Florida Springs Institute Director, Dr. Robert Knight, and Senior Environmental Scientist for FSI, Ron Clarke, were recently selected for publication in the February 2016 edition of the Journal of Earth Science and Engineering. The article, entitled “Florida Springs – A Water-Balance Approach to Estimating Water Availability”, and a brief summary can be found below:
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Abstract:Florida’s artesian springs receive groundwater outflows from the Floridan Aquifer System and are concentrated north of I-4 and west to the Florida Panhandle. These springs and their resulting spring runs support a unique freshwater ecology dependent on perennial flows, constant temperature and chemistry, and high light transmissivity. Numerous observations indicate that Florida’s springs flows are declining as a result of the increasing extraction of groundwater for human uses. North Florida’s karst environment is especially susceptible to nitrogen pollution from agricultural and urban development. An empirical springs/aquifer water budget is needed to better understand these spring stressors. Discharge data from 393 of the state’s 1,000+ artesian springs are used to estimate trends in total spring discharge by decade since 1930-39. This analysis indicates that average spring flows have declined by about 32%. Large groundwater pumping centers are altering spring flows over the whole springs region. Existing groundwater pumping rates from the Floridan Aquifer in 2010 were more than 30% of average annual aquifer recharge, and allocated groundwater use in north-central Florida is nearly double current estimated uses. Based on biological research conducted in Florida springs, these flow reductions are from two to six times greater than declines known to result in significant harm to aquatic resources.
Key words:Artesian springs, Floridan Aquifer, hydrology, aquatic ecology, aquifer recharge.