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Water Management District Reuse Programs

Northwest Florida WMD | St. John’s River WMD | South Florida WMD | Southwest Florida WMD | Suwannee River WMD 


Northwest Florida Water Management District Reuse Program

The Northwest Florida Water Management District has an integrated approach to encourage and promote reuse of reclaimed water that involves planning, regulation, and cooperative project efforts. The District’s water supply assessments and regional water supply plans address the potential for using reclaimed water as an alternative water supply. Rule Chapter 40A-2, F.A.C., Regulation of Consumptive Uses of Water, promotes utilizing the lowest quality water source that is suitable for the purpose, and in many instances, reclaimed water fulfills this requirement.

Reuse Requirements Inside Water Resource Caution Areas

Non-potable water use permittees located in a Water Resource Caution Area (WRCA) are required to use reclaimed water unless it is determined not to be economically, environmentally, or technically feasible. Chapter 40A-2, F.A.C., states that public supply water use permittees in a WRCA that operate domestic wastewater treatment plants shall provide an analysis of the economic, environmental, and technical feasibility of providing reclaimed water for reuse within five years and of providing reuse of available reclaimed water supplies within 20 years.

Reuse Requirements Outside Water Resource Caution Areas

While reuse efforts are concentrated within WRCAs, the District considers the use of reclaimed water outside of these areas an important resource management strategy. Chapter 40A-2, F.A.C., states that all non-potable water use permittees submit a Reuse Feasibility Information form.

Funding Assistance

The District’s ad valorem revenue is limited by a state constitutional and statutory mil rate cap. To support the development of reclaimed water, the District works with state and local governments, local and regional utilities, and other partners in project development and in seeking funding opportunities that may include local cost-share, state legislative appropriations, state trust fund programs and grants, and/or federal resources.

For more information, please contact the district.

St. Johns River Water Management District Reuse Program

The St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD) Governing Board’s policy is to implement reuse to the maximum extent feasible and provide greater availability of reclaimed water district-wide to conserve available water resources, in accordance with the state of Florida's objective to encourage and promote water conservation and reuse. Therefore, all SJRWMD programs pertaining to reuse - including all pertinent regulatory requirements, planning, coordination efforts and funding programs - are applied district-wide.

Reuse Requirements Inside Water Resource Caution Areas

Subsection 62-40.401(5), F.A.C., requires the water management districts to designate water resource caution areas as regions where reuse would be required if economically, environmentally and technically feasible. Prior to the implementation of Subsection 62-40.401(5), F.A.C., SJRWMD policy and practice already required reuse throughout the district, where available and feasible. Therefore, the SJRWMD Governing Board designated the entire district as a Water Conservation Area to meet the requirements of Subsection 62-40.401(5), F.A.C. The Water Conservation Area designation was changed to Water Resources Caution Area in 1997, to conform with statewide nomenclature, but still covers the entire district.

Chapter 40C-2, FAC, requires reuse of reclaimed water, where feasible for all consumptive use permittees. In addition to requiring reuse where feasible, the SJRWMD CUP program also provides incentives for implementing reuse by including it as a favorable factor when determining permit durations and exempting reclaimed water from restricted outdoor irrigation hours. Where reuse is not currently feasible, most SJRWMD permits include a condition that requires the permittee to implement reuse when it becomes feasible.

The lowest acceptable quality water source, including reclaimed water, which is addressed in paragraph 40C-2.301(4)(f), F.A.C., must be utilized for each consumptive use. To use a higher quality water source, an applicant must demonstrate that the use of all lower quality water sources will not be economically, environmentally or technically feasible. If the applicant demonstrates that the use of a lower quality water source would result in environmental impacts that outweigh water savings, a higher quality source may be utilized.

Reuse Requirements Outside Water Resource Caution Areas

SJRWMD has designated the whole district as a Water Resource Caution Area.

Funding Assistance

SJRWMD has several cost-sharing programs throughout the year for projects that assist in creating sustainable water resources, providing flood protection and enhancing conservation efforts. Funding may be available for local governments, agricultural interests and other entities. 

For more information, please contact the district.

South Florida Water Management District Reuse Program

The South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) is a regional governmental agency that oversees the water resources in the southern half of the state, covering 16 counties from Orlando to the Florida Keys. The SFWMD has developed an approach to encourage and promote reuse of reclaimed water involving planning, regulation, cooperative funding, and other coordination and cooperative efforts. The reuse program has been aggressive and successful in the utilization of reclaimed water.

The rules in Chapter 40E-2, F.A.C., provide the foundation for the district’s regulatory reuse policies. All water use permit applicants within the SFWMD are required to address the use of reclaimed water as part of obtaining a permit for water use. For water users, this involves evaluating the use of reclaimed water as a water source. For public water suppliers, who directly or indirectly control a wastewater treatment facility, this involves implementing a feasible reuse program. The SFWMD issues water use permits with durations of up to 20 years. One factor considered in determining the duration of a permit is the development of alternative water sources, including the use of reclaimed water.

Reuse Requirements Inside Critical Water Supply Problem Areas

Critical Water Supply Problem Areas (aka Water Resource Caution Areas) include all or part of 12 of the SFWMD’s 16 counties. Pursuant to Chapter 40E-23, F.A.C., reclaimed water is required to be used in these areas unless it is demonstrated by the water use permit applicant that reuse is not environmentally, economically or technically feasible.

Additional clarification of district policy regarding reuse inside the Critical Water Supply Problem Areas is found in Section 3.2.3 (Reclaimed Water Use Criteria) of the Basis of Review.

Reuse Requirements Outside Critical Water Supply Problem Areas

In those areas of the district that are not designated a Critical Water Supply Problem Area, reclaimed water must be used in place of higher quality water sources when reclaimed water is readily available, unless it is demonstrated by the water use permit applicant that reuse is not feasible.

Funding Assistance

The district’s planning and regulatory efforts are complemented by an Alternative Water Supply Funding Program that provides funding to local governments, public or private utilities, and other users for projects which develop alternative water supplies or promote water conservation.

For more information, please contact the district.

Southwest Florida Water Management District Reuse Program

Reuse Requirements Inside Water Resource Caution Areas

The Southwest Florida Water Management District(SWFWMD) has declared four water resource caution areas. The rules in Chapter 40D-2, F.A.C., provide the foundation for the district’s regulatory reuse policies. Domestic wastewater treatment facilities located in, serving a population within, or discharging to water resource caution areas must investigate the feasibility of water reuse. If it is determined feasible, then reclaimed water must be used. If reclaimed water becomes available, water use permittees must accept it (provided that the quantity and quality are acceptable for intended use, and use is technically, environmentally and economically feasible). Download the Economic Feasibility of Reclaimed Water Use by Non-Utility Water Use Permittees and Applicants.

Water use permittees who generate reclaimed water must submit an annual report to the district summarizing the quantity of wastewater generated, the quantity of reclaimed water reused, a list of reclaimed water customers and a map depicting the reuse service area. Water users who receive reclaimed water must also submit an annual report that gives an account of their use of reclaimed water.

Reuse Requirements Outside Water Resource Caution Areas

In areas outside of water resource caution areas, Chapter 40D-2, F.A.C., requires applicants to use the lowest quality water available, including reclaimed water, for the proposed use if technically, environmentally and economically feasible.

Funding Assistance

SWFWMD’s Cooperative Funding Initiative Program provides financial assistance to local governments and utilities for water resource related projects, including reclaimed water projects. Typically 50 percent of the cost of design and construction, pumping, storage, transmission, distribution, related appurtenances, and the development of reuse master plans is funded.

The district has developed a comprehensive reclaimed water web page to assist suppliers and users in maximizing available reclaimed water resources. 

For more information, please contact the district.   

Suwannee River Water Management District Reuse Program

The Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD) is committed to developing alternative water supply programs with both public and private partners. Project development focus will balance the needs of our communities and natural systems. Alternative water supply funding is directed to partnerships that foster collaborative efforts in addressing resource issues.

Cost-share funding is made available to communities and other water users that have identified needs and have provided appropriate assurances the project will be implemented where fiscally practicable.

Reuse Requirements Inside Water Resource Caution Areas

Water Resource Recovery Areas. For projects located either wholly or in part within water resource recovery areas, the district shall presume that the use of alternative water supplies is feasible and must be implemented consistent with 3.2 of the District’s Water Use Permitting Guide. Applicants shall coordinate with the district to identify alternative water supplies.

Water Resource Caution Areas: For projects located either wholly or in part within water resource caution areas, the applicant shall provide a feasibility assessment for alternative water supplies. The following criteria will be used to demonstrate feasibility:

  1. Environmental Feasibility: The use of an alternative water supply is considered environmentally feasible if the source is permitted or permittable under Chapter 373 or Chapter 403, FS.
  2. Technical Feasibility: The use of an alternative water supply is considered technically feasible if an uncommitted, adequate supply of alternative water supply is available at the site of the proposed use to meet all or part of the applicant's water needs. Determination of technical feasibility will be based on the following:
    • An uncommitted supply of alternative water supply means the average amount of alternative water produced during the three lowest-flow months minus the amount of alternative water that the provider is contractually obligated to provide to another user.
    • In the event the uncommitted supply of alternative water is not adequate to meet the project's demands, the applicant may request a partial allocation of water from a traditional source. However, such partial allocation will not exceed the amount necessary to compensate for the shortfall in uncommitted water supply, considering total project demands calculated pursuant to this guide.
    • Available at the project site means that the supplier has initially provided the distribution facilities to the project boundary. In the event distribution lines are not provided at the project boundary, the applicant must provide an assessment of extending the lines as part of the economic feasibility analysis.
  3. Economic Feasibility: If the applicant asserts that the use of an alternative water supply is not economically feasible, the applicant must provide the district with an assessment of the economic feasibility. The applicant's economic feasibility analysis must include all of the following:

    • Capital and operation and maintenance costs,
    • Adjustment in the fees and rates charged by the applicant to account for the increased costs associated with using a alternative water supply, and
    • Design life of the alternative water supply system as compared with the time required to recover the capital cost.

Reuse Requirements Outside Water Resource Caution Areas

The applicant shall provide a feasibility assessment for alternative water supplies. The following criteria will be used to demonstrate feasibility:

  1. Environmental Feasibility: The use of an alternative water supply is considered environmentally feasible if the source is permitted or permittable under Chapter 373 or Chapter 403, FS.
  2. Technical Feasibility: The use of an alternative water supply is considered technically feasible if an uncommitted, adequate supply of alternative water is available at the site of the proposed use to meet all or part of the applicant's water needs. Determination of technical feasibility will be based on the following:
    • An uncommitted supply of alternative water means the average amount of alternative water produced during the three lowest-flow months minus the amount of alternative water that the provider is contractually obligated to provide to another user.
    • In the event the uncommitted supply of alternative water is not adequate to meet the project's demands, the applicant may request a partial allocation of water from a traditional source. However, such partial allocation will not exceed the amount necessary to compensate for the shortfall in uncommitted water supply, considering total project demands calculated pursuant to this guide.
    • Available at the project site means that the supplier has initially provided the distribution facilities to the project boundary. In the event distribution lines are not provided at the project boundary, the applicant must provide an assessment of extending the lines as part of the economic feasibility analysis.
  3. Economic Feasibility: If the applicant asserts that the use of an alternative water supply is not economically feasible, the applicant must provide the district with an assessment of the economic feasibility. The applicant's economic feasibility analysis must include all of the following:
    • Capital and operation and maintenance costs,
    • Adjustment in the fees and rates charged by the applicant to account for the increased costs associated with using an alternative water supply, and
    • Design life of the alternative water supply system as compared with the time required to recover the capital.

Funding Assistance

The district provides cooperative funding programs and grant opportunities for projects that focus on ensuring adequate and sustainable water supply, improving and maintaining good water quality, restoring and protecting natural systems, and providing flood protection.

For more information, please contact the district

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Last Modified:
September 9, 2020 - 9:24am

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