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Water Wednesdays Recap – The Economic Value of Florida’s Springs

Springs are extremely important for the state of Florida. They provide vast natural, recreational, and economic values. They also provide scientific value and offer critical habitats for plants and animals, including endangered or threatened species. Last Water Wednesdays, we discussed the economic value of Florida Springs.

The word “value” has many meanings. Economists measure the value of ecosystem services in dollar terms to assist management decisions concerning natural resources. A monetary value can help an ecosystem manager compare management plans and choose a program that generates the highest value per dollar spent. Meanwhile, the monetary value of ecosystem services can also help decision makers justify their environmental management decisions that may require significant investments by stakeholders and the public. However, ecosystem services are not bought and sold in markets, so their economic value can only be estimated using special valuation methods.

Every year, millions of people visit our state’s springs for recreation and employment. Take the springs in our state parks as an example. In 2019, more than 3.9 million people visit the springs in Florida’s state parks. They spent over $350 million in local economies and supported 4,885 jobs.

Watch the video to learn more about the economic value of Florida’s springs.

3 Comments on “Water Wednesdays Recap – The Economic Value of Florida’s Springs

  1. If the springs are so valuable (which I agree with BTW) then why are applications from companies like Nestle even considered? They drain the aquifer, generate single use plastic, and don’t provide any real financial benefit.

  2. Thank you for your comments. Florida’s springs are facing various complex threats, including decreasing spring flows and excessive nutrients. Spring flows decrease because of declining water levels in the groundwater aquifer that sustains them. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Water Withdrawals, Uses, and Trends in Florida, 2015 report indicated that 5,720.82 million gallons of water were withdrawn every day. Commercial-industrial-institutional-mining (CIIM) freshwater withdrawals are reported at 408.99 million gallons per day (MGD). Bottled water companies are one industry included in CIIM category. On Page 21 of the report (https://pubs.usgs.gov/sir/2019/5147/sir20195147.pdf): “Food production (including water-bottling) accounted for about 20 MGD of the freshwater withdrawals in this category in 2015, of which about one-quarter (5 MGD) was withdrawn specifically for water-bottling.” As a Floridan, we are all responsible to reduce the plastic use and protect our water resources.