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Permits for water use and construction activities that could impact water resources are reviewed and issued through the District.

Permits protect water resources

Have you seen a construction project in your community or wondered where your drinking water comes from? Chances are, the St. Johns River Water Management District issued a permit through its regulatory program for those activities. The District’s regulatory program is divided into two areas: water use permits for water supply and construction permits to protect natural resources during development. In addition, the District is the entity responsible for issuing or delegating issuance of water well construction permits.

Water use permits

Permits to request the use of large amounts of water, such as those needed by water supply utilities or agricultural entities, are reviewed and issued through the District’s Consumptive Use Permitting Program. Staff in this program review requests for water use and determine the amount of water available from groundwater or surface water for uses such as public water supply utilities, agricultural operations, commercial establishments and power generation.

Water use permits (known as consumptive use permits, or CUPs):

  • Ensure there is no interference with other water use permit holders (known as existing legal users).
  • Prevent wasteful uses of water.
  • Require the use of reclaimed water instead of higher-quality groundwater where appropriate.
  • Set limits on how much water can be withdrawn from water bodies and the aquifer (groundwater). These limits protect existing residents’ water supplies and protect springs, lakes and rivers from harm.

Construction permits

Permits issued to protect water resources during construction are known as environmental resource permits (ERPs). These permits state how construction can be conducted in a way to prevent harm to water resources (such as not causing adverse flooding), manage surface water (such as providing water storage in neighborhood stormwater ponds) and protect water quality, wetlands and other surface waters.

Anyone proposing to build new residential, commercial, governmental or institutional facilities, or anyone proposing work in, on or over wetlands and surface waters must obtain an ERP prior to beginning construction. The ERP rules are designed to protect water quantity, water quality and wetland functions. If staff reviewers determine that wetland or other surface water impacts will occur, mitigation will likely be required to offset adverse impacts, with specific exemptions and permitting thresholds.

Construction / Environmental resource permits:

  • Are issued for a specific purpose and project with an approved plan and permit conditions.
  • Provide that permit holders are responsible for complying with the terms of the permit and demonstrating that the project has been built as authorized.
  • Has a limited duration, usually five years.
  • Must be converted to a perpetual operation and maintenance phase once construction is successfully completed.

Water well construction permits

The District or a delegated entity (usually a county government) issues well construction permits. Well construction permits are required prior to installation of a well to ensure that wells are constructed by qualified contractors and meet rigid safety and durability standards.

The District has 13 water well permitting delegation agreements with local health departments and one water well permitting delegation agreement with a local or county government. Check with your county health department or local government with any questions about the permit fees for a well that will be permitted by one of the District’s delegated permitting authorities.

Read more about this program here.

Permitting is an open, public process

The District’s permitting program is an open and public process. Learn more and read applications and staff reports at the following: