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Linking Land and Water Resources

Decisions local governments make about how land is used can have a substantial impact on water resources. At the same time, water resource issues and policies can support or be at odds with growth management, land use or even climate change planning. To ensure that land and water resource planning efforts at all levels of government are transparent and coordinated as closely as possible, the South Florida Water Management District is working to provide clear, consistent and timely information to the more than 150 local governments (16 counties and 137 cities) within our regional boundaries, as well as the state and federal government. These efforts are ongoing, starting early to prevent potential conflicts by communicating about possible water resource issues and challenges, and continuing this two-way communications as plans are revised and refined.

SFWMD Offers Support and Expertise

The District is providing technical expertise and nurturing strategic collaborations on growth management, land use, water resource and climate change issues and policies. The partnerships are ongoing, starting early in the process to prevent potential conflicts by communicating about possible water resource issues and challenges, and continuing this two-way communications as plans are revised and refined.

These collaborative Intergovernmental partnerships include a wide range of commitments:

Factors we consider when reviewing plans or projects:

This page and associated links provide technical information needed by our partners in short and long-term planning efforts.

Local Government Comprehensive Plan Evaluation and Appraisal Reports

Recognizing that the links between land and water resource decisions at all levels of government needed to be stronger and clearer, the 2005 Florida Legislature made significant modifications to the state's growth management and water supply planning laws. This more robust, mandatory linkage ensures adequate water supply is available before residents move into new developments. The new laws:

  • Increase the focus on and funding for alternative water supplies
  • Improve communication between utilities and planning departments
  • Strengthen the link between water supply plans and land use planning
  • Tie local government's required water supply facility funding 10-year plans to water supply plans
  • Coordinate local government comprehensive planning with regional water supply plans, which are currently being updated by water management districts
  • Links development decisions by local governments to the availability of water

The District's Intergovernmental Policy and Planning group works with the Florida Department of Community Affairs as well as with local, state and federal governments to accomplish this goal. All 16 counties, 137 cities and one special district (Reedy Creek) are required to prepare a Comprehensive Plan for future growth and land use.

Every seven years, local governments must assess how well their adopted comprehensive plan has worked in managing growth and protecting land and water resources. This Evaluation and Appraisal Report suggests how their comprehensive plan should be revised to better address community objectives, changing conditions and trends affecting the community, as well as changes in state requirements. Local governments are required to coordinate with the District to identify issues and concerns at the start of the process.

The District's Intergovernmental Policy and Planning group reviews proposed comprehensive plan amendments and Evaluation and Appraisal Reports and provides comments to the Florida Department of Community Affairs. The Florida Department of Community Affairs reviews the plans for consistency with the state's growth management policies and then provides comments, objections and recommendations to local governments for their consideration. The group also reviews proposed amendments to Strategic Regional Policy Plans prepared by the Regional Planning Councils.

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  • Rod Braun
    (561) 682-2925
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SFWMD Headquarters: 3301 Gun Club Road, West Palm Beach, Florida 33406
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