Message from Dr. Ann Shortelle

Water supply plan reaches major milestone

February 27, 2020

CFWI area map

The Central Florida Water Initiative (CFWI) is a collaborative water supply planning effort among the state’s three largest water management districts, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and water utilities, environmental groups, business organizations, agricultural communities and other stakeholders.

The CFWI covers five counties: Orange, Osceola, Polk, Seminole and southern Lake. The boundaries of the St. Johns River, South Florida and Southwest Florida water management districts meet in the area. Since decisions made by one district to pump water from groundwater may have impacts in another district, this coordinated planning and decision making will help ensure we can meet the future water needs of the region together.

There’s a big milestone for this partnership coming up as CFWI releases a draft five-year update to the Regional Water Supply Plan (RWSP) in March. Technical teams and others have been working toward this update since the original plan—Florida’s first joint RWSP—was adopted in 2015.

In preparing the draft 2020 RWSP, teams employed an expanded groundwater model and used a more consistent methodology for water demand projections. Groundwater availability within the region was reassessed, and new project options to support water supply planning have been identified.

After the draft plan is presented to the governing boards of each of the CFWI water management districts in March, there will be four public workshops — April 3 in Orlando, April 7 in Kissimmee, April 23 in Bartow, and April 30 at St. Johns River Water Management District headquarters in Palatka. You can find meeting details by visiting cfwiwater.com/meetings.

Public engagement is key to the success of CFWI, so no matter where you live or work, we encourage you to attend the meeting most convenient for you and offer comment on the draft plan. In addition, our staff is available to present information on the RWSP to interested groups within our District. All public comments will be taken into consideration and included in the plan’s appendix. The final 2020 RWSP will be presented to the governing boards for approval in November.

Thank you to the many partners and members of the public who care about Florida’s water and are helping to plan for our sustainable future.

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