Senate Bill 948, a priority for Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, appears to have won support from environmental interest groups after some amendments were worked out by sponsor Sen. Denise Grimsley, R-Sebring. The bill has passed out of the Senate Committee on Agriculture. The bill as amended (attached) requires the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS) to establish an agricultural water supply planning program and requires that its plan be taken into consideration by the water management districts in regional water supply planning. It also provides that “self-suppliers” of water such as agriculture be part of the process of water supply planning, that their interests be taken into account, and specifically provides that the districts may work with such self-suppliers in carrying out the districts’ water supply and water quality missions. SB 1684, a broader bill relating to environmental permitting, also contains language requiring water management districts to coordinate with DACS.
Dean Mead’s Agribusiness Industry Team continues to monitor this and other issues relating to Florida Agriculture. If you have questions, please contact Dennis Corrick in our Fort Pierce office at DCorrick@deanmead.com.