Central Florida has an opportunity to serve as a state model in preserving our precious water resources, reducing consumption and developing alternative water sources. Creating a regional water strategy is the first step. Together, we can create a Central Florida Regional Water Strategy that will benefit Central Floridians for generations to come.
In November 2008, ULI-Central Florida began collaborating with myregion.org on behalf of the Congress of Regional Leaders to identify barriers and solutions to the implementation of the How Shall We Grow? vision.
In 2007, myregion.org asked nearly 20,000 Central Floridians the question, “How Shall We Grow?” Through a series of community meetings, presentations and surveys, the answer was clear: Central Florida residents desired a region focusing on the “4Cs” – Conservation, Countryside, Centers and Corridors.
From this effort, the Congress of Regional Leaders was formed. Composed of City officials, County Commissioners and members of the Central Florida Public School Boards Coalition, the Congress of Regional Leaders is dedicated to developing shared regional-scale solutions to regional issues.
At their first meeting in 2009, the Congress of Regional Leaders reviewed the progress made toward implementing the Regional Growth Vision and adopted the issue of “Water” as one of the highest priorities for the region. What we learned through How Shall We Grow? is that preserving and enjoying our natural resources is of upmost importance to citizens across the region.
In partnership with the St. Johns River, Southwest Florida and South Florida Water Management Districts, Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the University of Central Florida Metropolitan Center for Regional Studies, myregion.org, and ULI-Central Florida under the leadership of the Congress of Regional Leaders, created an 18-month project to develop a Central Florida Regional Water Strategy that would avoid the use of public dollars to litigate over water.
The Central Florida Regional Water Strategy process included convening “Stakeholder Meetings” in each of the seven counties represented on the Congress of Regional Leaders (Brevard, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Polk and Volusia) to identify key issues surrounding Water Supply, Demand, Conservation, and Governance. Using input from these meetings, the Steering Committee made recommendations on what would be required to reach a regional solution to our water needs.