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Gunster environmental and land use attorney Beth Ross discusses the importance and challenges of obtaining water rights, which is critical for any commercial, irrigation or agricultural project to succeed. Limited fresh water supplies in Florida are leading more and more businesses to turn to alternative water supply sources, such as reclaimed water.

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Assuring your property development water rights

In Florida, there is no right to water for landowners.

Instead, the right to use water is permitted exclusively by one of the state’s five water management districts.

So securing a sufficient volume of water for your project is critical to its success.

However, satisfying conditions of issuance for a consumptive use permit is growing increasingly difficult. And restrictions on allocations of fresh water are growing across the state of Florida.

So businesses are turning, increasingly, to the development of alternative water supply sources.

If you’re considering using one of these alternative water supply sources, you should look into:

  • securing a sufficient volume of water for your needs, especially in dry times;
  • investigating the suitability of the quality of the water, and any impact that quality might have on the discharges off your project site; and
  • the cost and duration of your project’s access to the alternative water supply source.

At Gunster, we advise clients to look into all of these issues early and comprehensively to avoid surprises. We work to address these issues up front.

Gunster’s environmental attorneys have helped Florida property owners look through the government regulations of these developments of water rights and decide upon what is the best way to navigate the permitting issues.


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