People recognize and respect city and county borders. Water does not. The South Florida Water Management District is a regional agency committed to ensuring that local perspectives are incorporated into our activities. Strong working relationships between local officials and staff allow us to share and utilize our knowledge, expertise and resources to address shared water and land stewardship responsibilities. Intergovernmental communication, cooperation and coordination are vital to meeting the water resource needs of our communities.
Cooperative Funding Program
For nearly two decades, the District has provided funding to local governments, special districts, utilities, homeowners associations, water users and other public and private organizations for stormwater, alternative water supply and water conservation projects that are consistent with the agency's core mission. The Cooperative Funding Program combines these funding programs into one streamlined program to provide partnership opportunities and financial incentives to implement local projects that complement regional flood control, restoration, water quality and water supply efforts.
Cooperative Funding Program Update
The SFWMD Governing Board authorized funding for the Cooperative Funding Program at its Sept. 8, 2016, meeting, allocating more than $9 million to 71 projects. The list of projects that received funding and guidelines for the program are below.
Stormwater Improvement Projects
Managing stormwater runoff is a District priority that relies on successful local partnerships. When rain falls, South Florida landscapes are designed to channel excess stormwater into retention ponds and stormwater collection systems. Along the way, the stormwater picks up all kinds of pollutants, including fertilizers and pesticides from lawns as well as oils and coolant spilled from roadways and cars. Eventually, that stormwater runoff flows into regional lakes, canals and wetlands, and makes its way more gradually to the aquifers that supply our drinking water.
The stormwater component of the Cooperative Funding Program will share the cost of local projects that address water quality and flooding issues caused by stormwater runoff. Eligible projects should target:
- Areas discharging to an impaired water body
- Areas with Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) allocations
- Areas identified in a Best Management Action Plan (BMAP)
- Areas identified within a Surface Water Improvement and Management Plan
- Areas identified within another regional plan, such as the Caloosahatchee River Watershed Protection Plan, St. Lucie River Watershed Protection Plan or Broward County Integrated Water Resource Plan
Examples of eligible stormwater projects in previous years include stormwater treatment areas, innovative restoration projects that improve water quality, water storage and infrastructure modifications, sediment reduction facilities and stormwater retrofits.
Alternative Water Supply (AWS) Projects
Meeting the growing need for water in South Florida hinges on efforts to develop region-specific sources that offer an alternative to traditional groundwater and surface water. This component of the Cooperative Funding Program is focused on supporting the development of AWS projects that will diversify the supply while reducing dependence on freshwater resources. Examples of alternative water supply are:
- Saltwater or brackish water
- Reclaimed or recycled water
- Surface water captured during heavy rainfalls
- Sources make available through addition of new storage capacity
- Storm water (for use by consumptive use permittee)
- Any other source designated as non-traditional in a regional water supply plan
Eligible AWS projects in previous years have included aquifer storage and recovery (ASR), reclaimed water plant expansions and transmission mains, reverse osmosis plants, brackish water supply wells and tailwater recovery projects.
From Fiscal Years 1997 to 2016, AWS projects totaling approximately $1.5 billion in construction costs received partial funding from the South Florida Water Management District. The District provided approximately $194.6 million in budgeted grants toward 490 alternative water supply projects that produced 435 million gallons of capacity per day.
Water Conservation Projects
Formerly known as the Water Savings Incentive Program (WaterSIP), this component of the Cooperative Funding Program is continuing to support water conservation efforts of public and private water providers or users. Projects that use hardware and/or technology to implement water conservation are eligible for funding consideration.
Examples of eligible water conservation projects in previous years include:
- High-efficiency indoor plumbing retrofits and/or rebates
- Automatic line flushing devices and/or hydrant flushing devices
- Pre-rinse spray valves
- Irrigation retrofits, including soil moisture sensors, rain sensors and irrigation head upgrades
The District encourages industrial, commercial, institutional and agricultural water users, as well as homeowners and condominium associations, to apply for funding.
From Fiscal Years 2003 to 2015, $15.7 million in projects qualifying for WaterSIP were partially funded. The District contributed approximately $5.1 million toward 181 projects with an estimated savings of 2.84 billion gallons of water per year, or 7.8 million gallons of water per day.