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Friday, March 07, 2014

Endangered Waters: Silver Springs Dwindles (Editorial)

Published March 6, 2014
The Howard T. Odum Florida Springs Institute, whose namesake began studying Silver Springs, just outside Ocala, in the 1950s, announced its latest measurements last week. They were significant-and-sad: Silver Springs is "no longer the world's biggest first-magnitude spring."

Knight said his measurements of Silver Springs' flow show that Rainbow Springs is now the largest first-magnitude spring in the world. Nonetheless, Rainbow Springs — west of Ocala — also is declining in flow.

Now, Rainbow Springs has 65 million gallons per day per day more than Silver Springs. That's about 20 percent greater flow than Silver Springs.

Combined, the flows of the two major springs have declined from 1.01 billion gallons per day in the 1950s to about 650 million gallons per day now. That's about 33 percent less flow combined — and 45 percent less flow over the decades for Silver Springs.

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