What is the purpose of the program?
The program is responsible for developing water quality standards, evaluating water quality in accordance with those standards, and executing programs necessary to restore the quality of waters that do not meet the standards; supporting local governments and other entities financially to protect and restore water resources; restoring Florida's Everglades and other related South Florida ecosystems; and supervising Florida's aquatic preserves. The program also has oversight of the state's five water management districts.
How is the program organized?
The program consists of five program areas.
- The Division of Water Restoration Assistance is responsible for providing financial assistance (grants and loans) for projects that improve water quality and quantity. Projects include improving stormwater quality, reducing pollutants that enter surface water and groundwater (including springs), collecting and treating sanitary wastewater, and producing and distributing drinking water.
- The Office of Ecosystem Projects implements all DEP policy, programmatic, technical, and regulatory responsibilities under the Everglades Forever Act, the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, and the Northern Everglades and Estuaries Protection Program. The program focuses on improving water quality and restoring the ecology and hydrology of the greater South Florida's ecosystem.
- The Division of Environmental Assessment and Restoration works with other department divisions, water management districts, other state agencies, local government, the federal government, the private sector and other stakeholders to identify and reduce the impact of human activities on water quality and restore those waters that have already been identified as impaired.
- The Office of Resilience and Coastal Protection coordinates the protection of the state's coastal resources, including submerged lands and coastal uplands, aquatic preserves, national estuarine research reserves, and coral reef resources.
- The Office of Water Policy addresses statewide water management issues in coordination with the water management districts and other agencies.
What is the relationship between the department and the water management districts?
It is a policy of the Florida Legislature that the state's water resources be managed at a state and regional level. The department is responsible for the administration of water resources at the state level and exercises general supervisory authority over the five water management districts, which administer water resources at the regional level.
The Office of Water Policy
leads in developing appropriate water policies based on statutory direction, overseeing the water management districts and coordinating department and district water programs. The department and the water management districts are responsible for water management in four key areas.
- Water Supply
- Water Quality
- Flood Protection and Floodplain Management
- Natural Systems
In addition, regulatory programs delegated to the water management districts include programs to manage the consumptive use of water, well construction, and environmental resource permitting.
How are the water management districts organized?
How are these activities funded?
Article VII, Section 9
, Constitution of the State of Florida
, authorizes the state's five water management districts to levy ad valorem taxes upon the assessed value of real property within each district's boundaries. The Northwest Florida Water Management District is limited to a constitutional millage cap of 0.05 mill, while the remaining four districts are limited to a maximum of 1.0 mill.
Nature Coast Aquatic Preserve. During the 2020 Legislative session, the Legislature enacted Ch. 2020-136, Laws of Florida. This legislation names the coastal region of Citrus, Hernando, and Pasco counties the "Nature Coast Aquatic Preserve" and establishes this area as an aquatic preserve system under the Florida Aquatic Preserve Act of 1975.
South Florida Water Management District Wetland Acquisition. In May 2020, the South Florida Water Management District acquired 20,000 acres of wetlands in Water Conservation Area 3. This is the largest wetland acquisition in a decade.
Where can I find related OPPAGA reports?
A complete list of related OPPAGA reports is available on our website
Where can I get more information?
What are the applicable statutes?
, 380 Part II
, 403 Part I
, and 403 Part IV
, Florida Statutes.
Whom do I contact for help?