Good water law; weak implementation

Among other statutory requirements, a Florida water use permit can be issued only if it is in the “public interest” and only if the amount is for no more than “is necessary for economic and efficient utilization.” Unfortunately, these requirements are interpreted very leniently by the water management districts. I think most Floridians would agree that a water “efficient” permitting process in the “public interest” must be guided by policies like these:

  • All water use above a small amount (say 10,000 gallons a day) must be metered accurately and the results reported monthly to the WMD and published promptly on-line.
  • Plumbing devices of water utility customers must be at least as water-efficient as in the State of Georgia.
  • Water use that causes net job losses (like the sugarcane industry) could not be found to be in the public interest.
  • State and national parks must be protected from any reduction in water flows or levels.

None of these sensible policies are implemented by the water management districts in their water use permitting practices. Better implementation of Florida water law would make the state’s water problems much smaller.

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