Water-Related News

Environmental groups say DEP permitting initiative threatens future water supplies

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By Bruce Ritchie

A Florida Department of Environmental Protection initiative that is intended to create more consistent water-use permitting statewide threatens future water supplies, several environmental groups contend in letters to the department this month.

DEP this week concluded a series of workshops on proposed rules to provide consistency among the state's five water management districts on consumptive-use permitting. Comment letters were due Sept. 14.

Among the proposed rule changes is a requirement that water management districts, as they review permits already issued, not reduce the amount of water-pumping that is allowed.

Those permit "compliance reviews" now are conducted every 10 years for a 20-year permit. DEP issued guidelines to the districts in March telling them any reductions in water use should be rare.