Best planning and implementation toolbox

Water/Wastewater Utility Authority:

Purpose of Tool:
A water/wastewater utility authority is an agency typically created by a state legislature that is charged with operating municipal water and wastewater services. While water and wastewater services have historically been operated and maintained by the local government, authorities have proven to be an effective body to manage these resources. The primary advantage of a water/wastewater utility authority is that as a separate entity, it has unique powers for funding and for operations and maintenance; however, it remains under the ultimate direction of the local government.

Benefits of Using Tool:
There are many benefits to forming a water/wastewater utility authority. This body often has the authority to issue bonds for major infrastructure repairs to the water/wastewater system. This role is vital, as many local jurisdictions lack sufficient funding to fund major repairs themselves. Although a separate entity, the management of the authority often remains within the jurisdiction’s control; the governing body may set rates and approve the authority’s board of directors.

Steps Involved to Use Tool:
To form a water/wastewater utility authority, a jurisdiction’s governing board must adopt a resolution creating the authority. Depending on the size of the jurisdiction and state regulations, the state legislature may also create the authority. Overall, the creation of such authorities is subject to state regulations, which vary across the country.

Special Requirements to Use Tool:
Other than the conditions and procedures described above, there are no special requirements or considerations for using this tool.

Specials Resources Needed to Use Tool:
No specific resources are needed to use this tool.

Communities / Agencies that Have Used Tool:
The Toho Water Authority in Osceola County, Florida was established in October 2003 by the Florida Legislature to provide a regional structure for water management in the County. The authority provides water, wastewater and reclaimed water services to over 70,000 customers in the County. The Authority owns and operates over two dozen water and wastewater plants and maintains over 2,000 miles of water, wastewater, and reclaimed water mains. In addition, the Authority sponsors water conservation programs and established standards and specifications for developers and contractors with regards to water and wastewater infrastructure. Contact:

Brian L. Wheeler - Executive Director
101 North Church Street, Suite 200
Kissimmee, FL 34741

The Lake County Water Authority in Lake County, Florida was created in 1953 by the Florida Legislature to control and conserve freshwater in Lake County; improve streams, lakes and canals to boost tourism; provide water recreational facilities; enhance fish and aquatic life; and protect fresh water by treating stormwater runoff. In addition to operating and maintaining water and wastewater facilities, the Authority participates in a variety of complementary efforts. The Authority has acquired several parcels of land amongst the County’s extensive lake system and holds these for conservation and limited recreation. In addition, in 1992, the authority built Hickory Point, a 68-acre multi-use recreational water facility.  Contact:

Michael J. Perry - Executive Director
107 North Lake Avenue
Tavares, FL 32778

Metrics to Use to Monitor Tool Effectiveness:
Because each community’s water and wastewater needs are unique, there are no standard metrics to gauge how water/wastewater utility authorities enhance quality of life in a community. Common measures of success for an authority may include efficiency and cost savings of services provided, as well as water quality.

List of Resources to Obtain Additional Info:
- Toho Water Authority:
- Lake County Water Authority: