Why not let property owners sell water?
Because they are selling YOUR water.
In 1972 the Florida legislature adopted the Florida Water Resource Act which followed a model code that took the best of Eastern and Western water law and included underground aquifers as well as surface waters.
That was the act that created Florida’s five water management districts.
The Water Resources Act established that the waters of the state belong to the people of the state of Florida.
In order to obtain a permit to use OUR water , the applicant must demonstrate compliance with three basic criteria. The proposed use must (1) be a reasonable-beneficial use of water, (2) not interfere with any existing legal use of water, and (3) be consistent with the public interest
In the Lake Point lawsuit against the SFWMD they claimed that their contract with the District allowed them “store,clean and convey water” and therefore allowed them to sell water.
Judge McManus disagreed:
“The Acquisition and Development Agreement is not ambiguous and it clearly states nothing about selling water or reserving the rights to sell water.”
See below to read Judge McManus Summary Judgement, 2016.
But in August 2017 the SFWMD voted unanimously for a settlement in the Lake Point lawsuit that includes:
VI. Lake Point Entitled to All Revenue of any Kind. The Parties agree that Lake Point is entitled to earn and collect all revenue of any kind from any lawful activities or use associated with the Lake Point Property, including without limitation, any revenues associated with mining, farming, lease or sale of WaterStorage, Water transfer, Water transportation, Water conveyance, Water use or irrigations rights, or any other rights, benefits, or entitlements whatsoever associated with the Lake Point Property, until such time as the Lake Point Property, or portions of same, are donated and conveyed to the District. After the Property or any portion thereof is donated to the District, Lake Point may use and collect all revenue from that portion of the Property until the end of the Mining or Farming Reservation only for uses associated with: mining, farming, water storage, Water transfer, water transportation, Water conveyance, or Water use or irrigation...
This raises concerns that the settlement agreement would set a precedent with statewide implications for the public’s water resources.
Filing # 45086757 E-Filed 08/11/2016 09:36:49 AM
IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE 19th JUDICIAL CIRCUIT IN AND FOR MARTIN COUNTY, FLORIDA
LAKE POINT PHASE I, LLC, and LAKE POINT
PHASE II, LLC, Florida limited liability
companies, CASE NO.: 432013CA001321
Plaintiffs, vs. SOUTH FLORIDA WATER
MANAGEMENT DISTRICT, public
corporation of the State of Florida, MARTIN
COUNTY, political subdivision of
the State of Florida, and MAGGY HURCHALLA,
ORDER ON DEFENDANT SOUTH FLORIDA WATER MANAGEMENT DISTRICT'S
AMENDED MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND
PLAINTIFFS' MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT
ON THE DISTRICT'S FIRST AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE
This matter came before the Court on Defendant South Florida Water Management
District's Amended Motion for Summary Judgment filed on June 17,2016, and Plaintiffs' Motion
for Partial Summary Judgment on the District's First Affirmative Defense (Failure of Conditions
Precedent) filed on June 17, 2016. Having reviewed the file, heard argument, and being duly
advised in the premises, the Court hereby ORDERS and ADJUDGES:
1. The District's Motion is GRANTED as follows:
a. The Motion is granted in full as to Count of the Third Amended Complaint
b. The Motion is granted as to Count II of the Complaint to the extent Count II pleads
breach of contract against the District for failing to allow or interfering with
Plaintiffs' alleged right to engage in water supply/transfer program and the
alleged right to sell water, as such business was not authorized by the November
21, 2008 Acquisition and Development Agreement, as amended. The Acquisition
and Development Agreement is not ambiguous and il clearly slates nothing about
selling water or reserving the rights to sell water.
2. The Plaintiffs" Motion for Partial Summary Judgment is DENIED.
DONE and ORDERED at Stuart, Martin County. Florida on this U_ day of August.
Honorable F. Shields McManus Circuit Court Judge