Pumping Ground Water
Despite a rainy summer, many residents are still concerned with North Central Florida's water supply and whether too much water is being pumped from the aquifer.
It's up to water management districts to issue special water use permits.
Some people want Alachua County commissioners to put pressure on the water districts to limit those special permits.
They feel water districts are just giving out permits without considering the present and the future.
In June the Director of the Florida Springs Institute expressed his concern about problems with water flow in area springs.
Today County Commissioners heard what water management district members said about approving water use permits.
"Why use our most precious water our ground water to water grass to grow cows for example or to grow watermelons," said Bob Knight.
Knight the Director of the Florida Springs Institute said too much water is being pumped out of the aquifer and that it's affecting our spring flows.
"It's estimated that the flow reduction in the springs and the Santa Fe River is almost 35 percent about a third of the historic flow is no longer there in those springs," said Knight.
He said a 10 percent flow reduction causes harm to the springs which is why he believes water management districts shouldn't be giving out water use permits.
"I have actually counted up how many consumptive use permits there are in North Florida. There is over 26,000," said Knight.
Steve Minnis the Director of Government Affairs for the Suwannee River Mangement District said approving permits isn't causing any harm; at least for now.
"There is modeling that goes into affect. There is on sight studies that are out there. There is monitoring that is going on. All these other components that are place to ensure that harm is not occurring," said Minnis.
Members of the water management district said they use a three prong test when issuing a permit.
Some commissioners raised concerns about the future of our water and Minnis told us they are aware of the issue.
"We have projected a number of studies that over the next 20 years some parts of our districts that there may not be adequate ground water supply to meet those future demands," said Minnis.
Minnis said reckaiming water and surafce water systems are some alternative sources if the problem gets worse.
Other people feel it's already a problem that needs to be fixed now.
"Our only water source is the Floridian Aquifer. If we don't husband that resource and protect it for the future, we are not going to have water in the future," said Knight.
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