WRIR 99-4002

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Marella, R.L., 1999, Water Withdrawals, Use, Discharge, and Trends in Florida, 1995: U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 99-4002, 90 p.


In 1995, the total amount of water withdrawn in Florida was nearly 18,200 million gallons per day (Mgal/d), of which 60 percent was saline and 40 percent was freshwater. Ground water accounted for 60 percent of freshwater withdrawals and surface water accounted for the remaining 40 percent. Ninety-three percent of the 14.15 million people in Florida relied on ground water for their drinking water needs in 1995. Almost all (99.9 percent) saline water withdrawals were from surface water.

Public supply accounted for 43 percent of ground water withdrawn in 1995, followed by agricultural self-supplied (35 percent), commercial-industrial self-supplied (including mining) (10 percent), domestic self-supplied (7 percent), recreational irrigation (4.5 percent), and power generation (0.5 percent). Agricultural self-supplied accounted for 60 percent of fresh surface water withdrawn in 1995, followed by power generation (21 percent), commercial-industrial self-supplied (9 percent), public supply (7 percent), and recreational irrigation (3 percent). Almost all of saline water withdrawn was used for power generation.

The largest amount of freshwater was withdrawn in Palm Beach County and the largest amount of saline water was withdrawn in Hillsborough County. Significant withdrawals (more than 200 Mgal/d) of fresh ground water occurred in Dade, Broward, Polk, Orange, and Palm Beach Counties. Significant withdrawals (more than 200 Mgal/d) of fresh surface water occurred in Palm Beach, Hendry, and St. Lucie Counties. The South Florida Water Management District accounted for the largest amount of freshwater withdrawn (nearly 50 percent).

About 57 percent of the total ground water withdrawn was from the Floridan aquifer system; 20 percent was from the Biscayne aquifer. Most of the surface water used in Florida was from managed and maintained canal systems or large water bodies. Major sources of fresh surface water include the Caloosahatchee River, Deer Point Lake, Hillsborough River, Lake Apopka, Lake Okeechobee and associated canals, and the St. Johns River.

Freshwater withdrawals increased nearly 29 percent in Florida between 1970 and 1995. Ground-water withdrawals increased 56 percent, and surface-water withdrawals increased 2 percent during this period. Between 1990 and 1995, freshwater withdrawals decreased 5 percent. Fresh ground-water withdrawals decreased 7 percent, and fresh surface-water withdrawals decreased 1 percent during this period. Saline water withdrawals increased 13 percent between 1970 and 1995, and increased 6 percent between 1990 and 1995.

An estimated 39 percent of the freshwater withdrawn in Florida was consumed; the remaining 61 percent was returned for use again. Wastewater discharged from the 615 treatment facilities inventoried in 1995 totaled 1,836 Mgal/d, of which 84 percent was from domestic wastewater facilities and the remaining 16 percent was from industrial facilities. Domestic wastewater discharge increased 37 percent between 1985 and 1995, while industrial wastewater discharge increased 7 percent during this period.

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