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Joint Statement of Commitment

FOR THE DEVELOPMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION OF A STATEWIDE COMPREHENSIVE WATER CONSERVATION PROGRAM FOR PUBLIC WATER SUPPLY

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection; the South Florida Water Management District; the St. Johns River Water Management District; the Southwest Florida Water Management District; the Northwest Florida Water Management District; the Suwannee River Water Management District; the Florida Public Service Commission; the Utility Council of the American Water Works Association, Florida Section; the Utility Council of the Florida Water Environment Association; and the Florida Rural Water Association; collectively hereinafter referred to as the SIGNATORIES, endorse the following Joint Statement of Commitment regarding the Statewide Comprehensive Water Conservation Program for Public Water Supply, herein after referred to as the PROGRAM.

Background

In 2001-2002, the SIGNATORIES to this Joint Statement, in collaboration with many other stakeholders, participated in the Florida Water Conservation Initiative.  All water uses were addressed in this wide-ranging process and the participants collectively recommended many conservation tools in the April 2002 Report from the Water Conservation Initiative.  It was recognized that enhanced water conservation would benefit all water uses, both economically and environmentally, as well as to ensure the sustainability of Florida’s water resources.

As discussed in the Water Conservation Initiative, public water supply currently represents the second largest water use sector in Florida.  Conservation is a very important demand management tool for public water supply utilities to enhance the sustainability of Florida's water resources.  Many years of developing, implementing, and refining water conservation programs by public water supply utilities have created the opportunity for the next phase of effectiveness:  the implementation of the Statewide Comprehensive Water Conservation Program for Public Water Supply. 

      WHEREAS conservation of water is an important means of achieving economical and efficient utilization of water and ensuring the sustainability of the water resources of Florida; and

      WHEREAS the public water supply industry, in cooperation with the water management districts, has achieved substantial water conservation through existing programs but recognizes that meaningful improvements are still possible; and

      WHEREAS social, economic, and cultural conditions vary by geographic region within the State, resulting in the need for public water supply utilities to have the flexibility to tailor conservation programs to reflect their individual circumstances; and

      WHEREAS the current water use regulatory system allows flexibility in water use permitting with regard to water conservation but could be improved; and

      WHEREAS a range of conservation practices are available for implementation to achieve more efficient use of water; and

      WHEREAS individual utilities should be encouraged to implement water conservation practices that are economically efficient, effective, affordable, and appropriate; and

      WHEREAS it is the intent of the PROGRAM to allow no reduction in utility-specific water conservation effectiveness; and

      WHEREAS the PROGRAM should be goal-based, accountable, and measurable and developed and implemented collaboratively with water suppliers, water users, and water management agencies; and

      WHEREAS individual water conservation programs should focus upon cost-effective measures for the unique characteristics of particular utility service areas incorporating analyses of economic efficiency of individual practices, where appropriate; and

      WHEREAS it is essential to establish a centralized clearinghouse to encompass new and existing information on water conservation programs and practices to support sharing of results, identification of benchmarks and performance measures for effectiveness, and continual assessment of water conservation programs and practices; and

      WHEREAS the successful development and implementation of the PROGRAM will require the allocation of financial resources.

      THEREFORE, the SIGNATORIES agree that a goal-based, accountable, and measurable PROGRAM should be developed and implemented to allow public water supply utilities the flexibility to tailor cost-effective conservation programs to reflect their individual circumstances so as to achieve greater water use efficiency.  Towards implementing the PROGRAM, the following should be undertaken:

    A.  Improve the Measurement and Evaluation of Water Conservation Programs and Practices

    • Develop standardized public water supply conservation definitions and measurement practices.
    • Collect public water supply information using standardized conservation definitions and measurement practices.
    • Develop quantitative and qualitative performance measures in an overall system for assessing and benchmarking the effectiveness of water conservation programs and practices. 
    • Develop processes for evaluation of the effectiveness of utility-specific water conservation practices such as cost-benefit analyses, cost-effectiveness analyses, or other suitable methods.

    B.  Improve the Design and Implementation of Water Conservation Programs

    • Develop a consistent approach to the design, implementation, evaluation, and adaptation of utility-specific water conservation programs.  The attached flowchart (“Utility Process for Statewide Comprehensive Water Conservation Program for Public Water Supply”) should serve as the framework for the design of that overall approach. 
    • Develop a minimum set of water conservation practices (scaled to utility size) to be implemented by all utilities. 
    • Develop and maintain a Florida-specific water conservation guidance document, as a part of the overall PROGRAM, to support the design and implementation of utility-specific water conservation programs. 

    C.  Ensure Regulatory Frameworks Adequately Support Flexibility in the Design of Water Conservation Programs

    • Collaboratively develop a consistent regulatory process to implement the PROGRAM.
    • Collaboratively develop utility-specific water conservation goals, and require utilities to be accountable for achieving those goals.
    • Provide regulatory flexibility in the selection of water conservation practices for each particular water supply utility by focusing on the effectiveness of the utility’s water conservation program.

    D.  Enhance Assistance and Information Sharing Regarding Water Conservation Programs

    • Establish a water conservation clearinghouse to include an accessible, integrated database for information collection, evaluation of conservation effectiveness, and distribution of qualitative and quantitative information on water conservation programs and practices.
    • Utilize the clearinghouse as a resource to assist in the development and implementation of water conservation programs and practices.
    • Identify other forms of assistance the public water supply utilities need to assess and select appropriate water conservation practices.
    • Explore opportunities for research to support refinement of water conservation practices and development of utility-specific programs.

The SIGNATORIES agree that collaboration is essential for the achievement of the above goals.  The SIGNATORIES further agree to undertake the following two-step process:

    Step 1.  Within twelve (12) months of the execution of this Statement, a Work Plan will be developed with specific tasks, interim milestones, completion dates, estimates of costs for each task, and assignment of responsibilities to:

      a.  Develop standardized definitions and performance measures for water conservation data collection and analysis.

      b.  Establish a clearinghouse for water conservation programs and practices that will provide:

      • An integrated statewide database for the collection, evaluation, and dissemination of quantitative and qualitative information on water conservation programs and practices and their effectiveness.
      • Technical assistance capabilities to aid in the design, refinement, and implementation of water conservation programs and practices.
      • Continual assessment of the effectiveness of water conservation programs and practices.

      c.  Develop and implement a standardized process for utilities consistent with the attached flowchart titled “Utility Process for Statewide Comprehensive Water Conservation Program for Public Water Supply”.

      d.  Develop and maintain a Florida-specific water conservation guidance document to assist public water suppliers in the design and implementation of a utility-specific water conservation program incorporating the standardized process specified above.

      e.  Implement pilot applications of various elements of, or the entire PROGRAM, through cooperative agreements with volunteer utilities.

    Step 2.  The signatories will consider and approve for implementation as appropriate the elements of the Work Plan.

It is recognized that the final Work Plan, which will include more specific detail than the outline above, may deviate from that outline, but will continue to represent the overall intent of the Signatories to pursue greater efficiency in public water supply use as indicated in this Statement.  Towards that end, the ongoing collaborative efforts to develop and implement the PROGRAM should move forward as rapidly as feasible. 

ppendix 2:  Excerpt from House Bill 293

Section 8. Section 373.227, Florida Statutes, is created to read:

373.227 Water conservation; legislative findings; legislative intent; objectives; comprehensive statewide water conservation program requirements.--

(1) The Legislature recognizes that the proper conservation of water is an important means of achieving the economical and efficient utilization of water necessary, in part, to constitute a reasonable-beneficial use. The overall water conservation goal of the state is to prevent and reduce wasteful, uneconomical, impractical, or unreasonable use of water resources. The Legislature finds that the social, economic, and cultural conditions of the state relating to the use of public water supply vary by service area and that public water supply utilities must have the flexibility to tailor water conservation measures to best suit their individual circumstances. The Legislature encourages the use of efficient, effective, and affordable water conservation measures. Where water is provided by a public water supply utility, the Legislature intends that a variety of conservation measures be made available and used to encourage efficient water use. To achieve these conservation objectives, the state should emphasize goal-based, accountable, tailored, and measurable water conservation programs for public water supply. For purposes of this section, the term "public water supply utility" includes both publicly owned and privately owned public water supply utilities that sell potable water on a retail basis to end users.

(2) To implement the findings in subsection (1), the department, in cooperation with the water management districts and other stakeholders, shall develop a comprehensive statewide water conservation program for public water supply. The program should:

(a) Encourage utilities to implement water conservation programs that are economically efficient, effective, affordable, and appropriate;

(b) Allow no reduction in, and increase where possible, utility-specific water conservation effectiveness over current programs;

(c) Be goal-based, accountable, measurable, and implemented collaboratively with water suppliers, water users, and water management agencies;

(d) Include cost and benefit data on individual water conservation practices to assist in tailoring practices to be effective for the unique characteristics of particular utility service areas, focusing upon cost-effective measures;

(e) Use standardized public water supply conservation definitions and standardized quantitative and qualitative performance measures for an overall system of assessing and

benchmarking the effectiveness of water conservation programs and practices;

(f) Create a clearinghouse or inventory for water conservation programs and practices available to public water supply utilities which will provide an integrated statewide database for the collection, evaluation, and dissemination of quantitative and qualitative information on public water supply conservation programs and practices and their effectiveness. The clearinghouse or inventory should have technical assistance capabilities to aid in the design, refinement, and implementation of water conservation programs and practices. The clearinghouse or inventory shall also provide for continual assessment of the effectiveness of water conservation programs and practices;

(g) Develop a standardized water conservation planning process for utilities; and

(h) Develop and maintain a Florida-specific water conservation guidance document containing a menu of affordable and effective water conservation practices to assist public water supply utilities in the design and implementation of goal-based, utility-specific water conservation plans tailored for their individual service areas as provided in subsection

(3) Regarding the use of water conservation or drought rate structures as a conservation practice, a water management district shall afford a public water supply utility wide latitude in selecting a rate structure and shall limit its review to whether the utility has provided reasonable assurance that the rate structure contains a schedule of rates designed to promote efficient use of water by providing economic incentives. A water management district shall not fix or revise rates.

(4) As part of an application for a consumptive use permit, a public water supply utility may propose a goal-based water conservation plan that is tailored to its individual circumstances. Progress towards goals must be measurable. If the utility provides reasonable assurance that the plan will achieve effective water conservation at least as well as the water conservation requirements adopted by the appropriate water management district and is otherwise consistent with s. 373.223, the district must approve the plan which shall satisfy water conservation requirements imposed as a condition of obtaining a consumptive use permit. The conservation measures included in an approved goal-based water conservation plan may be reviewed periodically and updated as needed to ensure efficient water use for the duration of the permit. If the plan fails to meet the water conservation goal or goals by the timeframes specified in the permit, the public water supply utility shall revise the plan to address the deficiency or employ the water conservation requirements that would otherwise apply in the absence of an approved goal-based plan.

(5) By December 1, 2005, the department shall submit a written report to the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the appropriate substantive committees of the Senate and the House of Representatives on the progress made in implementing the comprehensive statewide water conservation program for public water supply required by this section. The report must include any statutory changes and funding requests necessary for the continued development and implementation of the program.

(6) The department or a water management district may adopt rules pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 to carry out the purposes of this section.