WRIR 02-4009

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Sepulveda, Nicasio, 2002, Simulation of Ground-Water Flow in the Intermediate and Floridan Aquifer Systems in Peninsular Florida: Water-Resources Investigations Report 02-4009, 130 p.


A numerical model of the intermediate and Floridan aquifer systems in peninsular Florida was used to (1) test and refine the conceptual understanding of the regional ground-water flow system; (2) develop a data base to support subregional ground-water flow modeling; and (3) evaluate effects of projected 2020 ground-water withdrawals on ground-water levels. The four-layer model was based on the computer code MODFLOW-96, developed by the U.S. Geological Survey. The top layer consists of specified-head cells simulating the surficial aquifer system as a source-sink layer. The second layer simulates the intermediate aquifer system in southwest Florida and the intermediate confining unit where it is present. The third and fourth layers simulate the Upper and Lower Floridan aquifers, respectively. Steady-state ground-water flow conditions were approximated for time-averaged hydrologic conditions from August 1993 through July 1994 (1993-94). This period was selected based on data from Upper Floridan a quifer wells equipped with continuous water-level recorders. The grid used for the ground-water flow model was uniform and composed of square 5,000-foot cells, with 210 columns and 300 rows.

The active model area, which encompasses about 40,800 square miles in peninsular Florida, includes areas of various physiographic regions classified according to natural features. Hydrogeologic conditions vary among physiographic regions, requiring different approaches to estimating hydraulic properties for different areas. The altitudes of water levels for the surficial aquifer system and heads in the Upper Floridan aquifer, for time-averaged 1993-94 conditions, were computed by using a multiple linear regression of measured water levels in each of the physiographic regions.

Ground-water flow simulation was limited vertically to depths containing water with chloride concentrations less than 5,000 milligrams per liter. Water-level altitudes in the Floridan aquifer system beneath which chloride concentrations exceed 5,000 milligrams per liter were estimated from previously developed maps and analytical results of ground-water samples. Flow across the interface represented by this chloride concentration was assumed to be negligible.

The ground-water flow model was calibrated using time-averaged data for 1993-94 at 1,624 control points, flow measurements or estimates at 156 springs in the study area, and base-flow estimates of rivers in the unconfined areas of the Upper Floridan aquifer obtained by using a generalized hydrograph separation of recorded discharge data. Transmissivity of the intermediate aquifer system, Upper Floridan aquifer, and Lower Floridan aquifer; leakance of the upper and lower confining units of the intermediate aquifer system, the intermediate confining unit, the middle confining unit, and the middle semiconfining unit; spring and riverbed conductances; and net recharge rates to unconfined areas of the Upper Floridan aquifer were adjusted until a reasonable fit was obtained. Root-mean-square residuals between computed and simulated heads in the intermediate aquifer system, Upper Floridan aquifer, and Lower Floridan aquifer were 3.47, 3.41, and 2.89 feet, respectively. The overall root-mean-square residual was 3.40 feet. Simulated spring flow was 96 percent of the total measured (or estimated) spring flow in the study area.

Simulations were made to project water-level declines from 1993-94 to 2020 conditions. The calibrated flow model was used to simulate the potentiometric surfaces of the intermediate aquifer system, Upper Floridan aquifer, and Lower Floridan aquifer for 2020 using water-use projections provided by the Water Supply Assessment plans of the State Water Management Districts. Water-use projections for 2020 were based on estimated population growth and 1995 withdrawals. Heads in the Upper Floridan aquifer under projected 2020 water-use stresses were simulated for two scenarios: (1) assigning interpolated 1993-94 heads along the lateral boundaries of the Upper Floridan aquifer; and (2) assigning 1993-94 simulated flux rates across the same boundaries.

Projected 2020 ground-water withdrawals for municipal, industrial, commercial, agricultural, and self-supplied domestic uses was approximately 3,400 million gallons per day, an increase of about 36 percent from 1993-94. The largest projected drawdown in the potentiometric surface of the Upper Floridan aquifer, for both scenarios, was simulated in Orange County, with a drawdown of 10 feet in the central part of the County. Projected drawdowns of 6 feet were simulated in parts of Duval and Polk Counties.