Fact Sheet 151-95


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Spechler, R.M., and Schiffer, D.M., 1995, Springs in Florida: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet FS-151-95, 2 p.

ABSTRACT

Florida's springs are among the State's most valued natural and scenic resources. Springs are an important part of Florida's history, dating back to the days of early Spanish explorers including Ponce de Leon, who came in 1513 seeking the Fountain of Youth. Archeological evidence indicate s that Indian villages were located near springs; native Floridians used the springs for their water supply and fished in the streams formed by the springs. Many of Florida's springs are tourist attractions; the best known is Silver Springs which has been a location for movie and television productions. Most of Florida's springs are located in the northern half of the State (fig. 1). Springs are the surface evidence of a vast underground water resource, the Floridan aquifer system, which supplies most of the State's drinking water. The large quantities of water discharged from Florida springs indicate the large capacity of the underground aquifer system to store and transmit water.

Springs provide base flow for many of the streams and rivers that are used for boating, fishing, swimming, scuba diving, and snorkeling. The nearly constant temperature of spring water creates an ideal habitat for many plants and animals; one example is the manatee, which seeks out the warmer waters of spring runs during cooler winter months. The 320 known springs in the State discharge about 12,300 cubic feet per second (ft3/s) or nearly 8 billion gallons per day. This exceeds the 7.5 billion gallons per day of freshwater used in the State (from ground-water and surface-water sources) for public supply, agricultural, industrial, domestic, and thermoelectric power purposes in 1990.