The Southwest Florida Water Management District Governing Board approved an important water supply plan for Central Florida in November. The strategy charts a long-term course of more aggressive water conservation, expanded and more efficient water reuse projects and alternative water-supply project options to ensure adequate water supplies for the region through 2035. The plan was developed as part of the Central Florida Water Initiative (CFWI), which includes Orange, Osceola, Polk, Seminole and south Lake counties.
Water supply plans identify future water supply needs for a 20-year planning horizon, and programs and projects needed to ensure sustainable supplies. However, the plans do not require that specific projects be implemented. Decisions to choose project options are made at the local level by water supply utilities. The RWSP was also approved by the St. John and South Florida’s Water Management District‘s Governing Boards. The CFWI is a collaborative effort that engages three water management districts, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, central Florida utilities and stakeholders representing agricultural interests, the business community, local governments and the environmental community. The CFWI process identified project options that can meet the region’s future water supply needs.
The plans represent more than five years of a coordinated effort led by the CFWI involving many experts in the fields of water supply and water management. More than 6,000 stakeholders participated in the process by attending public meetings and providing comments that helped shape the plans.