Download Highlights of 2010 Accomplishments (98-page PDF; 872KB) –
A summary of accomplishments and goals carrying out our mission while meeting expanding statutory responsibilities in Florida Statutes.
The District’s mission is maintaining the balance between the water needs of current and future users as well as protecting and maintaining natural systems.
The Governing Board of the Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) is the agency head. As set forth in Section 373.073, Florida Statutes (F.S.), Board members are appointed by the Governor, subject to confirmation by the Florida Senate, and serve staggered four-year terms. The Board meets on the last Tuesday of every month, unless otherwise announced. The Board establishes policy and provides direction on a wide range of programs, initiatives, and actions, to carry out the District’s duties and responsibilities under Chapter 373, F.S., and several delegated portions of Chapter 403, F.S.
District programs include, but are not limited to, structural and non-structural flood control, regulatory programs, water conservation, water resource planning and water supply development, associated data collection and analysis efforts, land acquisition, and education. The Governing Board employs an Executive Director who is charged with overseeing the day-to-day activities of the District. The Executive Director is subject to approval by the Governor and confirmation by the Florida Senate.
The following statement of the District’s organization and operation reflects the District’s organizational structure as of September 30, 2011. Since that date, the District has been undergoing a restructuring of functions and staff reduction efforts that, when completed, will result in a reorganization of the agency. Consequently, portions of the following statement of agency organization and operation may no longer be accurate. A revised statement of agency organization and operation will be made available when the District’s reorganization is finalized. In the interim, please direct any questions as to agency operations or organization to the Office of Executive Director.
The District functions through the following units. Each of these units carries out the District’s duties and responsibilities under Chapter 373, F.S. and the delegated portions of Chapter 403, F.S.
Office of Executive Director
The Office of Executive Director contains the Executive Office, Office of Inspector General, Office of General Counsel, and the Division of Outreach, Planning and Board Services, which include the Community and Legislative Affairs Department, Communications Department, and the Planning Department. The Office of Executive Director is responsible for the overall management of the District and implementation of District policy, rules, plans, studies and programs and for monitoring legislation related to District areas of concern. This office also offers legal support to all departments, information services to the public, and communication with local governments and other governmental agencies. Additionally, this office coordinates planning efforts with local governments to integrate the District’s activities with growth management activities.
Division of Resource Regulation
The Division of Resource Regulation contains the Brooksville, Tampa, Bartow, and Sarasota Regulation Departments, the Strategic Program Office and the Performance Management Office. The regulation departments process surface water, water use, and well construction permit applications and are responsible for addressing permitting compliance issues. Regulation Department duties include reviewing permit applications, monitoring permitted activities, enforcing District rules and permit conditions, and maintaining regulatory records for the District. The Performance Management Office is responsible for monitoring the efficiency and effectiveness of the permitting and compliance programs within Resource Regulation and is tasked with identifying and eliminating duplication and waste, using technology to build stable and efficient processes and conducting process improvement projects. Other responsibilities include implementing and monitoring adherence to new rules, modification to rules, and internal operating procedures within Resource Regulation. The Strategic Program Office provides technical and scientific expertise and training related to environment, hydrogeology, engineering, well construction, compliance matters and rulemaking. It also provides the official District interpretation of existing rules when necessary to address any technical discrepancies, and provides guidance and standard operating procedures to promote consistency in regulatory practices. A well construction regulation section located within the Brooksville Regulation Department administers the District’s on-line well construction permitting, maintains records of well construction permits and licensed well contractors, administers the licensing exam for well contractors and offers well contractor point-reduction workshops and well construction biannual seminars. The Division of Resource Regulation is responsible for implementing District Rule Chapters 40D-1, 40D-2, 40D-3, 40D-4, 40D-8, 40D-21, 40D-40, 40D-80 and 40D-400, F.A.C.
Division of Resource Management
The Division of Resource Management contains the Land Resources Department, Resource Projects Department, Resource Data and Restoration Department, and Operations Department. This unit is responsible for acquisition and management of District lands and surveying services. This unit also collects and stores climatic and water data, monitors surface-water and groundwater quality; manages the program which monitors aquifer levels and the saltwater/freshwater interface; manages the program that assists property owners with plugging abandoned artesian wells; maintains the geographic information system and aerial mapping program; provides environmental planning and assessment through engineering, hydrologic and hydraulic research and analyses and investigations; provides water resource and environmental restoration projects; undertakes research and development of minimum flows and levels for surface waters and groundwater within the District; supervises construction projects that focus on flooding, water quality, and natural systems protection; provides repair to water control and flood control structures and salinity barriers; and provides aquatic and exotic plant control. This unit administers the District’s implementation of the Surface Water Improvement and Management Program. This unit manages the Cooperative Funding Program and the New Water Sources Initiative (NWSI), which are programs funded by the District and cooperators. The funds are used for projects that develop sustainable supplies of water. This unit administers the Facilitating Agricultural Resource Management Systems (FARMS) program, which is an agricultural best management practices cost-share reimbursement program to address water quality and the conservation, restoration or augmentation of water resources. This unit also manages water conservation information and programs as well as water shortage coordination and year-round water conservation measures established or promoted by the District. The Division of Resource Management implements District Rule Chapters 40D-8, 40D-9, 40D-21, 40D-22, 40D-26 and 40D-80, F.A.C.
Division of Management Services
The Division of Management Services contains the Finance Department, General Services Department, Human Resources and Risk Management Department and the Information Resources Department. This unit is responsible for providing administrative support for the District in the areas of finance, accounting, and contract administration; maintaining the District’s technical library, inventory center, records, facilities and vehicles; supporting District staff with videography and audio-visual services; administering the benefits program for District staff; assuring that human resource policy and procedures are in compliance with federal and state laws; assisting with preparation of classifications and descriptions of District staff positions, recruiting new staff, training of staff, maintaining employee relations; maintaining the District’s computer hardware, software, and telecommunications infrastructure; and handling the District’s insurance, risk management and safety needs, including loss prevention and loss control.
Permit and License Applications
The District has adopted standardized forms to be used in applying for District-issued permits and licenses. Permit application and license application forms may be obtained from the District’s website at WaterMatters.org/permits as well as from the Brooksville Headquarters or any of the District service offices. The Brooksville Service Office, located at District Headquarters, processes permit applications for activities in Hernando, Pasco, Citrus, Lake, Levy, Marion, and Sumter counties (except for well construction permits for wells located in Marion County). The Bartow Service Office processes permit applications for activities in Polk, Highlands and Hardee counties. The Tampa Service Office processes permit applications for activities in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties. The Sarasota Service Office processes permit applications for activities in Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte, and DeSoto counties (except for well construction permits in Sarasota and Manatee counties). The well construction regulation unit within the Brooksville Service Office processes applications for well contractor licenses and license renewals.
The District publishes notice of receipt of all environmental resource and water use permit applications on the District’s website at WaterMatters.org/permits. Each District service office also maintains a computer terminal available to the public for use in reviewing listings of environmental resource and water use permit applications received as well as for searching pending permit applications and issued permits. Permit and license applications may be submitted by mail or delivery to the appropriate District service office for processing. Applications for most District permits and licenses are also accepted and processed through the District’s on-line permitting portal available at WaterMatters.org/e-permits. The District continues to expand the capabilities of its on-line permitting system, a component of the Water Management Information System (WMIS). As of the preparation of this Statement of Agency Organization and Operation, the WMIS on-line permitting portal is available for submittal of well construction and water use permit applications as well as for submittal of related permit compliance reports and documents. The District currently plans to begin accepting environmental resource permit applications through WMIS in 2010.
On-line applicants seeking permits or licenses from the District and persons submitting permit compliance reports and documents through the on-line portal are required to review and accept the District’s Electronic Transaction Agreement in order to have access to the WMIS system. This Agreement specifies the terms and conditions for doing business with the District through electronic means.
For well construction permits, applications that are not submitted on line can be submitted to the District service office responsible for the county in which the well is or will be located, except in those counties where the District has delegated responsibility for well construction permitting to a local authority. The District has delegated responsibility for well construction permitting to Manatee, Marion and Sarasota counties. In Sarasota County and Marion County, well construction permitting is administered by the County Health Department. In Manatee County, well construction permitting is administered by the Manatee County Natural Resources Department. Persons wishing to obtain well construction permits in those counties should visit the appropriate county department or go on-line at WaterMatters.org/e-permits to access the well construction permitting portal.
District Office Information
District offices are open for business Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., except for recognized holidays and emergency closings. District office locations are as follows:
Southwest Florida Water Management District
2379 Broad Street
Brooksville, FL 34604-6899
(352) 796-7211 or 1-800-423-1476 (FL only)
TDD: 1-800-231-6301 (FL only)
Bartow Service Office
170 Century Boulevard
Bartow, FL 33830
(863) 534-1448 or 1-800-492-7862 (FL only)
Tampa Service Office
7601 US Highway 301 North
Tampa, FL 33637
(813) 985-7481 or 1-800-836-0797 (FL only)
Sarasota Service Office
6750 Fruitville Road,
Sarasota, Fl 34240-9711
(941) 377-3722 or 1-800-320-3503 (FL only)
Public Information and Inspection of Records
After reading the public records information below, a public records request can be submitted to the District’s Document Services/Public Records Section, or call (352) 796-7211 or 1-800-423-1476 (FL only), ext. 4053.
- All public records, as defined by Section 119.011(1), F.S., maintained by the District, and not otherwise exempt by law, may be copied or inspected at reasonable times and under reasonable conditions. Any member of the public wishing to inspect and copy District public records may contact any District employee who may have custody of the records. Upon receipt of a public records request, the District employee receiving the request will contact the appropriate Department Records Coordinator. The coordinator will determine the location and supervise the compilation of the records. Inspection and copying of District public records must be done at the office (Brooksville Headquarters, Tampa Service Office, Bartow Service Office, or Sarasota Service Office) where the records are located. All records will be provided in the form of media in which they are maintained (e.g. paper form, computer files, video tapes, audio tapes) and duplication of the records will be in the same media.
- Any person requesting to copy public records may bring their own means of duplication (e.g., computer disks and photocopier) to the District to duplicate the records. Otherwise, there are charges for duplication of District public records, as prescribed by District Procedure 13-2 . A copy of this policy may be obtained also by calling (352) 796-7211 or 1-800-423-1476 (FL only), ext. 4053. Fees may be paid in cash, money order, cashier’s check or personal check. All fees must be paid in advance before the requested copies will be released to the requester.
- As prescribed by Section 119.07(1)(b), F.S., when the nature or volume of records requires extensive clerical or supervisory assistance by District personnel, or extensive use of information technology resources, the District may charge, in addition to the actual cost of duplication, a reasonable charge based on the cost incurred by the District in providing the service.
Publications and Documents
The District maintains a variety of reports, plans and other publications that are available to the public. Many documents can be downloaded from the District’s website for free or may be ordered and sent at no cost to residents of the District. For a listing of informational documents available through the District’s library or on-line, visit the District’s website at WaterMatters.org/documents.
The Agency Clerk for the District is the Executive Director. The Agency Clerk’s duties include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Dating and filing all orders entered by the Board or the Executive Director;
- Forwarding copies of all orders rendered after a proceeding affecting a substantial interest to the District’s official reporter located at the Brooksville headquarters;
- Acting as the "Clerk of the Lower Tribunal" for purposes of the Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure;
- Receiving and filing the original of any pleading (filing of legal documents) received by the District;
- Transmitting all necessary files to the Division of Administrative Hearings upon transfer of a matter to the Division;
- Appointing such deputy clerks as are necessary to perform any of the duties of the Agency Clerk; and
- Performing such other duties as may be authorized by the District Governing Board or by District rules.
The Executive Director has appointed a number of Deputy Clerks to whom he has delegated many of the above duties.
Filing of Legal Documents
The District’s hours of operation at all of its offices are 8:00 a. m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except for recognized holidays and emergency closings. Legal documents to be filed with the District will be accepted during these hours.
Any document required to be filed with the District may be filed by hand delivery, U.S. Mail or other mail delivery service (addressed to: Agency Clerk, 2379 Broad Street, Brooksville, FL 34604-6899), or by facsimile transmission to the Agency Clerk at (352) 754-6874. The District does not accept filings by electronic mail.
Documents filed with the Agency Clerk by facsimile transmission are subject to the following requirements pursuant to Section 28-101.001, F.A.C.:
- A party who files a document by facsimile transmission must represent that the original physically signed document will be retained by that party for the duration of the proceeding and of any subsequent appeal or subsequent proceeding in that cause, and that the party will produce it upon the request of other parties.
- A party who elects to file a document by facsimile transmission is responsible for any delay, disruption, or interruption of the electronic signals and accepts the full risk that the document may not be properly filed with the Agency Clerk as a result.
- The filing date for a facsimile-transmitted document is the date the Agency Clerk receives the complete document. Any document received by the Agency Clerk after 5:00 p.m. shall be filed as of 8:00 a.m. on the next regular business day.
Variances From or Waiver of Agency Rules
Strict application of uniformly applicable rule requirements can, at times, lead to unreasonable, unfair or unintended results in particular circumstances. Consequently, Section 120.542, F.S., authorizes the District to grant a variance from or waiver of requirements set forth in District rules, consistent with the provisions of that statute and Uniform Rules of Procedure Chapter 28-104, F.A.C. Persons, such as permit applicants and permittees who inquire about the possibility of relief from a District rule will be provided with a letter explaining their rights to request a variance or waiver under Section 120.542, F.S., a copy of the statute and a copy of Chapter 28-104, F.A.C. For most District rules, persons who wish to seek a variance from or waiver of a rule requirement must file a written petition for a variance or waiver with the District’s Agency Clerk, and send a copy of the petition to the Legislature’s Joint Administrative Procedures Committee, Room 120, Holland Building, Tallahassee, FL 32399-1300. See the Agency Clerk section above concerning requirements for filing documents with the Agency Clerk. Variances or waivers are granted by the District Governing Board, unless such authority has been delegated to the District Executive Director or other designated staff.
Emergency Variance or Waiver
Agencies are required to grant or deny a petition for variance or waiver within 90 days after receipt of the original petition, the last item of timely requested additional material, or the petitioner’s written request to finish processing the petition. When persons are seeking emergency relief from a District rule, the District will grant or deny a petition for variance or waiver within 45 days of its receipt by the District.
For more information concerning variances or waivers of District rule requirements, contact the District’s Office of General Counsel at the District’s Brooksville Headquarters, (352) 796-7211 or 1-800-423-1476 (FL only), ext. 4568.
Year-Round Water Conservation Measures
The District’s Year-Round Water Conservation Measures for irrigation and other water uses, which include regulations assigning specific days of the week and hours of the day for lawn watering and other irrigation uses, are set forth in Chapter 40D-22, F.A.C. To request a special lawn watering schedule or any other variance from the District’s Year-Round Water Conservation Measures, a petition for a variance must be filed with the District’s Demand Management Program, located at the District’s Tampa Service Office, 7601 U.S. Highway 301 North, Tampa, FL 33637-6759. The same application form that is used to petition for a variance from Orders declared pursuant to the District’s Water Shortage Plan may be used to petition for variance from the District’s Year-Round Water Conservation Measures (see above). A petition for variance from these measures will not be considered complete unless it meets the requirements of Section 120.542, F.S., and Chapter 28-104, F.A.C. Relief from provisions of a local government ordinance imposing similar or more stringent measures must be made by filing a petition with such local government. For more information, contact the District’s Demand Management Program at the Tampa Service Office by calling 1-800-848-0499 (FL only).
Water Well Construction Rules
Persons who believe that compliance with the District’s rules for regulating water wells (Chapter 40D-3, F.A.C.) will result in an undue hardship in the construction, repair, modification or abandonment of a specific water well may request a variance for the well. To do so, a written request must be submitted to the Well Construction Regulation Manager, who has been designated by the Executive Director to act on such requests for variances, at the District’s Brooksville Headquarters, 2379 Broad Street, Brooksville, FL 34604-6899. Variances will be granted if the request is not contrary to accepted practices of public health and sanitary engineering, will not adversely affect the water resource and will be the minimum variation necessary to ameliorate the hardship. For more information, contact the Well Construction Regulation unit by calling 352-796-7211 ext. 4305 or 1-800-423-1476 (FL only), ext. 4305. See also Rule 40D-1.1001, F.A.C., concerning the requirements for obtaining a variance from water well construction rules for a specific well.
Water Shortage Plan
Chapter 40D-21, F.A.C., sets forth the District’s Water Shortage Plan required under subsection 373.246(1), F.S., and includes restrictions and other response mechanisms pursuant to Section 373.175, F.S. The Water Shortage Plan outlines the means by which water apportionments and reductions will be made during droughts and other declared water shortages, including regulations assigning specific days of the week and hours of the day for lawn watering and other irrigation uses which are more stringent than those set forth in Chapter 40D-22, F.A.C. Provisions of the plan are implemented by declaration of a water shortage (Water Shortage Order) or a water shortage emergency (Executive Director Order).
To request a special watering schedule or any other variance from the District’s Water Shortage Plan, a petition for variance must be filed with the District’s Demand Management Program, located at the Tampa Service Office, 7601 U.S. Highway 301 North, Tampa, FL 33637-6759. Petitioners may use the Petition for Variance application form provided by the District. A petition for variance will not be considered complete unless it meets conditions set forth in section 40D-1.1002 (2), F.A.C. Relief from provisions of a local government ordinance imposing similar or more stringent restrictions must be made by filing a petition with such local government. For more information, or to arrange facsimile transmission of a petition, please contact the District’s Demand Management Program at the Tampa Service Office by calling 1-800-848-0499 (FL only).
Other Delegations of Authority That May Affect the Public
The Governing Board has delegated to the Executive Director and designated Resource Regulation Department staff the authority to issue all water use and environmental resource or surface water permits and to approve any petitions for variance from or waiver of such permitting requirements. If a permit application or petition for variance or waiver from permitting requirements is being processed for denial, the applicant or petitioner will be afforded an opportunity to request that the application or petition be referred to the Governing Board for final action.
The Executive Director is delegated authority for the general administration of Chapter 40D-3, F.A.C., which concerns well construction permitting and water well contractor licensing and regulation. The Executive Director has designated the Well Construction Regulation Manager and other delegated staff to carry out the various tasks required for administering Chapter 40D-3, F.A.C. The Governing Board has delegated implementation of the District’s well construction permitting program to Manatee, Marion and Sarasota counties for wells located in those counties. Marion County and Sarasota County administer the program through their respective Health Departments, whereas Manatee County administers well construction permitting through its Natural Resources Department.
The Governing Board has delegated to the Executive Director, Executive Director for Resource Regulation, Regulation Department Directors, and the Demand Management Program Manager (formerly referred to as the Demand Management Coordinator) the authority to take final action on petitions for variances from the District’s Year-Round Water Conservation Measures and Orders issued pursuant to the District’s Water Shortage Plan. In practice, the majority of petitions are acted upon directly by the Demand Management Program Manager. The Governing Board has also delegated to the Regulation Department Directors the authority to take final action on petitions for formal determination of wetlands and other surface waters.
The Governing Board has delegated authority to the Executive Director to approve certain consent orders to resolve routine regulatory violations. The Executive Director is authorized to approve consent orders addressing the failure to submit documents required by environmental resource and water use permits and consent orders involving all well contractor or well construction violations. This delegation also includes the authority to initiate litigation to enforce the terms of any consent order not complied with by the violator. If a case is determined to be controversial, the consent order will be presented to the Governing Board for approval.
The District’s General Counsel is delegated the authority to take action on a request for an extension of time to file a petition for an administrative hearing challenging a District action. The General Counsel is also delegated authority to act in the following situations: when a timely and sufficient petition is received, to refer the petition to the Division of Administrative Proceedings; when a timely insufficient petition is received, to enter an order dismissing the petition without prejudice and granting leave to file an amended petition; and when a petition has been dismissed without prejudice and no amended petition is filed, to enter a final order dismissing the petition with prejudice.
In settlement of civil court cases involving the District, the Executive Director is authorized to approve the making or acceptance of a proposal for settlement in an amount up to and including $25,000 in District funds without specific Governing Board approval. The Governing Board chair, on behalf of the Board, may approve the making or acceptance of a proposal for settlement in an amount greater than $25,000 in District funds if the matter requires immediate action and cannot be delayed to present at the next regularly scheduled Board meeting. In all other situations, the Governing Board must approve a settlement of a civil action prior to filing with the court.
The Governing Board has delegated to the District’s Land Resources Director and designated staff the authority to issue, deny or revoke Special Use Authorizations for activities on District lands, as administered pursuant to Chapter 40D-8, F.A.C.
Americans with Disabilities Act and discrimination in federally funded programs public grievance procedure
The District does not discriminate on the basis of disability. This nondiscrimination policy involves every aspect of the District’s functions, including access to and participation in the District’s programs and activities. The District designates the Human Resources Director as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Compliance Coordinator. Anyone requiring reasonable accommodation as provided for in the Americans with Disabilities Act should contact the District’s Human Resources Director, 2379 Broad Street, Brooksville, Florida 34604-6899; telephone (352) 796-7211, ext. 4702 or 1-800-423-1476 (FL only), ext. 4702; TDD 1-800-231-6103 (FL only); or email to ADACoordinator@WaterMatters.org. Learn more about our public grievance procedure and policy as relates to the Americans with Disabilities Act and discrimination in District programs and activities.