Aquifer at max pumping in central Florida

Remember, this is our aquifer, too. And watch out! They’d rather pipe somebody else’s river water than conserve in Central Florida.

Kevin Spear wrote for the Orlando Sentinel yesterday, Analysis: Floridan Aquifer can only handle 6% more pumping before serious environmental harm,

Just how much more water can Central Florida pump from the Floridan Aquifer without causing real harm to the region’s environment? After years of debate, study and anxiety, state authorities say they have finally — and officially — figured it out.

The answer: hardly any.

Using the most advanced databases and computing methodology yet developed for such a task, a consortium of state water managers and local utilities have calculated that the current amount of water pumped from the underground aquifer each day can be increased by only about 6 percent — which means the region is already exploiting the huge, life-sustaining aquifer for nearly every drop it can safely offer.


“This should come as no surprise,” said Hal Wilkening, a director with the St. Johns River Water Management District. The consortium, called the Central Florida Water Initiative, hopes its new calculations will give utilities the financial courage to spend large sums of money on meeting the region’s rising water needs by pumping water from relatively distant rivers, lakes or even the ocean rather than from the aquifer.

Desalinate sea water, fine: use solar energy for that. Pump our river water: no way.

Another option — one not considered likely by state officials — is to improve existing conservation measures so that demand for water is kept in check even as Central Florida’s population grows from nearly 3 million today to 4.1 million in 2035.

Stop wasting water on lawns of exotic grasses, would that be so hard?

The findings also emphasize that certain parts of Central Florida are particularly vulnerable to environmental degradation — diminished spring flows, shriveled wetlands and shrunken lakes — because of water pumping from the aquifer.

We already have some of those problems here in most years, and we don’t need more. Orlando, like Atlanta, needs to learn to conserve.