ABSTRACT The Northwest Florida Water Management District is located in the western panhandle of Florida and encompasses about 11,200 square miles. In 1995, the District had an estimated population of 1.13 million, an increase of about 47 percent from the 1975 population of 0.77 million. Over 50 percent of the resident population lives within 10 miles of the coast. In addition, hundreds of thousands of visitors come to the coastal areas of the panhandle during the summer months for recreation or vacation purposes. Water withdrawn to meet demands for public supply, domestic self-supplied, commercial-industrial, agricultural irrigation, and recreational irrigation purposes in the District increased 18 percent (52 million gallons per day) between 1970 and 1995. The greatest increases were for public supply and domestic self-supplied (99 percent increase) and for agricultural irrigation (60 percent increase) between 1970 and 1995. In 1995, approximately 70 percent of the water withdrawn was from ground-water sources, with the majority of this from the Floridan aquifer system. The increasing water demands have affected water levels in the Floridan aquifer system, especially along the coastal areas. The Northwest Florida Water Management District is mandated under the Florida Statutes (Chapter 373) to protect and manage the water resources in this area of the State. The mandate requires that current and future water demands be met, while water resources and water-dependent natural systems are sustained.
For this project, curve fitting and extrapolation were used to project most of the variables (population, population served by public supply, and water use) to the years 2000, 2005, 2010, 2015, and 2020. This mathematical method involves fitting a curve to historical population or water-use data and then extending this curve to arrive at future values. The population within the region is projected to reach 1,596,888 by the year 2020, an increase of 41 percent between 1995 and 2020. Most of the population in this region will continue to reside in the urban areas of Pensacola and Tallahassee, and along the coastal areas. The population served by public water supply is projected to reach 1,353,836 by the year 2020, an increase of nearly 46 percent between 1995 and 2020.
Total water demand for the Northwest Florida Water Management District is projected to reach 940.2 million gallons per day in 2000, 1,003.1 million gallons per day in 2010, and 1,059.1 million gallons per day in 2020. Excluding water withdrawn for power generation from these totals, water demands will increase 34 percent between 1995 and 2020, and 58 percent between 1970 and 2020. Specifically, public supply demands are projected to increase 74.1 million gallons per day (53 percent) and domestic self-supplied and small public supply systems demands are projected to increase 9.1 million gallons per day (28 percent) between 1995 and 2020. Commercial- industrial self-supplied demands are projected to increase about 16.9 million gallons per day (13 percent) between 1995 and 2020. Agricultural and recreational irrigation demands combined are projected to increase 16.8 million gallons per day (48 percent) between 1995 and 2020. Water demands for power generation are projected to increase about 53.9 million gallons per day (10 percent) between 1995 and 2020. Although power generation water use shows a projected increase during this time, plant capacities are not expected to change dramatically.