Water is a shared natural resource, therefore it is important to plan for its use at a regional level rather than on a county by county or city by city basis. Planning for the future of our water supply is addressed at the regional level by the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD). Guaranteeing that a region as large and as populated as South Florida will have an adequate supply of water for all of its agricultural, commercial, and personal needs in the future is a challenging task. Millions of people use billion gallons of water every day in South Florida. By 2035, thousands of new residents are projected to move here, increasing the demand into the future.
The South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) manages and protects water resources of the South Florida region by balancing and improving water quality, flood control, natural systems and water supply. SFWMD is a regional governmental agency that oversees the water resources in the southern half of the state, covering 16 counties from Orlando to the Florida Keys. It is the oldest and largest of the state's five water management districts. The City of Fort Lauderdale is a SFWMD “Water Management Partner.”
The purpose of water supply planning by SFWMD is to ensure that there is enough water for South Floridian’s in the future, to enhance and restore natural systems and to meet any other current or projected needs. The goal of the planning process is to determine a region’s water needs and develop solutions for those needs. The SFWMD produces regional water supply plan updates every five years, as required by Florida law.The SFWMD’s nearly 18,000 square mile area is divided into five planning regions: Upper Kissimmee, Lower Kissimmee, Upper East Coast, Lower East Coast and Lower West Coast. The City of Fort Lauderdale falls into the Lower East Coast region which is 6,100 square miles in size and composed of several counties: Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade and parts of Monroe, Collier and Hendry counties.
The latest update to the Lower East Coast (LEC) Water Supply Plan was completed in 2013. This is the second update to the 2000 LEC Plan which is based on a 20-year outlook. The 2013 Update assesses projected water demands and potential sources of water for the years 2010 to 2030. This plan update is used by local governments like ours, water users and utility companies to update and modify strategic plans, facility work plans and ordinances. Due to the LEC planning area’s growing population and limited freshwater resources, the 2013 LEC Water Supply Plan Update focuses on other water supply sources, such as reverse osmosis to treat brackish groundwater, reclaimed water, storage options, seasonal surface water and water conservation to address future demands.