PALATKA, Fla., Nov. 4, 2016 — The stakeholder advisory committee of the North Florida Regional Water Supply Partnership Wednesday unanimously voted to support and recommend approval of the draft regional water supply plan for north Florida to the governing boards of the St. Johns River and Suwannee River water management districts. The committee has served as an advisory body since June 2012 to offer viewpoints from stakeholder groups to the St. Johns River and Suwannee River water management districts and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to help address the region’s water supply challenges. As its final action, the committee then voted to dissolve itself, having completed the tasks for which it was created.
“The draft plan is a result of a four-year process involving dozens of technical staff across two water management districts, with many public meetings and input from a wide variety of stakeholders,” said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle. “This draft plan represents the first joint planning effort between the St. Johns River and Suwannee River water management districts. I’m very pleased with the final product that will be presented to our boards for consideration early next year, and I commend the stakeholder advisory committee for the many hours and miles spent to get us to this point. Job well done!”
“This plan is a testament to the impact we can have through teamwork and collaboration,” said Noah Valenstein, executive director of the Suwannee River Water Management District. “Ensuring adequate water supply for our area and its users is vital to ensuring sustainable growth and the protection of our natural resources.”
“The North Florida Regional Water Supply Partnership is a critical regional effort to ensure sustainable water quantities for a rapidly growing area of the state. This effort is vital and will result in improved coordination on cross-boundary water supply issues,” said Ryan Matthews, director of DEP’s Office of Water Policy. “I applaud the hard work and collaboration of all the committee members and both water management districts on the completion of this important task.”
The North Florida Regional Water Supply Plan (NFRWSP) can be downloaded from http://northfloridawater.com/watersupplyplan/draft.html and is open for public comment through Dec. 5, 2016. The public is asked to use either the comment review form or the comment box on the webpage to submit written comments.
The districts recognize fresh groundwater as the only traditional water supply source within their boundaries and consider other water resources to be nontraditional, or alternative, water supplies. Other water resources considered as potentially available for water supply include surface water, stormwater and seawater.
The plan presents water demand projections through 2035 and identifies potential water resource impacts that could occur if future demand were met solely from existing groundwater supplies. It also identifies potential water management techniques, such as additional water conservation and reuse, and alternative water supply project options that should be sufficient to meet future water needs.
The partnership was created to improve program coordination, scientific tool development and communication among water managers, local governments, concerned individuals and other stakeholders by working together to protect our shared water resources and cost-effective, sustainable water supplies.