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Water Law

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Dean Mead’s Water Law Practice Area includes a seasoned team of attorneys with decades of experience in water resource management, protection, procurement, and planning. The team is headed by a former board member of the South Florida Water Management, and includes water resource and environmental litigators, counsel with decades of experience in rule development and rule challenges, administrative lawyers in several offices – including Tallahassee – and hands-on familiarity and experience with each of Florida’s five water management districts.  The attorneys at Dean Mead are equipped to provide assistance with pending or proposed applications, administrative litigation, protection of your interests before the legislature, or simply navigating the labyrinth of regulations and requirements at the water management districts, the Department of Environmental Protection, the Army Corps of Engineers, or the Environmental Protection Agency.  Our current clients own well over 1,000,000 acres throughout the state of Florida, and our combined agribusiness and water resource protection experience is unique among Florida’s law firms.

Water use policy and practice are more complex in Florida than any other region in the country.  Water quantity and quality are key to most elements of life in Florida, and Dean Mead attorneys are involved in every aspect.  Whether it is applying for a consumptive use permit for agribusiness, certificating a public utility, working with compliance issues in the urban or agricultural context, or working with clients on new ways to improve water quality, Dean Mead attorneys have been deeply involved with Florida’s water issues for many years.

As Florida implements its new numeric water quality standards, the federal government considers broadening its jurisdiction over wetlands, and as Floridians become more concerned with water quality, the importance of understanding these issues will grow in importance.  While Florida’s history is full of stories of “draining swamps,” its future will involve a delicate balance of the needs of its environment, its economy and its residents.  Dean Mead attorneys have worked with public and private entities – and in partnerships between the two – to uncover ways to balance often conflicting interests.

Our experience includes helping to develop and implement “water farming” solutions, where citrus groves lying fallow from citrus canker and greening are used to hold and store water which would otherwise flow into the Indian River Lagoon.  We have worked with a private landowner from the conceptual stages on a plan to develop a large water storage and treatment area based on natural systems, as well as with private landowners in the negotiation of easements and other agreements which preserve environmentally sensitive lands – recognizing their contribution to environmental health.  We have represented landowners, large and small, throughout Florida in negotiating consumptive use and environmental resource permits, which allow cattle and farming operations, residential and commercial development to operate in balance with the environment, and in compliance with Florida laws and regulations.

Working in a rapidly-evolving area of the law requires involvement in key decision-making initiatives, and regulations as they are being developed.  Our attorneys lend their expertise to the Central Florida Water Initiative (CFWI), a collaborative water supply planning effort to protect, develop, conserve and restore Central Florida’s water resources.  This collaborative effort between Districts, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, utilities and other stakeholders is steadfastly working to develop alternatives and strategies to meet future water demands in Central Florida.  Our attorneys have also advised legislative staff on key water issues and participated in local, regional and watershed-based collaborations to develop plans to deal with Florida’s water issues now and in the future.


Dean Mead’s Agribusiness Team has been assisting clients in Florida to realize value from their land for over 37 years. Michael Minton, Pete Dunbar and Dean Saunders talk about innovative projects and public-private partnerships that are truly making a difference by preserving state water resources for future generations.

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