5th UF Water Institute Symposium Abstract

Submitter's Name Randall Bushey
Session Name Impacts of Climate Variability and Change on Water Availability and Quality
Author(s) Randall  Bushey,  CH2M (Presenting Author)
  D. Edward Davis,  CH2M
  Sustainability in Water Resources – Offstream Reservoirs to Manage Extreme Rainfall Events
  Sustainability in water supply in Florida relates directly to the prediction of rainfall trends and technology solutions to provide adequate water supply in droughts and flooding. Florida is recognized as one of 10 hot spots in the lower 48 states by 2025 to have significant water supply issues (USACE, 2012) based on water availability and population growth. The 2015-16 Super El Nino forecasts extreme winter rainfall similar to 1997 and the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) trends are predicting a cooler Atlantic resulting in fewer hurricanes and tropical storms – which could mean less rainfall over the summer wet season. El Nino events are usually followed by droughts. Water supply in Florida, particularly peninsular Florida, is at a cross roads and new tools will have to be employed in the future to accommodate increased water supply demand due to projected population growth, particularly in the face of extreme seasonal events. Groundwater pumping in Florida is becoming under increased permitting constraints supporting no increase in groundwater production and in some areas, such as central-southwest Florida, a planned reduction in groundwater pumping. Tampa Bay Water, a west-central Florida water supply agency created in the 1990’s to settle regional water “wars”, utilizes reservoir storage, groundwater pumping, desalination, and surface water sources to meet the demand of 2,300,000 people in the bay area. The Agency was required to reduce its groundwater pumping based on environmental impacts to contiguous wetlands and lake systems. As a result of this reduction of a relatively “cheap” source of water supply, the agency diversified its sources by investing in a desalination plant, promoting water conservation within its member governments, in both public and agricultural usage, encouraging implementation of reclaimed water for irrigation and aquifer recharge by its member governments, and constructing an offstream regional reservoir.