Artesian wells; flow regulated.

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PERMITTING OF CONSUMPTIVE
USES OF WATER

373.203 Definitions.

373.206 Artesian wells; flow regulated.

373.207 Abandoned artesian wells.

373.209 Artesian wells; penalties for violation.

373.213 Certain artesian wells exempt.

373.216 Implementation of program for regulating the consumptive use of water.

373.217 Superseded laws and regulations.

373.219 Permits required.

373.223 Conditions for a permit.

373.2235 Effect of prior land acquisition on consumptive use permitting.

373.224 Existing permits.

373.226 Existing uses.

373.229 Application for permit.

373.2295 Interdistrict transfers of groundwater.

373.232 Citation of rule.

373.233 Competing applications.

373.236 Duration of permits; compliance reports.

373.239 Modification and renewal of permit terms.

373.243 Revocation of permits.

373.244 Temporary permits.

373.245 Violations of permit conditions.

373.246 Declaration of water shortage or emergency.

373.249 Existing regulatory districts preserved.

373.250 Reuse of reclaimed water.

373.203 Definitions.–

(1) “Abandoned artesian well” is defined as an artesian well:

(a) That does not have a properly functioning valve;

(b) The use of which has been permanently discontinued;

(c) That does not meet current well construction standards;

(d) That is discharging water containing greater than 500 milligrams per liter of chlorides into a drinking water aquifer;

(e) That is in such a state of disrepair that it cannot be used for its intended purpose without having an adverse impact upon an aquifer which serves as a source of drinking water or which is likely to be such a source in the future; or

(f) That does not have proper flow control on or below the land surface.

(2) An “artesian well” is defined as an artificial hole in the ground from which water supplies may be obtained and which penetrates any water-bearing rock, the water in which is raised to the surface by natural flow, or which rises to an elevation above the top of the water-bearing bed. “Artesian wells” are defined further to include all holes, drilled as a source of water, that penetrate any water-bearing beds that are a part of the artesian water system of Florida, as determined by representatives of the Florida Geological Survey or the Department of Environmental Protection.

(3) “Plugging” is defined as plugging, capping, or otherwise controlling a well as deemed appropriate by the department or by the appropriate water management district.

(4) “Waste” is defined to be the causing, suffering, or permitting any water flowing from, or being pumped from, an artesian well to run into any river, creek, or other natural watercourse or channel, or into any bay or pond (unless used thereafter for the beneficial purposes of irrigation of land, mining, or other industrial purposes of domestic use), or into any street, road or highway, or upon the land of any person, or upon the public lands of the United States or of the state, unless it is used thereon for the beneficial purposes of the irrigation thereof, industrial purposes, domestic use, or the propagation of fish. The use of any water flowing from an artesian well for the irrigation of land shall be restricted to a minimum by the use of proper structural devices in the irrigation system.

History.–ss. 3, 4, ch. 28253, 1953; s. 1, ch. 59-248; ss. 25, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 25, ch. 73-190; s. 44, ch. 79-65; s. 6, ch. 83-310; s. 261, ch. 94-356.

Note.–Former ss. 370.051, 373.021.

373.206 Artesian wells; flow regulated.–Every person, stock company, association, corporation, county, or municipality owning or controlling the real estate upon which is located a flowing artesian well in this state shall, within 90 days after June 15, 1953, provide each such well with a valve capable of controlling the discharge from the well and shall keep the valve so adjusted that only a supply of water is available which is necessary for ordinary use by the owner, tenant, occupant, or person in control of the land for personal use and for conducting his or her business. Upon the determination by the Department of Environmental Protection or the appropriate water management district that the water in an artesian well is of such poor quality as to have an adverse impact upon an aquifer or other water body which serves as a source of public drinking water or which is likely to be such a source in the future, such well shall be plugged in accordance with department or appropriate water management district specifications for well plugging.

History.–s. 1, ch. 28253, 1953; s. 1, ch. 65-460; ss. 25, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 25, ch. 73-190; s. 45, ch. 79-65; s. 7, ch. 83-310; s. 262, ch. 94-356; s. 1009, ch. 95-148.

Note.–Former ss. 370.052, 373.031.

373.207 Abandoned artesian wells.–

(1) Each water management district shall develop a work plan which identifies the location of all known abandoned artesian wells within its jurisdictional boundaries and defines the actions which the district must take in order to ensure that each such well is plugged on or before January 1, 1992. The work plan shall include the following:

(a) An initial inventory which accounts for all known abandoned artesian wells in the district.

(b) The location and owner of each known abandoned well.

(c) The methodology proposed by the district to accomplish the plugging of all known abandoned wells within the district on or before January 1, 1992.

(d) Data relating to costs to be incurred for the plugging of all wells, including the per-well cost and personnel costs.

(e) A schedule of priority for the plugging of wells, which schedule is established to mitigate damage to the groundwater resource due to water quality degradation.

(2) Each water management district shall submit an annual update of its work plan to the Secretary of Environmental Protection by January 1 of each year, until all wells identified by the plan are plugged.

History.–s. 8, ch. 83-310; s. 263, ch. 94-356.

373.209 Artesian wells; penalties for violation.–

(1) No owner, tenant, occupant, or person in control of an artesian well shall knowingly and intentionally:

(a) Allow the well to flow continuously without a valve or mechanical device for checking or controlling the flow.

(b) Permit the water to flow unnecessarily.

(c) Pump a well unnecessarily.

(d) Permit the water from the well to go to waste.

(2) A well is exempt from the provisions of this section unless the Department of Environmental Protection can show that the uncontrolled flow of water from the well does not have a reasonable-beneficial use, as defined in s. 373.019.

(3) Any person who violates any provision of this section shall be subject to either:

(a) The remedial measures provided for in s. 373.436; or

(b) A civil penalty of $100 a day for each and every day of such violation and for each and every act of violation. The civil penalty may be recovered by the water management board of the water management district in which the well is located or by the department in a suit in a court of competent jurisdiction in the county where the defendant resides, in the county of residence of any defendant if there is more than one defendant, or in the county where the violation took place. The place of suit shall be selected by the board or department, and the suit, by direction of the board or department, shall be instituted and conducted in the name of the board or department by appropriate counsel. The payment of any such damages does not impair or abridge any cause of action which any person may have against the person violating any provision of this section.

(4) The penalties provided by this section shall apply notwithstanding any provisions of law to the contrary.

History.–s. 2, ch. 28253, 1953; s. 323, ch. 71-136; s. 25, ch. 73-190; s. 1, ch. 74-279; s. 46, ch. 79-65; s. 146, ch. 79-400; s. 264, ch. 94-356; s. 93, ch. 95-143; s. 8, ch. 98-88.

Note.–Former ss. 370.053, 373.041.

373.213 Certain artesian wells exempt.–Nothing in ss. 373.203, 373.206, 373.209, or this section shall be construed to apply to an artesian well feeding a lake already in existence prior to June 15, 1953, which lake is used or intended to be used for public bathing and/or the propagation of fish, where the continuous flow of water is necessary to maintain its purity for bathing and the water level of said lake for fish.

History.–s. 6, ch. 28253, 1953; s. 25, ch. 73-190; s. 167, ch. 99-13.

Note.–Former ss. 370.055, 373.061.

373.216 Implementation of program for regulating the consumptive use of water.–The governing board of each water management district shall, no later than October 31, 1983, implement a program for the issuance of permits authorizing the consumptive use of particular quantities of water covering those areas deemed appropriate by the governing board. Appropriate monitoring efforts shall be a part of any such program implemented. Notice of any required hearing on the proposed implementation of these regulations shall be published at least once a week for 2 weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the area to be affected by such regulations, the last notice appearing no less than 10 days prior to the date of the public hearing, in addition to any notice required by chapter 120.

History.–s. 1, part II, ch. 72-299; s. 8, ch. 73-190; s. 14, ch. 78-95; s. 8, ch. 82-101.

373.217 Superseded laws and regulations.–

(1) It is the intent of the Legislature to provide a means whereby reasonable programs for the issuance of permits authorizing the consumptive use of particular quantities of water may be authorized by the Department of Environmental Protection, subject to judicial review and also subject to review by the Governor and Cabinet, sitting as the Land and Water Adjudicatory Commission as provided in s. 373.114.

(2) It is the further intent of the Legislature that Part II of the Florida Water Resources Act of 1972, as amended, as set forth in ss. 373.203-373.249, shall provide the exclusive authority for requiring permits for the consumptive use of water and for authorizing transportation thereof pursuant to s. 373.223(2).

(3) If any provision of Part II of the Florida Water Resources Act of 1972, as amended, as set forth in ss. 373.203-373.249, is in conflict with any other provision, limitation, or restriction which is now in effect under any law or ordinance of this state or any political subdivision or municipality, or any rule or regulation promulgated thereunder, Part II shall govern and control, and such other law or ordinance or rule or regulation promulgated thereunder shall be deemed superseded for the purpose of regulating the consumptive use of water. However, this section shall not be construed to supersede the provisions of the Florida Electrical Power Plant Siting Act.

(4) Other than as provided in subsection (3) of this section, Part II of the Florida Water Resources Act of 1972, as amended, preempts the regulation of the consumptive use of water as defined in this act.

History.–s. 9, ch. 76-243; s. 1, ch. 77-174; s. 265, ch. 94-356.

373.219 Permits required.–

(1) The governing board or the department may require such permits for consumptive use of water and may impose such reasonable conditions as are necessary to assure that such use is consistent with the overall objectives of the district or department and is not harmful to the water resources of the area. However, no permit shall be required for domestic consumption of water by individual users.

(2) In the event that any person shall file a complaint with the governing board or the department that any other person is making a diversion, withdrawal, impoundment, or consumptive use of water not expressly exempted under the provisions of this chapter and without a permit to do so, the governing board or the department shall cause an investigation to be made, and if the facts stated in the complaint are verified the governing board or the department shall order the discontinuance of the use.

History.–s. 2, part II, ch. 72-299; s. 9, ch. 73-190.

373.223 Conditions for a permit.–

(1) To obtain a permit pursuant to the provisions of this chapter, the applicant must establish that the proposed use of water:

(a) Is a reasonable-beneficial use as defined in s. 373.019;

(b) Will not interfere with any presently existing legal use of water; and

(c) Is consistent with the public interest.

(2) The governing board or the department may authorize the holder of a use permit to transport and use ground or surface water beyond overlying land, across county boundaries, or outside the watershed from which it is taken if the governing board or department determines that such transport and use is consistent with the public interest, and no local government shall adopt or enforce any law, ordinance, rule, regulation, or order to the contrary.

(3) Except for the transport and use of water supplied by the Central and Southern Florida Flood Control Project, and anywhere in the state when the transport and use of water is supplied exclusively for bottled water as defined in s. 500.03(1)(d), any water use permit applications pending as of April 1, 1998, with the Northwest Florida Water Management District and self-suppliers of water for which the proposed water source and area of use or application are located on contiguous private properties, when evaluating whether a potential transport and use of ground or surface water across county boundaries is consistent with the public interest, pursuant to paragraph (1)(c), the governing board or department shall consider:

(a) The proximity of the proposed water source to the area of use or application.

(b) All impoundments, streams, groundwater sources, or watercourses that are geographically closer to the area of use or application than the proposed source, and that are technically and economically feasible for the proposed transport and use.

(c) All economically and technically feasible alternatives to the proposed source, including, but not limited to, desalination, conservation, reuse of nonpotable reclaimed water and stormwater, and aquifer storage and recovery.

(d) The potential environmental impacts that may result from the transport and use of water from the proposed source, and the potential environmental impacts that may result from use of the other water sources identified in paragraphs (b) and (c).

(e) Whether existing and reasonably anticipated sources of water and conservation efforts are adequate to supply water for existing legal uses and reasonably anticipated future needs of the water supply planning region in which the proposed water source is located.

(f) Consultations with local governments affected by the proposed transport and use.

(g) The value of the existing capital investment in water-related infrastructure made by the applicant.

Where districtwide water supply assessments and regional water supply plans have been prepared pursuant to ss. 373.036 and 373.0361, the governing board or the department shall use the applicable plans and assessments as the basis for its consideration of the applicable factors in this subsection.

(4) The governing board or the department, by regulation, may reserve from use by permit applicants, water in such locations and quantities, and for such seasons of the year, as in its judgment may be required for the protection of fish and wildlife or the public health and safety. Such reservations shall be subject to periodic review and revision in the light of changed conditions. However, all presently existing legal uses of water shall be protected so long as such use is not contrary to the public interest.

History.–s. 3, part II, ch. 72-299; s. 10, ch. 73-190; s. 10, ch. 76-243; s. 35, ch. 85-81; s. 4, ch. 98-88.

373.2235 Effect of prior land acquisition on consumptive use permitting.–The fact that any applicant has acquired, by the exercise of eminent domain or otherwise, any land for the specific purpose of serving as a site for a wellfield or right-of-way prior to obtaining a consumptive use permit from a water management district does not create any presumption of entitlement to a consumptive use permit. Evidence relating to such prior acquisition of land or right-of-way by any applicant is not admissible in any proceeding related to consumptive use permitting and has no bearing upon any water management district’s determination of reasonable beneficial use in the permitting process. In the event that any applicant elects to acquire land prior to obtaining a consumptive use permit from a water management district, such action shall be considered a voluntary risk assumed by the applicant, and the fact of such prior acquisition shall not be admissible in any administrative or judicial proceeding relating to consumptive use permitting under this chapter, including any appeal taken from a water management district decision.

History.–s. 85, ch. 83-310.

373.224 Existing permits.–Any permits or permit agreements for consumptive use of water executed or issued by an existing flood control, water management, or water regulatory district pursuant to this chapter or chapter 378 prior to December 31, 1976, shall remain in full force and effect in accordance with their terms until otherwise modified or revoked as authorized herein.

History.–s. 11, ch. 73-190; s. 3, ch. 75-125.

373.226 Existing uses.–

(1) All existing uses of water, unless otherwise exempted from regulation by the provisions of this chapter, may be continued after adoption of this permit system only with a permit issued as provided herein.

(2) The governing board or the department shall issue an initial permit for the continuation of all uses in existence before the effective date of implementation of this part if the existing use is a reasonable-beneficial use as defined in s. 373.019 and is allowable under the common law of this state.

(3) Application for permit under the provisions of subsection (2) must be made within a period of 2 years from the effective date of implementation of these regulations in an area. Failure to apply within this period shall create a conclusive presumption of abandonment of the use, and the user, if he or she desires to revive the use, must apply for a permit under the provisions of s. 373.229.

History.–s. 4, part II, ch. 72-299; s. 12, ch. 73-190; s. 598, ch. 95-148; s. 9, ch. 98-88.

373.229 Application for permit.–

(1) All permit applications filed with the governing board or the department under this part and notice thereof required under s. 373.116 shall contain:

(a) The name of the applicant and his or her address or, in the case of a corporation, the address of its principal business office;

(b) The date of filing;

(c) The date set for a hearing, if any;

(d) The source of the water supply;

(e) The quantity of water applied for;

(f) The use to be made of the water and any limitation thereon;

(g) The place of use;

(h) The location of the well or point of diversion; and

(i) Such other information as the governing board or the department may deem necessary.

(2) The notice shall state that written objections to the proposed permit may be filed with the governing board or the department by a specified date. The governing board or the department, at its discretion, may request further information from either applicant or objectors, and a reasonable time shall be allowed for such responses.

(3) In addition to the information required in subsection (1), all permit applications filed with the governing board or the department which propose the transport and use of water across county boundaries shall include information pertaining to factors to be considered, pursuant to s. 373.223(3), unless exempt under s. 373.1962(9).

(4) If the proposed application is for less than 100,000 gallons per day, the governing board or the department may consider the application and any objections thereto without a hearing. If the proposed application is for 100,000 gallons per day or more and no objection is received, the governing board or the department, after proper investigation by its staff, may, at its discretion, approve the application without a hearing.

History.–s. 5, part II, ch. 72-299; s. 13, ch. 73-190; s. 11, ch. 76-243; s. 1, ch. 77-174; s. 599, ch. 95-148; s. 5, ch. 98-88.

373.2295 Interdistrict transfers of groundwater.–

(1) As used in this section, “interdistrict transfer and use” means a consumptive water use which involves the withdrawal of groundwater from a point within one water management district for use outside the boundaries of that district.

(2) To obtain a permit for an interdistrict transfer and use of groundwater, an applicant must file an application in accordance with s. 373.229 with the water management district having jurisdiction over the area from which the applicant proposes to withdraw groundwater and submit a copy of the application to the water management district having jurisdiction over the area where the water is to be used.

(3) The governing board of the water management district where the groundwater is proposed to be withdrawn shall review the application in accordance with this part, the rules of the district which relate to consumptive water use permitting, and other applicable provisions of this chapter.

(4) In determining if an application is consistent with the public interest as required by s. 373.223, the projected populations, as contained in the future land use elements of the comprehensive plans adopted pursuant to chapter 163 by the local governments within which the withdrawal areas and the proposed use areas are located, will be considered together with other evidence presented on future needs of those areas. If the proposed interdistrict transfer of groundwater meets the requirements of this chapter, and if the needs of the area where the use will occur and the specific area from which the groundwater will be withdrawn can be satisfied, the permit for the interdistrict transfer and use shall be issued.

(5) In addition to other requirements contained in this part, the water management district where the groundwater is proposed to be withdrawn shall:

(a) Furnish copies of any application, information, correspondence, or other related material to the water management district having jurisdiction over the area where the water is to be used; and

(b) Request comments on the application and the future water needs of the proposed use area from the water management district having jurisdiction over the area where the water is to be used. If comments are received, they must be attached to the preliminary notice of intended agency action and may not create a point of entry for review whether issued by the governing board or district staff.

(6) Upon completion of review of the application, the water management district where the groundwater is proposed to be withdrawn shall prepare a notice of preliminary intended agency action which shall include an evaluation of the application and a recommendation of approval, denial, or approval with conditions. The notice shall be furnished to the district where the water is to be used, the applicant, the Department of Environmental Protection, the local governments having jurisdiction over the area from which the groundwater is to be withdrawn and where the water is to be used, and any person requesting a copy of the notice.

(a) Any interested person may, within the time specified in the notice, notify in writing the district from where the groundwater is to be withdrawn of such person’s position and comments or objections, if any, to the preliminary intended action.

(b) The filing of the notice of intended agency action shall toll the time periods contained in s. 120.60 for the granting or denial of a permit for an interdistrict transfer and use of groundwater.

(c) The preliminary intended agency action and any comments or objections of interested persons made pursuant to paragraph (a) shall be considered by the governing board of the water management district where the groundwater is proposed to be withdrawn. Following such consideration, the governing board shall issue a notice of intended agency action.

(d) Any substantially affected person who submitted a notification pursuant to paragraph (a) may request review by the department within 14 days after the filing of the notice of intended agency action. If no request for review is filed, the notice of intended agency action shall become the final order of the governing board.

(7) Notwithstanding the provisions of chapter 120, the department shall, within 30 days after its receipt of a request for review of the water management district’s action, approve, deny, or modify the water management district’s action on the proposed interdistrict transfer and use of groundwater. The department shall issue a notice of its intended action. Any substantially affected person who requested review pursuant to paragraph (6)(a) may request an administrative hearing pursuant to chapter 120 within 14 days after notice of the department’s intended action. The parties to such proceeding shall include, at a minimum, the affected water management districts and the applicant. The proceedings initiated by a petition under ss. 120.569 and 120.57, following the department’s issuance of a notice of intended agency action, is the exclusive proceeding authorized for the review of agency action on the interdistrict transfer and use of groundwater. This procedure is to give effect to the legislative intent that this section provide a single, efficient, simplified, coordinated permitting process for the interdistrict transfer and use of groundwater.

(8) The department shall issue a final order which is subject to review pursuant to s. 120.68 or s. 373.114.

(9) In administering this part, the department or the water management districts may enter into interagency agreements. However, such agreements are not subject to the provisions of s. 373.046 and chapter 120.

(10) The state hereby preempts any regulation of the interdistrict transfer and use of groundwater. If any provision of this section is in conflict with any other provision or restriction under any law, administrative rule, or ordinance, this section shall govern and such law, rule, or ordinance shall be deemed superseded for the purposes of this section. A water management district or the department may not adopt special rules which prohibit or restrict interdistrict transfer and use of groundwater in a manner inconsistent with this section.

(11) If, after the final order of the department or final agency action under this section, the proposed use of the site designated in the application for groundwater production, treatment, or transmission facilities does not conform with the existing zoning ordinances, a rezoning application may be submitted. If local authorities deny the application for rezoning, the applicant may appeal this decision to the Land and Water Adjudicatory Commission, which shall authorize a variance or nonconforming use to the existing comprehensive plan and zoning ordinances, unless the commission determines after notice and hearing that such variance or nonconforming use is contrary to the public interest.

(12) The permit required under this section and other sections of this chapter and chapter 403 are the sole permits required for interdistrict transfer and use of groundwater, and such permits are in lieu of any license, permit, or similar document required by any state agency or political subdivision pursuant to chapter 163, chapter 380, or chapter 381, and the Florida Transportation Code.

(13) When a consumptive use permit under this section is granted for water use beyond the boundaries of a local government from which or through which the groundwater is withdrawn or transferred and a local government denies a permit required under chapter 125 or chapter 153 for a facility or any infrastructure which produces, treats, transmits, or distributes such groundwater, the person or unit of government applying for the permit under chapter 125 or chapter 153 may appeal the denial to the Land and Water Adjudicatory Commission. The commission shall review the local government action for consistency with this chapter and the interdistrict groundwater transfer permit and may reverse, modify, or approve the local government’s action.

History.–s. 1, ch. 87-347; s. 266, ch. 94-356; s. 99, ch. 96-410; s. 11, ch. 2000-212.

373.232 Citation of rule.–In addition to any other provisions within this part or any rules promulgated hereunder, the permitting agency shall, when requesting information for a permit application pursuant to this part or such rules promulgated hereunder, cite a specific rule. If a request for information cannot be accompanied by a rule citation, failure to provide such information cannot be grounds to deny a permit.

History.–s. 4, ch. 79-161.

373.233 Competing applications.–

(1) If two or more applications which otherwise comply with the provisions of this part are pending for a quantity of water that is inadequate for both or all, or which for any other reason are in conflict, the governing board or the department shall have the right to approve or modify the application which best serves the public interest.

(2) In the event that two or more competing applications qualify equally under the provisions of subsection (1), the governing board or the department shall give preference to a renewal application over an initial application.

History.–s. 6, part II, ch. 72-299.

373.236 Duration of permits; compliance reports.–

(1) Permits shall be granted for a period of 20 years, if requested for that period of time, if there is sufficient data to provide reasonable assurance that the conditions for permit issuance will be met for the duration of the permit; otherwise, permits may be issued for shorter durations which reflect the period for which such reasonable assurances can be provided. The governing board or the department may base the duration of permits on a reasonable system of classification according to source of supply or type of use, or both.

(2) The governing board or the department may authorize a permit of duration of up to 50 years in the case of a municipality or other governmental body or of a public works or public service corporation where such a period is required to provide for the retirement of bonds for the construction of waterworks and waste disposal facilities.

(3) Where necessary to maintain reasonable assurance that the conditions for issuance of a 20-year permit can continue to be met, the governing board or department, in addition to any conditions required pursuant to s. 373.219, may require a compliance report by the permittee every 5 years during the term of a permit. This report shall contain sufficient data to maintain reasonable assurance that the initial conditions for permit issuance are met. Following review of this report, the governing board or the department may modify the permit to ensure that the use meets the conditions for issuance. Permit modifications pursuant to this subsection shall not be subject to competing applications, provided there is no increase in the permitted allocation or permit duration, and no change in source, except for changes in source requested by the district. This subsection shall not be construed to limit the existing authority of the department or the governing board to modify or revoke a consumptive use permit.

History.–s. 7, part II, ch. 72-299; s. 13, ch. 97-160.

373.239 Modification and renewal of permit terms.–

(1) A permittee may seek modification of any terms of an unexpired permit.

(2) If the proposed modification involves water use of 100,000 gallons or more per day, the application shall be treated under the provisions of s. 373.229 in the same manner as the initial permit application. Otherwise, the governing board or the department may at its discretion approve the proposed modification without a hearing, provided the permittee establishes that:

(a) A change in conditions has resulted in the water allowed under the permit becoming inadequate for the permittee’s need, or

(b) The proposed modification would result in a more efficient utilization of water than is possible under the existing permit.

(3) All permit renewal applications shall be treated under this part in the same manner as the initial permit application.

History.–s. 8, part II, ch. 72-299; s. 14, ch. 73-190.

373.243 Revocation of permits.–The governing board or the department may revoke a permit as follows:

(1) For any material false statement in an application to continue, initiate, or modify a use, or for any material false statement in any report or statement of fact required of the user pursuant to the provisions of this chapter, the governing board or the department may revoke the user’s permit, in whole or in part, permanently.

(2) For willful violation of the conditions of the permit, the governing board or the department may permanently or temporarily revoke the permit, in whole or in part.

(3) For violation of any provision of this chapter, the governing board or the department may revoke the permit, in whole or in part, for a period not to exceed 1 year.

(4) For nonuse of the water supply allowed by the permit for a period of 2 years or more, the governing board or the department may revoke the permit permanently and in whole unless the user can prove that his or her nonuse was due to extreme hardship caused by factors beyond the user’s control.

(5) The governing board or the department may revoke a permit, permanently and in whole, with the written consent of the permittee.

History.–s. 9, part II, ch. 72-299; s. 14, ch. 78-95; s. 600, ch. 95-148.

373.244 Temporary permits.–

(1) The governing board of a water management district may issue, or may authorize its executive director to issue, temporary permits for the consumptive use of water while an application is pending for a permit pursuant to ss. 373.219 and 373.229.

(2) Such a temporary permit shall be issued for a period of time to expire on the day following the next regular meeting of the governing board. At such meeting, the governing board shall consider whether it appears that the proposed use meets the criteria set forth in s. 373.223(1) and that such temporary permit is necessary for consumptive use of water prior to final action on an application for a permit pursuant to ss. 373.219 and 373.229.

(3) The governing board may summarily extend the term of a temporary permit for subsequent periods of time to expire on or before the day following the next regular meeting of the governing board.

(4) The board shall review temporary permits at each regular meeting and may terminate a temporary permit or refuse to extend it further upon a finding that the water use does not meet the criteria set forth in s. 373.223(1) or that adverse effects are occurring as a result of water use under the temporary permit or that the water authorized to be used under such permit is no longer required by the permitholder.

(5) The notice and hearing that might otherwise be required pursuant to s. 373.116(2) and chapter 120 shall not be required prior to issuance or extension of a temporary permit pursuant to the provisions of this section.

(6) Issuance of a temporary permit pursuant to the provisions of this section shall not in any way be construed as a commitment to issue a permit pursuant to ss. 373.219 and 373.229. No action taken by the governing board, or by the executive director if so authorized, shall be construed to estop the governing board from subsequently denying an application for a permit pursuant to ss. 373.219 and 373.229.

History.–s. 1, ch. 79-160.

373.245 Violations of permit conditions.–Holders of consumptive use permits who violate conditions of such permits shall be liable to abutting consumptive use permitholders for damages caused by such permit violations. No cause of action shall accrue under this section until the complainant has first applied for and then been denied relief by the water management district for the permit violations complained of. The provisions of this section are supplemental, and nothing in this section is intended to preclude the use of any other existing cause of action, remedy, or procedure.

History.–s. 10, ch. 82-101.

373.246 Declaration of water shortage or emergency.–

(1) The governing board or the department by regulation shall formulate a plan for implementation during periods of water shortage. As a part of this plan the governing board or the department shall adopt a reasonable system of water-use classification according to source of water supply; method of extraction, withdrawal, or diversion; or use of water or a combination thereof. The plan may include provisions for variances and alternative measures to prevent undue hardship and ensure equitable distribution of water resources.

(2) The governing board or the department by order may declare that a water shortage exists for a source or sources within all or part of the district when insufficient water is or will be available to meet the present and anticipated requirements 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. Such orders will be final agency action.

(3) In accordance with the plan adopted under subsection (1), the governing board or the department may impose such restrictions on one or more classes of water uses as may be necessary to protect the water resources of the area from serious harm and to restore them to their previous condition.

(4) A declaration of water shortage and any measures adopted pursuant thereto may be rescinded by the governing board or the department.

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

(6) The governing board or the department shall notify each permittee in the district by regular mail of any change in the condition of his or her permit or any suspension of his or her permit or of any other restriction on the permittee’s use of water for the duration of the water shortage.

(7) If an emergency condition exists due to a water shortage within any area of the district, and if the department, or the executive director of the district with the concurrence of the governing board, finds that the exercise of powers under subsection (1) 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, it or he or she may, pursuant to the provisions of s. 373.119, 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 department or the executive director deems necessary to meet the emergency.

(8) An affected party to whom an emergency order is directed under subsection (7) shall comply immediately, but may challenge such an order in the manner set forth in s. 373.119.

History.–s. 10, part II, ch. 72-299; s. 14, ch. 78-95; s. 11, ch. 82-101; s. 10, ch. 84-341; s. 601, ch. 95-148; s. 168, ch. 99-13.

373.249 Existing regulatory districts preserved.–The enactment of this chapter shall not affect any existing water regulatory districts pursuant to chapter 373, or orders issued by said regulatory districts, unless specifically revoked, modified, or amended by such regulatory district or by the department.

History.–s. 11, part II, ch. 72-299.

373.250 Reuse of reclaimed water.–

(1) The encouragement and promotion of water conservation and reuse of reclaimed water, as defined by the department, are state objectives and considered to be in the public interest. The Legislature finds that the use of reclaimed water provided by domestic wastewater treatment plants permitted and operated under a reuse program approved by the department is environmentally acceptable and not a threat to public health and safety.

(2)(a) For purposes of this section, “uncommitted” means the average amount of reclaimed water produced during the three lowest-flow months minus the amount of reclaimed water that a reclaimed water provider is contractually obligated to provide to a customer or user.

(b) Reclaimed water may be presumed available to a consumptive use permit applicant when a utility exists which provides reclaimed water, which has uncommitted reclaimed water capacity, and which has distribution facilities, which are initially provided by the utility at its cost, to the site of the affected applicant’s proposed use.

(3) The water management district shall, in consultation with the department, adopt rules to implement this section. Such rules shall include, but not be limited to:

(a) Provisions to permit use of water from other sources in emergency situations or if reclaimed water becomes unavailable, for the duration of the emergency or the unavailability of reclaimed water. These provisions shall also specify the method for establishing the quantity of water to be set aside for use in emergencies or when reclaimed water becomes unavailable. The amount set aside is subject to periodic review and revision. The methodology shall take into account the risk that reclaimed water may not be available in the future, the risk that other sources may be fully allocated to other uses in the future, the nature of the uses served with reclaimed water, the extent to which the applicant intends to rely upon reclaimed water and the extent of economic harm which may result if other sources are not available to replace the reclaimed water. It is the intent of this paragraph to ensure that users of reclaimed water have the same access to ground or surface water and will otherwise be treated in the same manner as other users of the same class not relying on reclaimed water.

(b) A water management district shall not adopt any rule which gives preference to users within any class of use established under s. 373.246 who do not use reclaimed water over users within the same class who use reclaimed water.

(4) Nothing in this section shall impair a water management district’s authority to plan for and regulate consumptive uses of water under this chapter.

(5) This section applies to new consumptive use permits and renewals of existing consumptive use permits.

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