About 7.7 million people, plus farms and businesses, use more than 3 billion gallons of water every day in South Florida. By 2025, thousands of new residents are projected to make South Florida their home, increasing demand for fresh water.
At the South Florida Water Management District, we're taking action to address future needs through water supply planning. Ensuring an adequate supply of water to protect, enhance and restore natural systems and to meet all other existing and projected needs is a fundamental element of our mission.
It's a multiyear process and can't be done in isolation. We work closely with other agencies, local governments and utilities, the agricultural industry and environmental interests. Public involvement and understanding of agency responsibilities are critical in developing and implementing long-term plans and strategies. We're also implementing growth management legislation by enhancing coordination with local governments' comprehensive planning and water supply planning, establishing a closer link between development decisions and the availability of water.
The District's nearly 18,000-square-mile area is divided into four distinct planning regions: Kissimmee, Upper East Coast, Lower East Coast and Lower West Coast. Development of comprehensive water supply plans customized to each region is key to identifying and understanding current and future water needs.
Based on a 20-year outlook, these plans provide detailed, basin-specific information and recommended actions. The plans highlight areas where historically used sources of water will not be adequate to meet future demands and evaluates several water source options – including water conservation and alternative water supply – to meet those demands.
Regional water supply plans are updated every five years as required by Florida law, and were last updated in 2006. The Upper East Coast and the Lower West Coast plan update process began in 2009, and the first public workshops were held in December 2009. These two plans are expected to be complete in 2011. Work also has begun on both the Lower East Coast and Kissimmee Basin plan, and completion is planned in 2012.