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Corner of tab Water Project Funding in Florida

2011 Legislative Session




Senate President Mike Haridopolos and House Speaker Dean Cannon issued separate memos on November 22, 2010 to all Florida legislators stating that, based on Florida's continuing fiscal challenges, the Community Budget Issue Request (CBIR) process would not be opened up for the 2011 legislative session. This is the second consecutive year without CBIR projects. While we do not expect this situation to change, the following guidance on the normal CBIR process is provided to aid you in future planning.


The following general guidance is based on the historical water project funding process. If or when the CBIR process is opened in the future, your ability to address the criteria below will generally give the Senator(s) and Representative(s) sponsoring your project the information they need to support it during the budget process.

Pre-Application Information and Historical Qualifying Criteria

Your starting point is to contact potential sponsors in the House and Senate and work with their staffs to timely complete the CBIR application forms. You can only get these forms from the House and Senate--DEP is not authorized to distribute CBIR forms. Keep the following in mind as you complete the CBIR form.

  • First, we have provided examples of the information you likely will be expected to provide.

  • The minimum criteria considered when determining whether water projects appear to qualify for funding are in section 403.885, Florida Statutes. (Only the Legislature, subject to veto by the Governor, decides which projects, if any, will actually be funded in a given year.)

  • In summary, this law establishes the following:

    • Who is eligible to apply?

      • Counties;

      • Municipalities;

      • Water management districts; and

      • Special districts with legal responsibility for water quality improvement, water management, stormwater management, wastewater management, lake and river restoration projects, and drinking water projects.

    • What types or projects may qualify?

      • Wastewater project construction;

      • Stormwater project construction;

      • Drinking water project construction;

      • Water quality improvement and restoration construction;

      • Other water management project construction.

      • The emphasis above is on construction projects because the criteria from the law identified immediately below indicate that projects are expected to implement some sort of water quality improvement or restoration plan. This criterion implies, and the history of water project funding suggest, that non-construction projects are much less likely to be funded because they do not themselves improve or restore water quality.
    • What other criteria are water projects expected to meet to be eligible?

      • Protect public health OR the environment; AND

      • Implement a state, local or regional plan related to water quality improvement and restoration.

What is DEP's role?

DEP has in the past been charged with reviewing projects relative to the considerations identified above and any other criteria established by the Legislature or Governor's Office. If requested, DEP will submit its evaluation of all projects to the Governor's Office and Legislature for purposes of action during the regular sessionís appropriations (budget) process. DEP does not determine which projects will be funded and has no authority to prioritize or recommend funding for any project. We simply offer an opinion on each project as to whether it appears to meet the established criteria based on its CBIR form.

  • If you have been assigned a DEP ID# as a result of a prior year review, including it on the CBIR form may make review of your project easier, but projects do not need a DEP ID# new projects will not be assigned a number.

What is the role of the Water Management Districts?

The water management districts (WMD) may be called upon to review or comment on the significance of local government projects to improve WMD priority surface water bodies. It is advisable, in any event, for local governments to consult your WMD as it may be able to offer counsel and, in some cases, financial assistance. See this map with WMD boundaries if you are not sure which WMD to check. WMD contact information is also available.

Are local matching funds required?

The law no longer includes any local matching requirements. However, this fact raises several issues.

  • First, it is virtually certain, even if the legislature appropriates money for your project, you will not receive the full amount requested. In fact, based on historical appropriations, it is likely that you will receive less than 50% of your request and, perhaps, substantially less. Thus, local matching funds will be necessary to complete your project.
  • Second, it is possible that the Legislature and Governor's Office will develop their own review criteria for projects as a means of prioritizing requests during the budget process. These criteria may include local matching requirements as they have historically.
  • Third, matching requirements have often been imposed in the legally binding "proviso" language associated with the water project appropriations. Thus, it may be to your advantage to strive to meet the local matching provisions set forth previously in the law:

    • 25% of identified total project costs for wastewater projects.

    • 50% of identified total project costs for surface water restoration and stormwater projects.
    • Because drinking water projects were not previously "eligible," it may be advisable to strive for the higher matching amount, 50% of identified total project costs.
    • There are no longer provisions in the law designating "small disadvantaged local governments" for the purpose of waiving matching requirements. Such match waivers have sometimes been included in the budget proviso after the fact but this is not a certainty.

Are there other qualifying criteria?

As noted, the Legislature or Governor's Office may establish review criteria of their own that they expect DEP to evaluate. We will advise you via this website if any additional information on water project funding criteria or related matters is made available to us.

Questions and other information?

If you have questions, please contact DEP by e-mail at waterprojects@dep.state.fl.us or call Geof Mansfield at 850.245.8339.

Information on a variety of financial assistance programs for water-related projects, both DEP's and those of other state and federal agencies, is available in the summary document, "Water Resource Funding in Florida."