Celebrate Water Quality Month: Take Action!

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Celebrate Water Quality Month: Take Action!

As Floridians, we are surrounded by water. Our treasured water resources are part of our identity. FCV fights tirelessly to protect Florida’s valued waters. That means demanding strong protections for both water quality and water quantity. 

This month we are highlighting the work that FCV and our conservation partners are doing to protect Florida’s waters. Below we dive into some of what makes our water so special and how we can act to protect it.

Our Aquifers

The Floridan Aquifer is mighty indeed, starting in South Carolina, covering parts of Georgia and Alabama, and stretching down the entirety of Florida. Our aquifer consists of vast reserves of clean water, held within layers of rock below us. The Floridan Aquifer System is the main source of drinking water for over 11 million Floridians and the millions of tourists who visit our state each year. Almost everything we do here on the surface trickles down to our aquifer. It’s all connected. We must realize the effect that all of our actions have on our water supply and push our lawmakers to act to protect this essential, life-giving resource

Groundwater and Springs

The Floridan Aquifer system supplies groundwater for agricultural, commercial, and industrial needs throughout Florida. As development spreads and our population grows, our groundwater is being utilized more and more. In 2015, it was estimated that 2.3 billion gallons of water were withdrawn daily from the Floridan Aquifer. When too much water is withdrawn, it leads to a decrease in water quality, and lower water levels in vulnerable ecosystems. 

The heart of Florida’s groundwater is our springs. Our state is home to the largest and most unique concentration of freshwater springs in the world. Our springs and groundwater are in danger at every turn. Lowered spring and river water flows, coupled with a decrease in water quality due to chemicals leaching into our water supply, have left these systems on life support. FCV will continue to advocate for the conservation of our springs, fresh water bodies, and groundwater recharge areas. 

Map of the Floridan Aquifer System. Credit: Florida Springs Institute

Beaches and Coasts

Florida has a whopping 1,350 miles of coastline, second in the U.S. only to Alaska. Residents and visitors flock to our beautiful sand beaches which are consistently ranked as the best nationwide. 

Unique and charismatic wildlife including nesting shorebird, sea turtle, and beach mice rely on our beaches for breeding and habitat. Our tidal and backwater estuaries provide nursery habitat for fish and excite anglers with sportfishing opportunities. 

In recent years, our coastlines and beaches have been fouled by toxic algae, wastewater spills, and oil from dangerous offshore drilling. 

Stronger pollution standards are needed to stop pollution at the source. More protective water quality standards are necessary to protect our environment and human health. And all offshore oil drilling must be permanently banned to provide our environment and our economy. 

FCV continuously advocates for stronger pollution standards and a permanent ban on offshore oil drilling. Speak up to protect our coasts!

Water and Land Conservation

Investing in land conservation is the strongest protection for our state’s water resources. FCV advocates for full funding for our conservation programs like Florida Forever. By conserving land, we are protecting watersheds and wetlands, and providing green space for aquifer recharge. By conserving land, we can improve public health and reduce spending. 

When our natural systems have the space to operate as designed, our water quality will improve, and we can avoid some of the costly investments in water treatment infrastructure.

Climate Change

Climate change will bring a whole slew of complications to Florida, many of which will affect our water resources. Florida’s water supplies are vulnerable to rising temperatures, storms, and sea level rise. Along the coast of Florida, sea levels are likely to rise by 8 to 12 inches by 2040. While that might make you think of coastal flooding, there is another threat lying below our feet: Saltwater intrusion, the seeping of saltwater into our freshwater aquifers.

Saltwater intrusion is nothing new in Florida, and it has long been a characteristic of the southern portion of the state. The aquifers of south Florida must treat the salty water, so they are able to use it – requiring costly water filtration infrastructure. Is this the fate for more and more Floridians as freshwater wells dry up and/or get flooded by rising sea levels? We must demand that our legislators take action on climate

Florida is a natural marvel; we are so lucky to live in a place with bubbling crystal springs, ancient wetlands, and expansive tannic rivers. Our state’s water resources are under more and more pressure as our population grows and development stretches into rural natural lands. We must be more vigilant than ever in protecting our water. We hope you’ll dive in with us! Sign this petition to help protect our water.

Sources:

The Floridan Aquifer – https://bluewateraudit.org/about-the-aquifer/   

It’s Not Just Flooding – https://www.wuft.org/specials/water/saltwater-intrusion/ 

Threats to the Floridan Aquifer – https://www.arcgis.com/apps/Cascade/index.html?appid=3dac93243a47479183c97481f445fdbe

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