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The Florida Statutes

The 2023 Florida Statutes (including Special Session C)

Chapter 373
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F.S. 373.462
373.462 Legislative findings and intent.
(1) The Legislature recognizes that by law in 1979, portions of Lake and Polk Counties were designated as the Green Swamp Area of Critical State Concern in acknowledgment of its regional and statewide importance in maintaining the quality and quantity of Florida’s water supply and water resources for the public and the environment.
(2) The Legislature also recognizes the Green Swamp, which encompasses approximately 560,000 acres, is located in a regionally significant high recharge area of the Floridan Aquifer system, and it helps protect coastal communities from saltwater intrusion.
(3) The Legislature finds that the Green Swamp or Polk County make up the headwaters or portions of the headwaters of six major river systems in the state, which are the Alafia, Hillsborough, Kissimmee, Ocklawaha, Peace, and Withlacoochee Rivers. In addition, due to the area’s unique topography and geology which receives no other water inputs other than rainfall, the area is essential in maintaining the potentiometric head of the Floridan Aquifer system that directly influences the aquifer’s productivity for water supply.
(4) The Legislature also finds that the Green Swamp and the surrounding areas are economically, environmentally, and socially defined by some of the most important and vulnerable water resources in the state.
(5) The Legislature recognizes that the Central Florida Water Initiative Guiding Document dated January 30, 2015, and the Southern Water Use Caution Area Recovery Strategy dated March 2006 recognized the fact that the surface water and groundwater resources in the heartland counties of Hardee, Highlands, and Polk are integral to the health, public safety, and economic future of those regions.
(6) The Legislature declares that there is an important state interest in partnering with regional water supply authorities and local governments, in accordance with s. 373.705, to protect the water resources of the headwaters of the Alafia, Hillsborough, Kissimmee, Ocklawaha, Peace, and Withlacoochee Rivers and the surrounding areas. The Legislature further declares that funding consideration be given to regional collaborative solutions, including, but not limited to, the heartland counties, to manage the water resources of the state.
History.s. 2, ch. 2017-111.