Regulatory programs help us to better manage and protect regional water resources. The resources include wetlands, rivers, lakes and estuaries as well as groundwater supplies. The South Florida Water Management District's regulatory responsibilities are shared with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and other state and local governments.
To enhance the efficiency of the business process for permit applicants, our ePermitting database offers a quick, simple way to apply for, transfer or submit payment for Environmental Resource, Consumptive Water Use and Works of the District permits. The online system also enables anyone to research the status of permit applications. This convenient access reduces applicant paperwork requirements and postage while shrinking permit processing time to enable faster routing to permit review staff.
Users who register with the service can also sign up to be notified of timely permitting information and access helpful guidelines and assistance.
The types of permits issued by this agency are briefly described below. Click on the permit type in the blue bars below for more detailed information, including how to submit an application for each type of permit.
The South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) issued an emergency order authorizing Florida Power and Light (FPL) to make short-term water withdrawals from the L-31E Canal System in Miami-Dade County for the Turkey Point Power Plant's cooling canal system.
The emergency order allowed for seasonal withdrawals between June 1 and Nov. 30 in 2015. Under the terms of the order, FPL could only use water from the L-31E Canal System in excess of the daily flows reserved for the protection of fish and wildlife in Nearshore Central Biscayne Bay. A water reservation rule for this area reserves for the bay a combined 504 acre-feet per day discharged from the L-31E Canal System through the S-20F, S-20G and S-21A structures.
An Environmental Resource Permit (ERP) is required before beginning any land use or construction activity that could affect wetlands, alter surface water flows or contribute to water pollution. The South Florida Water Management District regulates residential and commercial developments, while the Florida Department of Environmental Protection oversees power plants, wastewater treatment plants and single-family home projects.
An ERP covers activities such as dredging and filling in wetlands, constructing flood protection facilities, providing stormwater containment and treatment, site grading, building dams or reservoirs and other activities affecting state waters. The ERP process is streamlined by combining wetland resources permitting with management and storage of surface waters permitting into a single permit.
These permits are required as part of Everglades Restoration Plans to reduce phosphorus flowing from the Everglades Agricultural Area or the C-139 Basin into the Everglades. Each permit outlines targeted reductions in phosphorus as well as monitoring and reporting requirements and Best Management Practices (BMPs) for private and public landowners in these basins.
These permits are required as part of the Lake Okeechobee Surface Water Improvement and Management (SWIM) Plan to reduce phosphorus flowing into the lake. Each permit outlines target reductions in phosphorus as well as monitoring and reporting requirements and Best Management Practices (BMPs) for private and public landowners in tributary basins of Lake Okeechobee.
These permits allow the holder to withdraw a large but specified amount of water, either from the ground, a canal, a lake or a river. The water can be used for a public water supply; to irrigate crops, nursery plants or golf courses; or for industrial processes. Individual homeowners do not need consumptive water use permits.
The South Florida Water Management District issues two types of consumptive water use permits: general and individual. The following issues are addressed when evaluating an application:
Is the proposed use reasonable and beneficial as defined in Section 373.019 of the Florida Statutes?
Will it interfere with other water users in the vicinity?
These permits ensure that wells are built by licensed water well contractors and conform to water use permit standards.
Our staff must determine if the proposed well(s) will, among other things, provide a reasonable and beneficial use, not adversely impact the environment or any existing legal users, and reflect what was permitted in the water use permit (unless exempt).
A water use permit may be required before the well construction permit can be issued. A water use permit is not required for single-family homes or duplexes (although smaller wells often require a county Health Department permit), firefighting water wells, saltwater use or reclaimed water use.
Right of Way Permits protect the South Florida Water Management District's ability to effectively and safely use the canal and levee rights of way in our regional system while providing for compatible public and private uses such as docks, fences or walkways. The regional system includes canals and levees, major rivers and lakes, water conservation areas, the works of the Big Cypress Basin and certain other canals and rights of way.