Partnership activities to be discussed at St. Johns and Suwannee joint Board workshop
March 5, 2013 -- The St. Johns River and Suwannee River water management districts' governing boards will hold a joint workshop March 11 to discuss the current activities and accomplishments of the North Florida Regional Water Supply Partnership.
The workshop will begin at 2 p.m. at Fanning Springs City Hall, 17651 N.W. 90th Court, Fanning Springs. The meeting is open to the public, and there will be an opportunity for public comment.
"Protecting north Florida's water resources is the shared responsibility of both water management districts," said St. Johns District Board Chairman Lad Daniels of Jacksonville. "This workshop will provide an opportunity for board members from two districts to sit down together to discuss issues of regional interest, exchange ideas and continue to build on the efficiencies and accomplishments of the past year."
"By coordinating our efforts, we are working to make sure that water resources and water users in both districts are protected," Suwannee River District Board Chairman Don Quincey Jr. said. "Our staffs are sharing data and collaborating on regulatory programs to protect the Floridan aquifer system and water resources across district boundaries."
Formed in late 2011, the Partnership formalizes the coordination of water management in north Florida to ensure sustainable water supplies and to protect the region's waterways and natural systems. The Partnership seeks to improve scientific tool development and communication among water managers, local governments, concerned individuals and other stakeholders by working together to protect shared water resources and cost-effective, sustainable water supplies.
Accomplishments have included engaging a Stakeholder Advisory Committee comprised of representatives of the various groups, organizations and entities that have an interest in the region's water supply. The committee serves as an advisory body to the districts and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and helps to ensure that all interests are considered and that the process is inclusive.
Current Partnership activities include:Developing a regional water supply plan. In January, the Stakeholder Advisory Committee agreed on a regional planning boundary, defining the area where collaborative initiatives will address water resource challenges and ensure a sustainable water supply throughout north Florida.Developing a shared groundwater modeling tool to predict and assess water resource impacts, which will provide more consistent information for water supply planning and water use permitting decisions.Jointly studying the regional groundwater decline of the Upper Floridan aquifer in north Florida. Creating consistency and coordination in setting minimum flows and levels.Collecting and sharing science-based data and filling information gaps in areas where data is limited.
Additionally, the districts are working together on the North Florida Aquifer Replenishment Initiative, a series of projects to determine the feasibility of protecting and maintaining regional aquifer levels by capturing significant quantities of water to recharge the Upper Floridan aquifer at strategic locations. Several projects are currently under way, including:Concept development of four regional recharge projects to replenish the Upper Floridan aquifer using reclaimed water and surface water within both districts. An analysis of water that could be harvested from the First Coast Outer Beltway project and delivered to a storage reservoir at the Clay County Utility Authority (CCUA) treatment facility to replenish the Floridan aquifer and lakes in the Keystone Heights area.A pilot test well to evaluate the hydrology and water quality effects of introducing additional water into the Keystone Heights area in southwest Clay County.
For more information about the Partnership, visit northfloridawater.com.