(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 373.709, 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.
(5) In evaluating an application for consumptive use of water which proposes the use of an alternative water supply project as described in the regional water supply plan and provides reasonable assurances of the applicant’s capability to design, construct, operate, and maintain the project, the governing board or department shall presume that the alternative water supply use is consistent with the public interest under paragraph (1)(c). However, where the governing board identifies the need for a multijurisdictional water supply entity or regional water supply authority to develop the alternative water supply project pursuant to s. 373.709(2)(a)2., the presumption shall be accorded only to that use proposed by such entity or authority. This subsection does not effect evaluation of the use pursuant to the provisions of paragraphs (1)(a) and (b), subsections (2) and (3), and ss. 373.2295 and 373.233.