings as much as possible over a 5-year planning horizon.

(6) Each district shall remove the property of an unwilling seller from its 5-year work plan at the next scheduled update of the plan, if in receipt of a request to do so by the property owner.

(7) By June 1, 2001, each district shall file with the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the Secretary of Environmental Protection the initial 5-year work plan as required under subsection (2). By January 1 of each year thereafter, each district shall file with the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the Secretary of Environmental Protection a report of acquisitions completed during the year together with modifications or additions to its 5-year work plan. Included in the report shall be:

(a) A description of land management activity for each property or project area owned by the water management district.

(b) A list of any lands surplused and the amount of compensation received.

(c) The progress of funding, staffing, and resource management of every project funded pursuant to s. 259.101, s. 259.105, or s. 373.59 for which the district is responsible.

The secretary shall submit the report referenced in this subsection to the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund together with the Acquisition and Restoration Council’s project list as required under s. 259.105.

History.–s. 36, ch. 99-247; s. 16, ch. 2000-170.

373.1995 Florida Forever performance measures.–The five water management districts shall jointly provide a report by December 15, 2000, to the Secretary of Environmental Protection, which shall establish specific goals and performance measures that may be used to analyze activities funded pursuant to s. 259.105(3)(a). The report shall, at a minimum, be based on those goals and performance measures identified in s. 259.105(4). The secretary shall forward the report to the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund for their approval. After approval by the board of trustees, the secretary shall forward the approved report to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, prior to the beginning of the 2001 Regular Legislative Session, for review by the substantive legislative committee from which the Florida Forever Act originated, or its successor. The Legislature may reject, modify, or take no action relative to the goals and performance measures established by the report. If no action is taken, the goals and performance measures established in the report shall be implemented.

History.–s. 17, ch. 2000-170.

373.200 Seminole Tribe Water Rights Compact.–Pursuant to the provisions of s. 285.165, the South Florida Water Management District is authorized to act in accordance with the Seminole Tribe Water Rights Compact incorporated by reference therein.

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