One is the nearly ,square-mile Floridan aquifer, which encompasses the entire state of Florida and parts of Alabama, Georgia , Mississippi and South Carolina. If the Biscayne aquifer ever ran completely dry, utility companies could dig deeper and hit the Floridan. More specifically, more algae forms, reducing water clarity and resulting in the stagnant, brackish water that repels both people and wildlife.
If the spring goes dry, it can turn those vibrant natural resources into waterless holes in the ground.
Draining and development of the Everglades
Johns, which runs through Jacksonville, are spring-fed. As it turns out, everyone who uses water is contributing to the problem. According to the High Springs Institute, aquifer levels have fallen below what is necessary to maintain a healthy aquifer-spring system. A to foot reduction in aquifer levels is enough to stop a spring from flowing, and some urban areas have already recorded to foot drops. Petersburg area has been pumped to the point that saltwater has entered the supply, a series of sinkholes have formed and surface water has been depleted.
Determining whether the state is doing enough to conserve water includes looking at new development and how permits are issued. When developers establish the water needs for a subdivision or other large project, they must contract with utility companies, Crowley said, which have water-use permits to withdraw the water. Those permits not only cover actual water use, but they also include conditions meant to mitigate environmental harm caused by the withdrawal of water.
The permits can also include conditions requiring the development of alternative water supplies, increased efficiency measures and the reduction of water loss that might occur from leaks or unmetered supply. Crowley said there is an argument to be made that a per-gallon charge levied on utility companies could provide the extra money for conservation efforts and help create efficiency in the water utility system.
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