Alternative water projects receive ’09 funding

With $3.8 million in matching funds from the state, the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) approved more than $22 million in funding to help communities in South Florida build alternative water supply projects. When completed, these projects will collectively provide approximately 24 million gallons of additional water per day, protecting freshwater supplies by enhancing alternative sources.

This year, 20 projects throughout the District’s 16-county region received funding assistance.

'These projects demonstrate the commitment of local governments to provide a reliable and sustainable water supply for their communities,' said Eric Buermann, SFWMD Governing Board Chairman. 'Funding assistance often makes the difference in turning forward-thinking concepts into project realities.'

Alternative water supplies are nontraditional sources of water supply. In South Florida, these include treatment of saltwater and brackish water, capture and storage of surface water during wet weather, and use of reclaimed water and storm water from reservoirs or aquifer storage and recovery (ASR) systems. Once constructed, projects that produce usable water from these sources will provide a community with millions of gallons of additional water supply.

As part of the District's selection process, alternative water supply project proposals were evaluated for meeting funding criteria, such as minimizing impact on existing water resources, reducing local competition for water and producing a high quantity of alternative water supply relative to project cost. In addition, the projects were required to be ready for construction upon grant award and be consistent with existing regional water supply plans.

The District administers funds through the Alternative Water Supply Funding Program. Cities, utilities, homeowners associations, community development districts and other water users and suppliers can be awarded up to 40 percent of a project's construction costs, based on total funding available and project type. Project sponsors finance the balance, although economically disadvantaged communities may be eligible for full funding. Florida's growing population has focused attention on future availability of sufficient water supplies. Since 2005, the state legislature has approved annual funding for diversifying water resources, specifically the development of alternative water supplies. With the grants announced today, the District and the State of Florida have invested approximately $126 million over the past fouryears to fund 238 alternative water supplyprojects. These projects collectively are adding nearly 300 million gallons per day of 'new' water to the regional supply.

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