By BREWSTER BEVIS,
Industries of Florida
Florida’s water policy continue to take center stage in Tallahassee and in boardrooms and public meetings all around our state. Recognizing Governor DeSantis’ consistent and aggressive efforts to advance policies and funding to conserve and protect our water resources, the Florida Legislature continues to make significant investments and policy updates designed to meet the critical water quality and water quantity needs, including historic investments in resiliency and infrastructure in the state.
The issues surrounding water and environmental policy are of critical importance to the future of Florida. Our business climate, ability to grow as a state and our quality of life are all directly tied to the availability and sustainability of our water resources and a healthy environment. These issues and more will be discussed during the 2023 Florida Water Forum, where attendees will have a unique opportunity to hear from Florida’s top experts, policymakers, and elected leaders about these critical issues.
While the Governor and Legislature continue to prioritize investments, the state’s continued growth creates new challenges to allocate, conserve and protect our water resources.
Recent legislation directed state agencies to develop and update rules relating to potable reuse of reclaimed and recycled water in an effort to grow Florida’s overall water supply. The Army Corps of Engineers continues its work with the state and regional stakeholders to develop a new Lake Okeechobee Operation System Manual – setting the foundation for Everglades Restoration and water supply within the Lake Okeechobee watershed for many years to come.
New challenges and opportunities have entered the discussion as the Legislature passed a law and appropriated resources in the 2022 session, creating a framework for addressing Perfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS). In addition, through policy revisions and significant new investment, the Legislature has prioritized the need for increased resiliency in both our coastal and interior regions of the state.
Updated recommendations from the Blue-Green Algae Taskforce provide new guidance for investment in critical Florida watersheds. In addition, the state is working on updating statewide stormwater rules, which have the potential to significantly impact the cost and manner in which new and existing permits are issued.
Without question, water will continue to be a significant topic during the 2024 Legislative Session. Does Florida continue to confront its water resource challenges with bold measures? The combination of federal and state dollars has made it easier for the Legislature to provide robust funding for critical water initiatives. Will this level of investment continue? How does the Legislature marry the policy and the funding for these critical water policy initiatives? How do these initiatives influence the state, your industry, and your business?
Building on previous successes, the 2023 Florida Water Forum will provide an unmatched venue to interact with policy experts and legislators on the key water and environmental policy issues that affect Florida businesses.