The state of Florida has five Water Management Districts. These districts are authorized to administer flood protection programs and to perform technical investigations into water resources. The districts are also authorized to develop water management plans for water shortages in times of drought and to acquire and manage lands for water management purposes under the Save Our Rivers program. Regulatory programs delegated to the districts include programs to manage the consumptive use of water, aquifer recharge, well construction and surface water management. These districts are not organized by counties or other artificial boundaries, but rather by watersheds. This can lead to interesting politics. For example, the region covered by the Suwannee St Johns Group of the Sierra Club is impacted by the decissions of the St Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD), the Suwannee River Water Management District(SRWMD), and the Southwest Water Management District (SWWMD). Alachua County’s rules for watering use are impacted by both SJRWMD and SRWMD because SJRWMD currently (i.e 2012) allows residents to water once a week, while SRWMD allows watering twice a week. In October 2012 the SJWMD conducted an assessment of their holdings to determine numerics for the conservation value of various properties. A comprehensive report can be found at the website SJRWMD Lands Assessment – 2012.
To learn about political firing of long-time employees of the water districts, check out this December 25, 2012 article in the Tampa Bay Times and the Paula Dockery op-ed in the December 31, 2012 Ocala Star Banner.