Water-Related News

Polk case to move forward: Judge denies motion to dismiss Peace River water fight hearing

Polk County has said that massive withdrawal will impact its long-term plans to increase aquifer recharge in the Peace Creek Basin.

LAKELAND — Polk County’s request for a day in court over a water dispute can move forward after a state judge rejected a motion to dismiss the case.

The Polk Regional Water Cooperative, Fort Meade and Wauchula asked an administrative law judge earlier this summer to hear the case after it appeared the Southwest Florida Water Management District (Swiftmud) would allow a 50-year permit to more than double the amount of water the Peace River Manasota Regional Water Authority could withdraw.

In response to Manasota’s and Swiftmud’s attempt to dismiss the case, Francine Ffolkes, an administrative law judge in Tallahassee, wrote that “the petitioners (Polk County) essentially allege that their present water supply planning activities could be affected by issuance of the water use permit to the (Manasota) Authority.”

“The Petitioners’ allegations, taken as true, do not constitute pure speculation or conjecture,” Ffolkes wrote.

Ffolkes wrote in her order that in reviewing the motion to dismiss, she must assume that the allegations in the petitions are true.