Governor Rick Scott, as part of his government-restructuring plan, is reducing the budget and workforce of water management district offices all across Florida. This is forcing the district’s to try and do more with less, something that all government is trying to do in today’s economy. The problem with that is that sometimes you end up doing less with less, and sometimes even less than that!
Homeowners Associations in the state currently have a mish-mash of regulatory hurdles they have to jump through in regards to water management. Most employ lake managers, to maintain the cleanliness, quality, and fish populations of their waterways. They also have to deal with local water authorities on a local, state, and federal level. Sometimes, these regulations can become too much of a burden to bear for underfunded, and often understaffed, associations.
As part of the St. Johns River Water Management District’s work to make its permitting process more efficient for the public and the agency, the District’s Governing Board voted recently to move forward with changes that would save applicants time and money while maintaining the District’s commitment to environmental protection. The District is responsible for managing groundwater and surface water resources in all or part of 18 counties in northeast and east–central Florida, including Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Brevard, Clay, Duval, Flagler, Indian River, Lake, Marion, Nassau, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Putnam, St. Johns, Seminole, and Volusia counties. A nine-member Governing Board appointed by Florida’s governor sets the policies for operation of the agency.
The Board voted to approve a notice of proposed rule that would
· Expand consumptive use permit (CUP) modifications that can be made through a letter, rather than through a new application.
· Reduce CUP reporting requirements for small water users.
· Simplify CUP water use type categories and reduce the number of categories from 23 to seven.
A rule adoption hearing was held October 11 at the District’s headquarters in Palatka. The changes become effective Dec. 1, 2011.
Additional information is available on the District’s website at floridaswater.com/meetings as part of item number 44 of the August Governing Board agenda.
Comments may be sent to the District’s Rules Coordinator, Office of General Counsel, St. Johns River Water Management District, 4049 Reid St., Palatka, Florida 32177-2529, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The South Florida water management district is also reviewing its current policies and procedures to see what can and will be changed.
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