The Issue: If you live in Florida or have visited here, you may have experienced our amazing, unique springs -- several of which serve as vital winter warm-water habitat for endangered manatees. But with Florida’s human population now just shy of 19 million, these springs have declined in both water quality and flow. Almost every Florida spring’s flow is being affected by our growing water needs, and nutrient pollution caused by excessive fertilizer use is substantially degrading water quality. While drought has played a role in reducing spring flows, many of the low flows now being seen around the state cannot be attributed to drought alone, but are the result of increasing human demand for water.
Currently, Florida’s political climate favors unnecessarily sacrificing our water and other natural resources to Florida’s economic growth. A potentially tragic case in point is the world famous Silver Springs, a first-magnitude spring that is a major tourist attraction and has been designated an Outstanding Florida Water. Last year, Silver Springs’ flow fell to only 50% of its historic average flow. The spring is further threatened by a consumptive use permit application for Adena Springs Ranch for over 5.3 million gallons of water per day to be pumped from Silver Springs’ springshed, mainly to raise feed for cattle. The permit is currently under review by the St. Johns River Water Management District. Initially, the applicant wanted 13.2 million gallons per day, but due to pushback from citizens and the environmental community, including Save the Manatee Club, the requested amount has been reduced to 5.3 mgd. While this is an improvement, it is still far too much water for a single user to take. Additionally, runoff from animal waste will further pollute the springs and its associated waterways, the Silver and Ocklawaha Rivers; and degrade drinking water supplies.
Allowing such a massive amount of water to be withdrawn by just one permittee would not only threaten the future of Silver Springs but all other springs in Florida by the precedent it would set. Help us make sure that does not happen. Your voices have already helped convince this applicant to reduce his water request, but there is more work to be done!
What You Can Do:
1. Please add your information below to send a message asking Florida decision-makers to deny the Adena Springs Ranch consumptive use permit. Your letter will go to Florida Governor Rick Scott; the head of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Herschel T. Vinyard, Jr.; and Lad Daniels, the St. Johns River Water Management District’s Governing Board Chair. If you wish to send a letter by regular mail, their contact information is located under the letter below.
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