CS/HB 1415

A bill to be entitled
2An act relating to the West-Central Florida Water
3Restoration Action Plan; creating s. 373.0363, F.S.;
4providing definitions; providing legislative findings
5and intent; requiring the Southwest Florida Water
6Management District to implement the West-Central
7Florida Water Restoration Action Plan; providing
8criteria governing the implementation of the plan;
9requiring that the district coordinate with regional
10water supply authorities and governmental partners to
11maximize opportunities concerning the efficient
12expenditure of public funds; specifying the plan's
13purpose; specifying the initiatives that are included in
14the plan; providing criteria governing implementation of
15the Central West Coast Surface Water Enhancement
16Initiative, the Facilitating Agricultural Resource
17Management Systems Initiative, the Ridge Lakes
18Restoration Initiative, the Upper Peace River Watershed
19Restoration Initiative, and the Central Florida Water
20Resource Development Initiative and certain components
21or projects included in such initiatives; providing for
22the district to implement certain initiatives or parts
23thereof in cooperation with the Peace River-Manasota
24Regional Water Supply Authority, the Department of
25Agriculture and Consumer Services, or Polk County;
26requiring an annual report that meets specified criteria
27concerning implementation of the plan, regional
28conditions, and the use of funds; requiring that the
29Southwest Florida Water Management District prepare the
30report in cooperation with coordinating agencies and
31affected local governments and submit a report and
32legislative proposals to the Governor and Legislature;
33providing an effective date.
35Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
37     Section 1.  Section 373.0363, Florida Statutes, is created
38to read:
39     373.0363  West-Central Florida Water Restoration Action
41     (1)  As used in this section, the term:
42     (a)  "Central Florida Coordination Area" means all of Polk,
43Osceola, Orange, and Seminole Counties, and southern Lake
44County, as designated by the Southwest Florida Water Management
45District, the South Florida Water Management District, and the
46St. Johns River Water Management District.
47     (b)  "District" means the Southwest Florida Water
48Management District.
49     (c)  "Southern Water Use Caution Area" means an area that
50the district designated, after extensive collection of data and
51numerous studies, in order to comprehensively manage water
52resources in the Southern West-Central Groundwater Basin, which
53includes all of Desoto, Hardee, Manatee, and Sarasota Counties,
54and parts of Charlotte, Highlands, Hillsborough, and Polk
56     (d)  "Southern Water Use Caution Area Recovery Strategy"
57means the district's regulatory, planning, and financial
58strategy for ensuring that adequate water supplies are available
59to meet growing demands while protecting and restoring the water
60and related natural resources of the area.
61     (e)  "West-Central Florida Water Restoration Action Plan"
62means the district's regional environmental restoration and
63water resource sustainability program for the Southern Water Use
64Caution Area.
65     (2)  The Legislature finds that:
66     (a)  In response to growing demands from public supply,
67agriculture, mining, power generation, and recreational users,
68groundwater withdrawals in the Southern Water Use Caution Area
69have steadily increased for nearly a century before peaking in
70the mid-1970s. These withdrawals resulted in declines in aquifer
71levels throughout the groundwater basin, which in some areas
72exceeded 50 feet.
73     (b)  While groundwater withdrawals have since stabilized as
74a result of the district's management efforts, depressed aquifer
75levels continue to result in saltwater intrusion, reduced flows
76in the Upper Peace River, lowered water levels, and adverse
77water quality impacts for some lakes in the Lake Wales Ridge
78areas of Polk and Highlands Counties.
79     (c)  In response to these resource concerns, and as
80directed by s. 373.036, the district determined that traditional
81sources of water in the region are not adequate to supply water
82for all existing and projected reasonable and beneficial uses
83and to sustain the water resources and related natural systems.
84     (d)  The expeditious implementation of the Southern Water
85Use Caution Area Recovery Strategy is needed to meet the minimum
86flow requirement for the Upper Peace River, slow saltwater
87intrusion, provide for improved lake levels and water quality
88along the Lake Wales Ridge, and ensure sufficient water supplies
89for all existing and projected reasonable and beneficial uses.
90     (e)  Sufficient research has been conducted and sufficient
91plans developed to immediately expand and accelerate programs to
92sustain the water resources and related natural systems in the
93Southern Water Use Caution Area.
94     (f)  Implementation of components of the Southern Water Use
95Caution Area Recovery Strategy, which are contained in the West-
96Central Florida Water Restoration Action Plan, is for the
97benefit of the public health, safety, and welfare and is in the
98public interest.
99     (g)  Implementation of the West-Central Florida Water
100Restoration Action Plan is necessary to meet the minimum flow
101requirement for the Upper Peace River, slow saltwater intrusion,
102provide for improved lake levels and water quality along the
103Lake Wales Ridge, and ensure sufficient water supplies for all
104existing and projected reasonable and beneficial uses.
105     (h)  A continuing source of funding is needed to
106effectively implement the West-Central Florida Water Restoration
107Action Plan.
108     (3)  The district shall implement the West-Central Florida
109Water Restoration Action Plan in a manner that furthers
110progressive strategies for the management of water resources, is
111watershed-based, provides for consideration of water quality
112issues, and includes monitoring, the development and
113implementation of best-management practices, and structural and
114nonstructural projects, including public works projects. The
115district shall coordinate its implementation of the plan with
116regional water supply authorities, public and private
117partnerships, and local, state, and federal partners in order to
118maximize opportunities for the most efficient and timely
119expenditures of public funds.
120     (4)  The West-Central Florida Water Restoration Action Plan
122     (a)  The Central West Coast Surface Water Enhancement
123Initiative. The purpose of this initiative is to make additional
124surface waters available for public supply through restoration
125of surface waters, natural water flows, and freshwater wetland
126communities. This initiative is designed to allow limits on
127groundwater withdrawals in order to slow the rate of saltwater
128intrusion. The initiative shall be an ongoing program in
129cooperation with the Peace River-Manasota Regional Water Supply
130Authority created under s. 373.1962. The initiative shall
131include the following components, if feasible:
132     1.  The Dona Bay-Cow Pen Slough Component. This component
133is anticipated to increase the capacity to store excess
134freshwater flows for the purposes of supplying potable water and
135restoring wetland ecosystems, including the quality and clarity
136of water in the system and the subsequent rejuvenation of the
137system's mollusks, oyster beds, seagrasses, and salinity.
138     2.  The Shell Creek Watershed Component. This component is
139anticipated to increase water storage capacity upstream,
140redirect the stored water to its natural and historical flow
141pattern resulting in a benefit to the downstream ecosystem, and
142capture high flows for use as public supply during low-flow
144     3.  The Upper Myakka River-Flatford Swamp Component. This
145component is anticipated to reduce the amount of water entering
146the swamp so that normal hydroperiods are restored, to create a
147historically more natural system, and to increase the
148availability of water for public supply.
149     (b)  The Facilitating Agricultural Resource Management
150Systems Initiative. The purpose of this initiative is to
151expedite the implementation of production-scale, best-management
152practices in the agricultural sector, which will result in
153reductions in groundwater withdrawals and improvements in water
154quality, water resources, and ecology. The initiative is a cost-
155share reimbursement program to provide funding incentives to
156agricultural landowners for the implementation of best-
157management practices. The initiative shall be implemented by the
158district in cooperation with the Department of Agriculture and
159Consumer Services.
160     (c)  The Ridge Lakes Restoration Initiative. The purpose of
161this initiative is to protect, restore, and enhance natural
162systems and flood protection by improving and protecting the
163water quality of approximately 130 lakes located along the Lake
164Wales Ridge in Polk and Highlands Counties, which quality is
165threatened by stormwater runoff, wastewater effluent, fertilizer
166applications, groundwater pollution, degradation of shoreline
167habitats, and hydrologic alterations. This initiative shall be
168accomplished through the construction of systems designed to
169treat the stormwater runoff that threatens the water quality of
170such lakes. Such systems include swales, retention basins, and
171long infiltration basins, if feasible.
172     (d)  The Upper Peace River Watershed Restoration
173Initiative. The purpose of this initiative is to improve the
174quality of waters and ecosystems in the watershed of the Upper
175Peace River by recharging aquifers, restoring the flow of
176surface waters, and restoring the capacity of natural systems to
177store surface waters. The Legislature finds that such
178improvements are necessary because the quantity and quality of
179the fresh water that flows to the basin of the Peace River and
180Charlotte Harbor are adversely affected by the significant
181alteration and degradation of the watershed of the Upper Peace
182River, and because restoration of the watershed of the Upper
183Peace River is a critical component of the Charlotte Harbor
184National Estuary Program's Comprehensive Conservation and
185Management Plan, the Southwest Florida Water Management
186District's Surface Water Improvement and Management Plan, and
187the Southern Water Use Caution Area Recovery Strategy. This
188initiative shall include an Upper Peace River Component. In
189addition to the initiative's other purposes, this component will
190provide a critical link to a major greenway that extends from
191the lower southwest coast of this state through the watershed of
192the Peace River and the Green Swamp and further north to the
193Ocala National Forest. Projects that are included in the Upper
194Peace River Component include:
195     1.  The Lake Hancock Component. The purpose of this
196component is to help meet the minimum-flow requirements in the
197Upper Peace River and to improve water quality. The component
198shall include modifications of a structure to control the
199elevation of water levels in Lake Hancock and the treatment of
200outfall from the lake.
201     2.  The Peace Creek Canal Restoration Project. The purpose
202of this project is to enhance the recharge of aquifers, restore
203the capacity of natural systems to store waters, and provide
204flood protection. The project shall be implemented by
205undertaking the actions needed to meet the minimum-flow
206requirements under s. 373.042 and thereafter holding excess
207surface water from the Peace Creek Canal in storage for public
208supply or commercial or industrial water users.
209     (e)  The Central Florida Water Resource Development
210Initiative. The purpose of this initiative is to create and
211implement a long-term plan that takes a comprehensive approach
212to limit ground water withdrawals in the Southern Water Use
213Caution Area and to identify and develop alternative water
214supplies for Polk County. The project components developed
215pursuant to this initiative are eligible for state and regional
216funding under s. 373.196 as an alternative water supply, as
217defined in s. 373.019, or as a supplemental water supply under
218the rules of the Southwest Florida Water Management District or
219the South Florida Water Management District. The initiative
220shall be implemented by the district as an ongoing program in
221cooperation with Polk County and the South Florida Water
222Management District. The initiative shall include:
223     1.  The Kissimmee River Component. This component shall
224include developing, if feasible, a public water supply from
225surface waters in the Kissimmee Basin near Lake Kissimmee,
226blending such supply with other potable water supplies, and
227distributing such potable waters by connecting to the water-
228distribution systems of municipal water utilities. This project
229is intended to increase the amount of water available for
230meeting public demand for water in the Central Florida
231Coordination Area.
232     2.  The Upper Peace River Component. This component shall
233be implemented by investigating the feasibility of using an off-
234stream reservoir, which may include the storage of water on
235private lands, to capture water from the Peace River during
236high-flow periods for use as a public water supply. If it is
237determined that the most feasible location of an off-stream
238reservoir is outside Polk County, the district shall promote
239Polk County's participation in the development and use of such
240reservoir so long as such development and use satisfies all of
241the requirements of this chapter and the rules of the district.
242     (5)  By March 1 each year, the district shall report on the
243implementation of this section as part of the consolidated
244annual report required in s. 373.036(7). The district shall
245annually submit a copy of the implementation report and
246recommended legislative proposals to the Governor, the President
247of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
248The district shall prepare the implementation report in
249cooperation with the other coordinating agencies and affected
250local governments. The implementation report shall include, at a
252     (a)  A summary of the conditions of the Southern Water Use
253Caution Area, including the status of the components of the
254West-Central Florida Water Restoration Action Plan.
255     (b)  An annual accounting of the expenditure of funds. The
256accounting must, at a minimum, provide details of expenditures
257separately by plan component and any subparts of a plan
258component, and include specific information about amount and use
259of funds from federal, state, and local government sources. In
260detailing the use of these funds, the district shall indicate
261those funds that are designated to meet requirements for
262matching funds.
263     Section 2.  This act shall take effect July 1, 2008.

CODING: Words stricken are deletions; words underlined are additions.