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Monday, February 13, 2012

Overpumped

Published February 12, 2012 Ocala.com (Opinion)
As director of the Howard T. Odum Florida Springs Institute (FSI), I have serious concerns about the existing degraded conditions at Silver Springs due to longstanding reductions in flows and increases in nitrate nitrogen. Granting the Adena Springs Ranch water-use permit, which will increase overall water uses and increase nitrogen loads in the Silver Springs recharge basin, is not in the best interest of the springs or the affected public.

Silver Springs is probably the largest and best-known spring in Florida and the United States. Silver Springs is currently imperiled due to significant flow reductions, resulting in part from human groundwater withdrawals, and highly elevated groundwater nitrate nitrogen concentrations due to fertilizer and wastewater management in the 1,200-square-mile springshed.

The requested permit would allow the withdrawal of up to 13.27 million gallons per day from wells drilled into the underlying Floridan aquifer. There is evidence throughout Marion County and North Florida that this aquifer is already being overdrawn. This evidence includes declining water levels in water management district monitoring wells, declining lake and river levels throughout the region and declining spring flows in all monitored springs located outside of the Ocala National Forest.
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