Protecting Our Water

The reliance on water from the aquifer, along with the depletion of recharge zones, such as the Everglades has dwindled our water supply.

Protecting our Economy

Degrading any water sources in the state will only lead to the degradation of potential profits in coastal community economies.

Advanced Water Treatment

We Can:

  • Create a sustainable water source

  • Prevent the degradation of lakes and aquifers

  • Protect our coastal economies 

The Floridan aquifer supplies about 10 million people's domestic and agricultural water needs.[1] As the population in Florida grows exponentially the demand for our freshwater resources grows as well. The reliance on water from the aquifer, along with the depletion of recharge zones, such as the Everglades has dwindled our water supply.[2]

 

Reclaimed water has been a sustainable way to treat and reuse water, easing the pressure on groundwater sources. The technology currently available for wastewater treatment could be enhanced to recycle higher volumes of water. Some counties in Florida have already implemented advanced wastewater treatments and have seen success.

 

Reusing reclaimed water for irrigation, groundwater recharge, and public areas saves communities money on water and can protect Florida's precious resources.[3] The benefits of advanced water treatment expansion throughout the state are clear and within the jurisdiction of the Commissioner of Agriculture to implement.  

Water is essential to all life on Earth, and its health has a dramatic effect on the ecosystems around it. As water has been rapidly withdrawn from sources the flow of water into riparian ecosystems has decreased.[4] A lowered flow rate into streams throughout the state has created stagnant waters vulnerable to HABs (harmful algal bloom) and disease. Algal blooms, such as the Red Tide cost many coastal communities in Florida millions to clean up and recover from.[5] HABs degrade water habitats and over time can create unviable lakes, ponds, and streams for any organisms. Coastal communities in Florida depend on fish, crustaceans, and several other marines or riparian organisms for business. Degrading any water sources in the state will only lead to the degradation of potential profits in coastal community economies.

 

Lowered flow rates also have negative impacts on the recharge zones that help supply groundwater storage for future use. Wetland ecosystems have several beneficial functions, but most importantly they filter water before it infiltrates into the aquifer below.[6] The complex filtration process wetlands perform ensures that water entering the ground is purified and clean.

 

Keeping high flow rates and water volumes in Florida’s aquifers is especially vital to maintaining our strong Karst foundation.[7] There is a direct relationship between the stability of our limestone bedrock and the volume of water residing in our aquifer. Over-pumping from the aquifer in specific regions of Florida has been linked to sinkholes unusually large. Sinkholes are a concern for several communities across the state already, and increasing those odds is dangerous.

 

Since 90% of Floridians rely on the aquifer to supply their drinking water, protecting its health and volume is crucial.[8] Conserving water, researching new water technologies, and implementing water-saving policies is the best way to combat water crises before they begin.

 

[1]https://fl.water.usgs.gov/floridan/#:~:text=About%2010%20million%20people%20rely,discharges%20to%20springs%20and%20streams%20%E2%80%A6

[2] https://sunriseirrigationandsprinklers.com/reclaimed-water/

[3]https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/publication/FE757

[4]https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/publication/FE757

[5]https://www.ewg.org/research/high-cost-of-algae-blooms#:~:text=In%20Florida%2C%20at%20least%20%246,declared%20a%20state%20of%20emergency.

[6]https://www.wlrn.org/environment/2016-08-24/floridas-natural-filter-everglades-national-park

[7]https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/science-behind-floridas-sinkhole-epidemic-180969158/

[8]https://www.sfwmd.gov/science-data/gw-modeling#:~:text=Supplying%20approximately%2090%20percent%20of,most%20productive%20in%20the%20world.

Education

So, What Can We Do?!

A current solution to lower the over-pumping rates from aquifers is by using reclaimed water. Water reclamation is the process of using wastewater or stormwater, purifying it through treatments allowing it to be reused for public use, and agriculture. Florida is a national leader in water reclamation and has several facilities across the state, recycling billions of water a day.[1]

 

Water reclamation gives water a second life, it can be used in public areas, irrigation, and industries after it has already been “used.” The technology used today could be advanced to allow for higher rates and efficiency of recycling water. Some counties have already upgraded their wastewater treatment facilities with better technology to filter water more efficiently, providing more recycled water than before.[2] Reusing water for things like fire hydrants, public sprinklers, and agriculture communities can save their wallets and future.

 

The Commissioner of Agriculture can make these advancements in wastewater treatment facilities throughout the state. By chapter 570, section 66 the Commissioner of Agriculture can create an office of Agricultural Water Policy that will enforce water conservation. An office focusing specifically on soil and water conservation will have the power to make decisions on water reclamation levels and limits, to enhance the success of these facilities.

 

By chapter 570, section 93 The Commissioner of Agriculture can work with the USDA and other agencies to create a cost-share program to retrofit irrigation systems for water conservation improvement.[3] Retrofitting in this context is the process of updating current machinery or technology to create a more eco-friendly or sustainable version. Retrofitting current irrigation machinery to accept reclaimed water will help conserve water agriculturally. Also, retrofitting reclamation facilities themselves to filter water better, and at higher rates will increase the volume at which water is conserved throughout the state.

 

Palm Beach County recently announced its support to be involved in the advanced wastewater treatment expansion, it is clear many people support the idea.[4]

 

Overall, communities across the state are realizing the importance environmentally and economically of expanding advanced wastewater treatment facilities. The Commissioner of Agriculture can make the new technology a priority for many regions in Florida that would benefit from the advancement.

 

[1]https://floridadep.gov/water/domestic-wastewater/content/general-facts-and-statistics-about-wastewater-florida

[2]https://blogs.ifas.ufl.edu/sarasotaco/2020/07/30/advanced-wastewater-treatment-awt/

[3]http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0500-0599/0570/0570.html

[4]chrome-extension://efaidnbmnnnibpcajpcglclefindmkaj/https://discover.pbcgov.org/legislativeaffairs/State_Legislative_Issues/2021-Legislative-Issues_Environmental-Natural-Resources.pdf

Better Water for All

Overall, communities across the state are realizing the importance environmentally and economically of expanding advanced wastewater treatment facilities.