The Villages Water Use Permit Review
Water Resource Associates was selected to provide litigation support services for a water use permit challenge. The permit renewal increased existing groundwater allocations by nearly 7 mgd, and was of concern to neighboring communities due to the potential for regional drawdown of the aquifer system.
WRA prepared a comprehensive review of the water use permit file, including water demands, irrigation use, groundwater modeling, and potential impacts to natural resources. This included in-depth review of the proposed environmental monitoring plan and alternative water supply development timeline. WRA prepared a schedule indicating when any unacceptable adverse impacts to wetlands and lakes would occur, and identified inconsistencies between the ecological relationships of concern and the proposed permit requirements for alternative water supplies.
WRA reviewed potential impacts to lakes with adopted minimum flows and levels (MFLs) based on the project’s groundwater modeling, and reviewed proposed compliance adjustments to MFL criteria based on rainfall. Proposed supplemental hydration measures using stormwater and irrigation systems were reviewed for the project.
The results of WRA’s analysis were discussed in mediation efforts with the permit applicant and the Southwest Florida Water Management District. A negotiated settlement was reached that included a financial contribution to LakeCounty for water supply planning efforts.