Freshwater in Florida

Florida is blessed with an abundant freshwater resource that seeps beneath the ground. Most of the water which has been found in Florida is groundwater. It seeps through sand, gravel and flows through the cracks and paths made by the limestone. This water is replenished by rainfall and can be found on the surface in the form of rivers, lakes, bays, and wetlands. There is an abundant supply of fresh water in Florida. Most of Florida’s terrain is filled with active interchange of surface water and groundwater. It is interesting that in Florida, the groundwater and the surface water are interconnected. There are geographical landmarks where one can witness that lakes may disappear into a sinkhole; springs may bubble up through new breaks in underlying rocks, and water may flow one way at the land surface and quite a different way underground. This characteristic is termed by the geologists as a karst landscape. Freshwater is a valuable resource in Florida that is supported by the terrain and the city planning. It is also supported by well-managed water supply and landscape irrigation conservation.

Florida has abundant surface water springs, rivers, lakes, bays, and wetlands. Interestingly of 84 first magnitude springs of rivers and streams, 33 are in Florida, which is more than any other state. The boundaries of Florida have approximately 16,000 kilometers of rivers and streams and 7,800 lakes. Some of the wetlands are a remarkable feature of Florida’s terrain, which rarely occur in other states. The Florida Everglades and Big Cypress Swamp cover much of Southern Florida and some Florida wetland communities, such as mangrove swamps and hydric (wet) hammocks, which rarely occur in other states. In Florida, groundwater and surface water are connected in complicated and changing ways that are invisible at lands surface.

The geology in Florida is marked by Aquifiers which are underground rocks that hold water. In Florida three aquifiers are used for water supply: the Floridan aquifer, the intermediate aquifer and the surficial aquifer. The Floridan aquifer has been called Florida’s rain barrel(parker,1951) and is one of the most productive aquifers in the world. Interestingly, each day Floridan’s use 2.5 billion gallons of water from the Floridan aquifer.

The water supply in Florida is very effectively managed by The South Florida Management District, which is the regional governmental agency responsible for water maintaining the quality of water, the control of flood, the supply of water and the restoration of the environment in Florida. The district manages and protects water on behalf of 7.5 million South Floridians. It is also considered a leader in restoring America’s Everglades.

The conservation of freshwater has been a universal concern over the last few decades. The south Florida management District aims to propose a plan for water conservation in which people are encouraged to reduce overuse of water in their regular household use as well as in the field of irrigation. They are motivated to keep within the limits of the regional supplies. They also initiate a water conservation ethic to preserve the shared regional water supply. Their objective is to focus on the river, lakes, and ponds for water supply and maintain water quality, control flood, restore the ecosystem and manage the water supply to the residents of Florida.

The recent development trend is to raise the awareness regarding the freshwater resource which Florida has and effectively help conserve the resources for future use. Management of Florida’s freshwater as a resource includes regulating the water supply, protecting the sources of freshwater, and handling the wastage of the water as a resource through water conservation and awareness programs.


Florida’s Water Resource.

South Florida Water Management District.

Florida Assessment of Coastal Trends.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

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