Activities and accomplishments
- Engaging a Stakeholder Committee
The Stakeholder Advisory Committee held its 36th and final meeting on Nov. 2, 2016. The districts appreciate the members’ input and commitment that members have shown since the group’s inception in 2012. Their final act was the recommendation to the two districts’ Governing Boards in a unanimous 12—0 vote, the approval of the draft North Florida Regional Water Supply Plan.
Developing a shared tool to predict and assess water resource impacts
By using a common groundwater flow model, water managers can develop more consistent information to support water supply planning and water use permitting decisions. The water management districts, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division and a stakeholder steering and technical team are developing a North Florida-Southeast Georgia Regional (NFSEG) Groundwater Flow Model with boundaries that extend beyond the planning region to enable a single model to be used to assess and predict water resource impacts.
Residents and visitors enjoy Ichetucknee Springs.
The two water management districts agree that there have been changes in the level and configuration of the potentiometric surface of the Upper Floridan aquifer in northeast Florida and southeast Georgia. Both districts recognize that additional data and analysis are necessary to better understand the factors that have contributed to these changes and the potential impact to the water resources within both districts. A joint study conducted to evaluate the changes is available here. The report is a review of published scientific literature related to the Upper Floridan aquifer and entire Floridan aquifer system. Reviewed documents covered the time period from the mid-1930s to the present day in order to assimilate sufficient information related to trends in the potentiometric surface.
- Creating consistency and coordination in setting minimum flows and levels
The districts are considering a coordinated and consistent approach to setting minimum flows and levels (MFLs). MFLs are water flows and levels for surface water and groundwater designed to ensure that water withdrawals will not cause significant harm to the water resource or the ecology of the area. Currently, water managers and area stakeholders are working collaboratively to develop long-term comprehensive strategies to achieve MFLs in the western Clay-Putnam portion of the St. Johns District. In addition to representatives from the two water management districts, involved stakeholders include elected officials, lake advocates and concerned lakefront homeowners, representatives from state agencies and water supply utilities.
The districts monitor spring flows and groundwater wells, such as at this monitoring well.
The districts have worked together to collect additional data and fill information gaps in areas where data is limited. Work included installing new monitor wells at key locations and rehabilitating several existing Suwannee District monitor network wells. In addition, U.S. Geological Survey high-resolution topographic mapping in Bradford, Union, Alachua, Clay and Putnam counties is currently being collected and should be completed in 2017 to provide more accurate ground elevation data for the area.
- Developing a regional water supply plan
The North Florida Regional Water Supply Plan was approved by the governing boards of the St. Johns River and Suwannee River water management districts on January 17, 2017. The plan for the North Florida area discusses:
- Water use demand projections
- Water resource impacts that could occur if future demand were met solely from existing groundwater supplies
- Water conservation opportunities
- Potential water resource and water supply development projects that may be needed to supplement groundwater supplies
- Funding sources