Some growers have recently stated that their irrigation quantities allocated for production were reduced or cut by SWFWMD when their water use permits went through the renewal process. There is a little bit of confusion about how the water was allocated. In the past, when permits were approved, farms requested amounts based on the total land area that was being farmed (including non-growing areas (ex. offices, roads, loading areas, potting areas, storage, etc)). SWFWMD now uses GIS (geographic information system) technology that allows the removal of non-growing areas from the total farm area covered under the water use permit. Technically, the total allocation amount does get reduced but the amount allocated to the productive area on the farm stays the same. Quantities allowable for the production of the crop on a per area basis doesn’t change; the District is just getting better at determining land areas covered under the water use permit. So for instance, if you were previously allocated 50 inches (hypothetical amount) per acre per year for 10 acres and your permit is up for renewal things might change when a closer look is taken. SWFWMD determines that you have 1 acre of buildings and roads on the farm. This means that they can renew the permit for 50 inches of irrigation per acre per year for 9 acres. So in this example your application rate hasn't changed but your total allocation for the farm did decrease. This information can be found in your permit paperwork. If you have any questions about this or other actions of SWFWMD regarding your permit please shoot me an email.
SWFWMD for Growers: Permit Renewal Changes
Reed Putnall from SWFWMD has asked if I could do a series of articles about misconceptions that growers might have about permits and the permitting process for nursery folk. It sounded like a good idea and after several meetings with SWFWMD I have learned a few things that I would like to pass on. Here is our first article of the series.