The posts on this website basically deal with issues pertaining directly to the Santa Fe River, as per the mission of the organization, to wit, “To collect and disseminate information with the goal of protecting the waters and lands supporting the Floridan aquifer, springs and rivers within the State of Florida.” And “To promote public awareness pertaining to the ecology, quality, and quantity of the waters and lands adjacent to and supporting the Santa Fe River, including its springs and underlying Floridan aquifer.”
Attention has been directed toward references to Silver Springs and the Silver River, and to their connection to the St Johns River Water Management District, as they “manage” this water resource for the citizens of Florida. A word of explanation is in order.
The St Johns River Water Management District is of interest to OSFR because a portion of the “waters and lands adjacent to” the SFR lies within the district, and the Santa Fe basin extends geographically into the district and thus is under its jurisdiction and care. Whatever actions the SJWMD may choose to execute, or allow to be executed regarding the SFR will directly affect the Santa Fe River and, consequently, Our Santa Fe River, Inc. as well. And since this area is near the river’s source, the consequences of these actions might potentially affect the river for its entire length.
Another reason that those of us “protecting the waters and lands adjacent to” the SFR should be concerned with what happens within the SJRWMD, especially when they allow excessive draw downs of the aquifer to the extent that springs dry up, is that their aquifer = our aquifer = everybody’s aquifer.
The aquifer is like a puddle of water: if you remove an amount from one portion, what results is not a dip or depression at the spot of removal, rather gravity causes a proportional lowering of the surface all across the puddle. We are all connected, but the connections are not entirely understood by water scientists.
The Floridan aquifer is the oldest, largest and deepest aquifer in the southeast United States and covers more than 100,000 square miles, in parts of South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and all of Florida. It formed millions of years ago before Florida emerged from the ocean.
The aquifer is confined under pressure by impermeable sediments, and when the pressure is great enough, this underground water breaks through and we have a spring.
Crucial to our aquifer makeup are the terms “permeability” and “transmissivity.” These terms describe how water moves through the underground rocks and sediments. In some respects these movements are still mysteries to water scientists and cannot always be mapped or determined. In part, this is also why scientists may have inaccurate “water models” on which to base the amount of exploitation of the water resources.
So Silver Springs is drying up because a judge believes jobs are more important than the springs and that if water is present in the aquifer then it is there to be used, and it is OK to take it to give to one man, and so our Santa Fe River is in peril. Not only from the judges of this ilk, and corporations like Sleepy Creek, but also from our water managers.