Water Resource Sustainment Plan

Water Resource Plan

Arthur Robertson



Ronald Montgomery

Water Resource Plan: Aquifer Depletion

    Imagine living on a farm where the only source of fresh water is a well and one morning that well has run dry. This may be the future for several people who rely on aquifers. An aquifer is an underground rock formation composed of such materials as sand, soil, or gravel that can store ground water and supply it to wells and springs. The Floridian Aquifer, in Southwest Florida, is one of the main sources of portable water and irrigation for agricultural products as well as the source of springs and rivers that provide for several habitats and communities.   This is the case with several other aquifers around the world. Large phosphate mining operations utilize these aquifers on a regular basis.   Long-term aquifer declines began with farmers utilizing aquifers more so than they could replenish themselves. The acceleration of saltwater intrusions, ceased flow of springs, reduction of flows in the surrounding rivers, and the lowering of lake levels in the surrounding area were results of the declining aquifers.   With drought making this bad situation worse management of aquifers has became critical.   From this crisis, the Southern Water Use Caution Area (SWUCA) and the SWUCA Recovery Plan were developed by the Southwest Florida Water Management District.   Only time will tell if the recovery plan can restore the Florida Aquifer.
          In 1975, areas dominated by phosphate mining were the center of the aquifer level declines.   At that time mining operations drastically reduced their dependence on the Floridian Aquifer by beginning to practice conservation measures (SWFWMD, 2006).   At the same time the demands on the aquifer were being reduced by the phosphate industry, while an increase in demand was being felt due to large scale agricultural endeavors.   In addition to the irrigation needed to sustain crops during the dry season in...