The Walton/Okaloosa/Santa Rosa Regional Utility Authority (RUA) was created in 1999 as a means to address water supply needs and protection of water resources on a regional level. The RUA is comprised of the counties of Walton, Okaloosa and Santa Rosa and the municipalities of Destin, Fort Walton Beach, Gulf Breeze, Mary Esther and Niceville that draw their water supply from the Floridan Aquifer. Other partners include the water utilities for the same area. The most important function of the RUA is to ensure future water supply.
Regional Water Supply Plan
Required under Florida Statutes, the water supply plan encompasses a number of purposes including health documentation and history of the decision-making regarding the water supply, which began in the late 1970s. The plan keeps a consistent vision which helps define strategies for the area. Long-term planning, which guards against crisis situation and assists with crisis management, involves technical, economic and environmental concerns. The plan:
i. Provides funding for a three-county area that includes Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Walton counties.
ii. Provides financial assistance for alternate water supply development.
iii. Shows concern for traditional sustainability and viability over the next 20 years.
iv. Looks at concerns over the amount of water available from coastal wells that need to be developed.
The Northwest Florida Water Management District (NWFWMD) has implemented strategies to reduce consumption of the Floridan Aquifer. Since this time, water levels have come up, and saltwater intrusion has decreased.
Every five years, the NWFWMD updates the plan for Region 2, which includes Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Walton counties. The update is based on demand projections and whether they can see what future sources of water will be. For more information on the Regional Utility Authority, please contact staff at 850-332-7976.