The Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD) has recommended state funding for a handful of projects, including a $4.8 million water improvement project in Archer.
The projects are designed to reduce water use from the Floridan aquifer and develop region-specific water sources that offer an alternative to traditional ground and surface water sources, according to an SRWMD press release.
"Alternative water sources, such as reclaimed or recycled water, saltwater or brackish water, and storm water, also help to make communities less susceptible to the effects of drought," the district press release said. "These water sources also diversify Florida’s water supply while reducing its dependence on fresh water resources."
The Archer project—the biggest of the group—will replace piping, hydrants, and valves to fix leaks and breaks. The district expects it to save more than .002 million gallons per day of water and reduce the amount of water pumped from the aquifer.
The SRWMD also recommended $750,000 in funding for Gainesville Regional Utilities' Deerhaven plant. The project will add piping between power plants, which is aimed at increasing reliability and reducing groundwater withdrawal, overall water usage across sites, production costs, and landfill solid waste, according to the SRWMD.
Alachua County's Environmental Protection Department also made the list. The district recommended $220,000 for a project to "reduce outdoor water use through irrigation tune-ups to high-water users and offer rebates to implement water-saving irrigation retrofits."
The final two recommendations are for $2.7 million and $3.3 million water main projects in Lawtey (Bradford County) and the Town of Greenville (Madison County).
The projects now await final approval from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
"The Governor and Legislature recognize the importance of developing alternative water supplies to support Florida’s growth and preserve the health of our natural systems,” Hugh Thomas, SRWMD executive director, said in a statement. “These recommended projects advance those plans to strengthen Florida’s water resources and also continue to meet the demands of our citizens.”
The recommendations come a week after the district announced $14 million in recommended funding for springs restoration.