For more information, please email the Community & Legislative Affairs Department.
What is the SWUCA?
The Southern Water Use Caution Area (SWUCA) covers the portion of the District generally south of I-4 and includes all of DeSoto, Hardee, Manatee and Sarasota counties and parts of Charlotte, Highlands, Hillsborough and Polk counties. The area was designated as a water use caution area to manage water resources in the Southern West-Central Florida Groundwater Basin in a comprehensive manner. The Governing Board declared the SWUCA in 1992, based on a considerable amount of data collection and numerous studies of water resources in the SWUCA. Approximately 80–90 percent of total water use in the basin is for four major uses: citrus, vegetable row crops, mining and public supply.
An overreliance on ground water that has spanned decades has lead to depleted aquifers in the region known as the Southern Water Use Caution Area (SWUCA). Environmentally and economically sustainable solutions are needed to combat saltwater intrusion, reduced flows in the upper Peace River, lowered lake levels and reduced water quality, and to ensure the provision of water supplies for all users. The West-Central Florida Water Restoration Action Plan (WRAP) works with its local and regional partners to implement components of the Southern Water Use Caution Area (SWUCA) Recovery Strategy adopted by the District.
What are the components of the WRAP?
- Central Florida Water Resource Development project to develop alternative water supplies to meet the long-term needs of Polk County and the surrounding area
- Central West Coast Surface Water Enhancement Initiative, including Dona Bay/Cow Pen Slough, Shell Creek watershed and Upper Myakka/Flatford Swamp projects
- Facilitating Agricultural Resource Management Systems (FARMS) Program, which is a public/private agricultural best management practices cost-share reimbursement program to offset 40 million gallons per day of ground water by 2025
- Ridge Lakes Restoration Initiative, which will reduce phosphorus by 50 to 80 percent by treating stormwater runoff in select lakes in Highlands and Polk counties
- Upper Peace River Watershed Restoration Initiative, which will restore surface water storage and flows and improve water quality in the upper Peace River watershed
How will the WRAP be funded?
With more than $80 million invested by the District and our project partners, the foundation has been laid to meet the goals of the SWUCA recovery strategy.
While the foundation needed to meet the goals of the SWUCA recovery strategy has been laid, the total cost of the West-Central Florida Water Restoration Action Plan is approximately $1.8 billion. Of these costs, it is anticipated that approximately one-third will need to be derived from state or federal sources over the next 17-year course of the plan.