Six regional water supply projects receive funds

GRU Deerhaven recipients of $750,000 grant from the SRWMD
GRU Director of Production Melissa Jones and Lab Supervisor Jeff Boudreau discuss how the $750,000 grant awarded by the Suwanee River Water Management District will connect two Deerhaven facilties and optimize the use of water and decrease the use of groundwater by 200,000 gallons of water per day. (Courtesy of Suzette Cook/City of Gainesville)
Courtesy of Suzette Cook/City of Gainesville

The Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD) approved more than $6.2 million in funding for six alternative water supply projects across North Florida on Tuesday.  

According to the SRWMD press release, the approved projects are part of an effort to reduce water use from the Floridan Aquifer or develop region-specific water sources that offer an alternative to traditional ground and surface water sources. Using alternative water sources, which include reclaimed or recycled water, saltwater or brackish water and stormwater, will also help regional communities less susceptible to the effects of drought. These water sources also diversify Florida’s water supply while reducing its dependence on fresh groundwater resources.   

The Board accepted these project funding requests earlier this year and sent them to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) for approval.  

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“The Suwannee Valley is facing unprecedented pressure for fresh, clean water as population and development grows,” said Hugh Thomas, executive director of the District, in the release. “This funding from the Governor, Legislature, and FDEP illustrates a continued commitment to keep North Florida natural.”  

The projects include:  

  • Reducing Impacts from Urban Landscapes – Alachua County, Environmental Protection Department – $220,000 – This project will reduce outdoor water use through irrigation tune-ups to high-water users and offer rebates to implement water-saving irrigation retrofits.  
  • GRU Deerhaven/Deerhaven Renewable Water Sharing Project – Gainesville Regional Utilities – $750,000 – This project will include piping between power plants that will reduce groundwater withdrawal, overall water usage across sites, production costs, and landfill solid waste, while increasing system reliability.   
  • Lawtey Water Main Replacements – City of Lawtey – $409,650 – This project will replace leaking water mains on the City of Lawtey’s existing water distribution system, which is more than 40 years old. This funding is contingent upon the city receiving a State Revolving Fund (SRF) loan. 
  • Archer Water Systems Improvement Project – City of Archer – $724,220 – This project will replace piping, hydrants, and valves to fix leaks and breaks and is expected to save more than 2,000 gallons per day of water and reduce the amount of water needed to be pumped from the aquifer. This funding is contingent upon the city receiving a State Revolving Fund (SRF) loan. 
  • Dispersed Storage for Recharge and Alternative Water Supply – $2.1 million – Districtwide – The project builds on the ongoing feasibility analyses to evaluate methods that enhance the beneficial use of stormwater and could assist with enhanced recharge and/or implementation of retention ponds as a source for alternative water supply.  
  • Eco-System Services – $2 million – Districtwide – The project looks to evaluate silviculture practices to develop options to improve water yield, which will result in an increase of groundwater recharge. 

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