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July 2, 2015
Blue Spring in Volusia County
25 projects under way to improve spring health, protect flows
Through partnerships among the St. Johns River Water Management District, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and more than a dozen local governments, 25 projects are currently under way to protect the springsheds of Silver Springs in Marion County, Blue Spring in Volusia County and the springs of the Wekiva River in Lake, Orange and Seminole counties.
More than $80 million in total project costs has been dedicated over the past two years to springs protection within the District.
Projects include reclaimed water projects that decrease nutrient pollution by reducing or eliminating direct wastewater discharges and using this water to replace other irrigation sources, so that reductions in nutrient pollution can occur. Also, reclaimed projects protect spring flows by reducing demand for surface and groundwater withdrawals. Together, the 25 projects will reduce 804,126 pounds of nutrient pollution from entering our waters and will reduce withdrawals by 27.4 million gallons of water per day from the aquifers feeding Florida’s springs.
“Projects to protect springs and other water bodies are among the District’s cost-share funding priorities. The legislative funding and support of Governor Scott that we have received over the past couple of years have enabled these collaborative partnerships so projects can move forward successfully,” said Ann Shortelle, District executive director. “These 25 projects will help restore the ecological balance of our springs’ systems, which supports our quality of life as well as our regional economy.”
“Restoring the health of Florida’s springs requires a collective effort,” says DEP Deputy Secretary for Ecosystem Restoration Drew Bartlett. “We, at the department, are committed to working with the District and local governments as they spearhead these important projects that will improve and protect our springs.”
Springs projects are coordinated through the District’s Springs Protection Initiative, which combines construction projects, science, planning and regulatory programs to reduce nutrient pollution and protect spring flows.
Details about the springs projects can be found on the District’s website.
Additional projects to improve water quality and quantity through the District’s cost-share program are scheduled for consideration by the District’s Governing Board later this summer.
June 26, 2015
District and Ocala partner on WaterSmart program
The St. Johns River Water Management District and the city of Ocala are partnering on a one-year pilot project that could result in a 5 percent water savings by participating water users.
The District has committed $75,000 to the WaterSmart pilot project in Ocala. The WaterSmart program utilizes social norms in conjunction with comprehensive data analytics and targeted messaging to modify water use behavior.
Five thousand of Ocala’s residential customers will participate in the pilot program and receive mobile, email and print reports that provide consumption details and targeted water savings recommendations. By educating residential customers on their uses of water and ways to conserve, WaterSmart Software has been proven to improve water-use efficiency.
“Water conservation is a key component of protecting water resources in Marion County,” said the District’s North Central Florida Water Initiative Leader Lou Donnangelo. “We are working diligently to identify and implement prevention and recovery strategies to protect Silver Springs and other waterways.”
“Any and all projects that can assist in understanding the role we all have in the state of Florida to collaborate, conserve and protect the natural resources which are vital to our existence, the better we can manage the water that we have,” said Ocala’s Director of Water Resources, Jeff Halcomb. “The WaterSmart project is not just another tool in the tool box; it is a specific program that we believe will drive awareness and lower water demand.”
“WaterSmart applauds the St. Johns River Water Management District for its foresight and willingness to invest in new technological approaches to data-driven water management,” said Robin Gilthorpe, CEO of WaterSmart Software. “While Florida has unique water challenges stemming from population growth, the District recognizes the most cost-effective solutions to these issues begin with greater data transparency to inform ongoing investments that result in more resilient water systems.”
WaterSmart has partnerships with more than 40 water utilities nationally and has verified nearly 2 billion gallons of water saved through its programs.