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Minimum Flows and Levels
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2014 Water Body Priority List - Learn More

Requirements for minimum flows and levels for Florida's water bodies prevent significant harm by permitted water withdrawals.

One of the ways in which the South Florida Water Management District is working to protect and conserve Florida's water resources is through the minimum flows and levels (MFLs) program. Establishing MFLs is an important step in the District's work of planning for adequate water supplies while also protecting water resources from significant harm. In South Florida, minimum levels have been established for lakes, wetlands and aquifers. Minimum flows have been set for rivers, streams and estuaries.

MFLs are defined as the minimum water levels and/or flows, adopted by the District Governing Board, required to prevent significant harm to the water resources resulting from water withdrawals that are permitted by the District. MFLs define how often and for how long high, average and low water levels and/or flows should occur to prevent significant harm. When use of water resources alter the water levels below the defined MFLs, significant ecological harm can occur.

Establishing MFLs for all of South Florida is an ongoing effort. The Priority Water Body List and Schedule is submitted annually to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. The District publishes a draft technical document summarizing the methods, models and data that provide the MFLs scientific basis. This document is then subject to scientific peer review by an independent panel of experts. It also includes a series of public rule development workshops that allow interested stakeholders opportunities to provide comments on the draft technical document and proposed draft rule language prior to Governing Board approval and incorporation into District rules. The MFL is then implemented through the District's consumptive use permitting and water supply planning program.

 

 
Frequently Asked Questions
Why set MFLs? »

Why are MFLs important? »

How are MFLs determined? »

How are MFLs adopted? »

How are MFLs applied? »

 
 
Related Documents – MFL Rule Development Supporting Documentation
 
Lake Okeechobee, Northern Biscayne Aquifer and the Everglades
 
Lower West Coast Aquifer
 
St. Lucie River & Estuary
 
Caloosahatchee River & Estuary
 
Northwest Fork of the Loxahatchee River
 
Florida Bay
 
Lake Istokpoga
 

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If you would like additional information on MFLs in the 16-county jurisdiction of the South Florida Water Management District, contact

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SFWMD Headquarters: 3301 Gun Club Road, West Palm Beach, Florida 33406
561-686-8800 | 1-800-432-2045 (Florida Only)