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Water Wednesday Recap – Does Florida Have Enough Water?

Some of you may already know we are starting a new series – Water Wednesday. Water Wednesday is a Facebook Live series provided by Agents and Specialists in UF/IFAS. Every Wednesday 2 pm ET, we will live stream at Water Talk at Facebook page – UF IFAS Extension Central District – Water Resources  (www.facebook.com/WaterCentralFlorida/). You don’t need to register. Just tune in at 2 pm every Wednesday. If you miss our live events, don’t worry. We got you covered. One week after the live event, we will post a recap blog with the link of the live video.

Last Water Wednesday, we explored if Florida has enough water. When you hear the phrase “Florida water”, what other words or phrases come to your mind? Most people will say beaches or oceans. Yes, Florida is three sides surrounded by water. Why water is an issue in Florida? Let’s look at where we can find our water first.

Rum Island spring and the Santa Fe River.

Generally speaking, we can find water above ground, which is called surface water, and below ground, which is called groundwater. For surface water, we have more than a dozen major rivers and streams, about 7800 lakes and ponds, wetlands, and oceans. Most of us, however, get our drinking water from groundwater. Many places in the U.S. on surface water for their drinking water supply. Because we live in Florida, we are lucky to have a plentiful source of groundwater. Groundwater wells supply over 92% of the water we need to drink, bathe, flush toilets, wash laundry and water our lawns. The quality of the groundwater is among the best in the nation, but nitrate concentrations commonly exceed the criterion for water discharging from springs, where groundwater becomes surface water.

1000 Friends of Florida projected that the population in Florida will reach 34 millions in 2070. Population change means major landscape change. In the last 15 of the 20th century, about 611,845 ha of natural and semi-natural cover types were converted to urban or other developed uses, and 703,292 ha were converted to agricultural uses. Increased developed lands increase the stormwater runoff, which may contain sediment, bacteria, fertilizers, pesticide, oil, grease, antifreeze, metals, toxic chemicals, cleaners, and litter. Meanwhile, more people generally means more demand for water. Between 1950 and 2010, the population of Florida increased by 16.03 million (580%), and the total water withdrawals (fresh and saline) increased by 12,334 Mgal/d (465%).

Does Florida have enough water? The short answer is no. We don’t have enough water if we don’t change how we are using and managing water currently. To watch the live video, please click: Water Wednesday – Does Florida Have Enough Water?

 

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