Utilities Must Diversify as Water Resources Run Low, Report Concludes
December 2, 2013 | WMFE - Central Florida's fresh groundwater isn't enough to meet future demand. Already some water bodies are at risk. That's according to a new report from the Central Florida Water Initiative, a collaboration of three water management districts, the state and regional stakeholders. The report concludes utilities must develop other sources.
The report projects Central Florida's water use will grow 40 percent by 2035.
Waterways most at risk are in the Wekiva area, western Seminole County, western Orange County, southern Lake County and on the Lake Wales Ridge.
Tom Bartol of the St. Johns River Water Management District helped draft the report. He says utilities will have to explore other sources.
"We will see some going to brackish groundwater. We will see some going to surface water. And so that kind of increases the portfolio, and some of those are more expensive than fresh groundwater."
But he says consumers aren't likely to see their water bills rise in the near future, even though water development projects could run into the billions of dollars.
The report emphasizes conservation.
"Water use believe it or not has been fairly constant since the mid-90s in this large area, this five-county area. But since the mid-90s we've added one million people to those five county areas," Bartol says.
Historically Central Florida has relied on the Floridan aquifer for fresh groundwater. Nearly 100 percent of the region's wastewater is reused, for landscape irrigation for instance.