Water district officials are playing a numbers game and are conveniently leaving out some critical information. Here Dr . Knight is calling them out and they should be ashamed. Paul Thurman knows the reason for the increased flow, but he fails to explain it, because these increased flows are bad news.
Cheat as they might, our water managers cannot hide the truth that they are allowing our springs and rivers to die. They need to face up to it and tell the truth and then maybe public outcry would effect a change or at least get some new politicians in office.
Read the original article with more photos here in the Tallahassee Democrat.
Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
Wakulla Springs success? Not so fast | Opinion
Florida’s governmental leaders wish to proclaim success with springs protection. However, the recent article citing Northwest Florida Water Management District staff needs to be placed in proper context. The article’s premise is that, in light of recent increases in spring flow at Wakulla Springs, there is still more groundwater to pump.
The fact is that there is no “new” water coming out of Wakulla Springs. Excessive groundwater pumping by everyone living and working in the region, including South Georgia, is lowering regional spring flows, and increasing saltwater intrusion into the drinking water supply for Wakulla and Leon Counties.
The district’s Paul Thurman is quoted as saying that spring flow has gone “from 200 cubic feet per second (cfs), up to 700 cubic feet per second.” But the flow baseline used by the district only began in October 2005. U.S. Geological Survey records for Wakulla Springs date back to February 1907, when the measured flow was 857 cfs (554 million gallons per day). Wakulla Springs flows have varied widely over the past 113 years, with a median flow of about 350 cfs.
Wakulla Springs receives groundwater through an underground network of caves that connect it to Springs Creek, a large springs group located 12 miles south, just offshore in the Gulf of Mexico. Springs Creek’s flows were first observed to cease in 2006, about the same time Wakulla Springs flows began to increase.
Clear, naturally purified groundwater that historically discharged at Wakulla Springs comes from rainfall that recharges Wakulla’s 1,500-square-mile springshed to the north. This supply of clear water is being depleted due to excessive pumping.
Instead of claiming success and ultimately destroying the region’s precious springs and drinking water supply, Florida’s environmental officials need to face the truth and begin the inevitable process of dialing back water use permits and taking decisive action on the climate change crisis.
Bob Knight is director of the Howard T. Odum Florida Springs Institute and led the Wakulla Springs Working Group from 2010 to 2011. Download the full Wakulla Springs Restoration Action Plan at: floridaspringsinstitute.org.