The potential risks to our water supply

THE ST. JOHNS RIVER WATER MANAGEMENT DISTRICT (SJRWMD) is responsible for managing groundwater and surface water resources in all or part of 18 counties in northeast and east–central Florida. (Source: SJRWMD website.)

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) has general supervisory authority of SJRWMD.

According to its (SJRWMD) website “in many areas ground water supplies (Northeast and Central Florida; the Jacksonville area in particular) have reached their sustainable limit, or will reach these limits in the near future and the traditional water source, fresh water from the Floridan aquifer will not be able to meet all future needs.”

These concerns are supported by the declining quantity of water available from Florida’s famous freshwater springs and rivers located in the central and northeastern parts of the state, fed from the Floridan aquifer. “Florida has one of the largest concentrations of freshwater springs on Earth, with more than 700 springs within its boundaries,” as posted on the SJRWMD website.

Florida Springs

Florida’s Fresh Water Springs (as per Google Maps Terms of Service)

Florida Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Herschel T. Vinyard Jr.
 is featured on the Florida’s Springs webpage ( “Unfortunately” he says, “many of our springs are now at risk. We cannot ignore the impact that increased population growth and urbanization of our state has had on our ground water and springs.”

According to a June 22, 2012 article in The New York Times, by Lizette Alvarez, “the springs scarcely bubble up. Its flow rate has dropped by a third over 10 years.” Ms. Alvarez has been the Miami bureau chief for The New York Times since January 2011.

Don’t be too alarmed. As advised by Vero Beach Water & Sewer Director Rob Bolton and Indian River Farms Water Control District Superintendent David Gunter, our water supply here in Vero Beach and Indian River County from the Floridan aquifer is ample, but we cannot take it for granted. We need conservation and must look at what’s happening in Northeast and Central Florida to prepare for the future.

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