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Florida Water Policies for Agriculture

Dan Citrus, Irrigation, Water

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Water is the lifeblood of any farming operation. Many involved in the agriculture sector are working to do all they can to help Florida conserve water and make the most of this essential natural resource.

Tatiana Borisova, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) water resource economist, gave an overview of the water-quality policies and programs in Florida during the March 23 UF/IFAS Citrus Squeezer webinar.

The Office of Agricultural Water Policy of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) is actively involved in the development of best management practices (BMP) manuals for specific crops, with BMPs addressing both water quality and water conservation.

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Furthermore, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is leading the development of plans to restore water quality in rivers, lakes and estuaries referred to as basin management action plans (BMAPs). According to Borisova, BMAPs are plans of action to reduce pollution loading and meet the total limit on pollution, defined as total maximum daily load (TMDL).

A TMDL is a scientific determination of the maximum amount of a given pollutant that a surface water can absorb and still meet the water-quality standards that protect human health and aquatic life. Water bodies that do not meet water-quality standards are identified as “impaired” and TMDLs must be developed, adopted and implemented to reduce those pollutants and clean up the water body.

View locations of TMDLs in Florida.

The Clean Waterways Act, signed into law in June 2020, requires FDACS to perform onsite implementation verification visits every two years at the properties that are enrolled in the FDACS BMP program. During the visit, the FDACS representative will verify that the BMPs are being correctly implemented. Nutrient and fertilizer application records will be obtained. Inspections in the areas covered by …..

Learn more about Florida Water Policies for Agriculture on the Citrus Industry website.