District Board approves regional water supply plan strategies for central Florida
The St. Johns River Water Management District's Governing Board today approved the amended Regional Water Supply Plan (RWSP) and the draft 2035 Water Resources Protection and Water Supply Strategies Plan (Solutions Plan) for five counties in central Florida.
The RWSP charts a long-term course for water supply in the Central Florida Water Initiative (CFWI) region, which includes Orange, Osceola, Polk, Seminole and south Lake counties through 2035.
The plans call for more aggressive water conservation programs, expanded and more efficient water reuse projects, and a comprehensive menu of alternative water-supply project options to ensure adequate water supplies for the region through 2035.
Water supply plans identify future water supply needs for a 20-year planning horizon, and programs and projects needed to ensure sustainable supplies. However, the plans do not require that specific projects be implemented. Decisions to choose project options are made at the local level by water supply utilities.
"The board's vote to approve the CFWI plans allows us to move to the next steps in the important work of water supply planning in central Florida," said Governing Board Chairman John Miklos. "By working collaboratively, the region will be able to meet future demands through appropriate management of water resources, increased conservation and reclaimed water use, and alternative water supply projects."
The plans will be considered by partnering water management districts' governing boards over the next two weeks -- the South Florida Water Management District on Nov. 12 and the Southwest Florida Water Management District on Nov. 17.
The CFWI is a collaborative effort that engages three water management districts, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, central Florida utilities and stakeholders representing agricultural interests, the business community, local governments, and the environmental community.
The CFWI process led to the creation of a regional groundwater model, which found that the potential water-supply needs of 2035 could exceed the sustainable limits of the Floridan aquifer by as much as 250 million gallons a day. The plans identify more project options than are needed to meet the region's water supply needs.
The plans represent more than five years of a coordinated effort led by the CFWI involving many experts in the fields of water supply and water management. More than 6,000 stakeholders participated in the process by attending public meetings and providing comments that helped shape the plans.