TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Jan. 15, 2016 – The Florida House overwhelmingly approved a statewide water-policy bill strongly backed by Florida Realtors heading into the 2016 legislative session. A day earlier, the Florida Senate unanimously supported the bill.
The bill (SB 552) was sent to Gov. Rick Scott for his signature, which is expected, and he has until Jan. 21, 2016, to sign it. Lawmakers have worked to advance the bill for more than two years.
"Passage of SB 552 provides a strong foundation for a comprehensive statewide policy that addresses key aspects of water management, water quality and water supply," says Carrie O'Rourke, Florida Realtors vice president of public policy.
"Florida's Realtors are passionate about the state's water resources," O'Rourke adds. "No matter where you live in Florida, there's a body of water that is a part of your community. We thank members of the House and Senate for passing this great bill."
Florida Realtors 2016 Talking Points outlined the soon-to-be law's benefits:
- It creates the Florida Springs and Aquifer Protection Act. The objective is to put programs in place that protect and restore water flow and water quality in the Florida aquifer, a massive body of fresh water than flows through porous rocks below the surface. The programs will also improve conditions at "outstanding Florida Springs."
- The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), in cooperation with water management districts and other regional water supply authorities, will operate by a set of statewide standards for collecting and analyzing water supplies and water quality. Operating by one set of standards will ensure reliable data.
- It establishes water flow levels for the state's natural springs, and DEP will oversee pollution control measures for Lake Okeechobee, the Caloosahatchee Estuary and the St. Lucie River and Estuary.
Once signed by the governor, the new law becomes effective July 1, 2016. In addition to new rules, it will also create a starting point for future water protection measures.
© 2016 Florida Realtors®