SRWMD approves water resource funding

Suwannee River Water Managment District sign
Suwannee River Water Managment District sign

The Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD) Governing Board on Tuesday approved funding for five water resources projects across North Florida.

According to an SRWMD press release, the Board approved $865,803 for the projects through the upcoming Fiscal Year 2022-2023 Regional Initiative Valuing Environmental Resources (RIVER) cost-share program and Alternative Water Supply program.

This funding is available to local governments, regional water supply authorities, and water utilities for projects that enhance or address the district’s water supply, water quality, flood protection, and/or natural systems core missions. 

RIVER funding supports Rural Economic Development Initiative (REDI) communities that often are less able to support such projects on their own. Non-REDI communities are required to submit a 50% project match while REDI communities do not.  

The projects include: 

  • Oakmont Reclaimed Water Extension Phase 5b (Gainesville Regional Utilities, Alachua County) – This $83,375 project will assist with water conservation and recharge to the Upper Floridan Aquifer. This project will extend reclaimed lines to offset 0.051 million gallons per day of groundwater pumping. 
  • Houston Avenue Drainage Well Replacement (City of Live Oak, Suwannee County) – This $184,738 project will assist in flood protection, nutrient reduction, and recharge to the Upper Floridan Aquifer. The drainage well replacement will also reduce total nitrogen by an estimated 25 pounds per year.
  • Irvin Avenue Drainage Well Replacement (City of Live Oak, Suwannee County) – This $242,170 project will assist in flood protection, nutrient reduction, and recharge to the Upper Floridan Aquifer. The drainage well replacement will reduce an estimated 45 pounds of total nitrogen per year.
      
  • Greenville Water System Filter Project (Town of Greenville, Madison County) – This $150,520 project will assist with water conservation to the Upper Floridan Aquifer. The funds will be used to assist the town with their match requirement if awarded a State Revolving Fund loan through the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. The project will replace the town’s filter system, which will increase the system’s efficiency and reduce groundwater withdrawals.  
  • Ellisville/Town of Fort White Meter Replacement Program (Columbia County) – This $205,000 project will assist with water conservation and recharge to the Upper Floridan Aquifer. This project will replace aging infrastructure to reduce water loss and provide long-term accountability. 

With the addition of these proposed projects, the district has funded 85 projects through the RIVER program since 2013, which have reduced an estimated 8,000 pounds of nutrients, conserved 1.44 million gallons of water, protected more than 50,000 acres from flooding and restored five acres of natural systems. 

“To accommodate future growth, small communities need solid, stable infrastructure, and we are thankful that our Board saw the need to fund these requests,” said Hugh Thomas, executive director of the district, in the release. “These projects not only support the ability for growth but also help in protecting our vital natural resources.”  

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