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Most public water supplies in south Florida are withdrawn from shallow aquifers, generally from wells less than 250 ft deep. The most productive and widespread of these aquifers are the Biscayne aquifer in the southeast and the shallow aquifer in the southwest. The Biscayne aquifer has been designated as a "sole-source water supply" by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Important also, but of lower yield, are the coastal aquifer, which extends northward from West Palm Beach, and the local aquifers that are scattered through the remaining area, particularly those that supply water to the western coast urban region.
The Floridan aquifer system is a source of water primarily north of Lake Okeechobee. South of the lake, this aquifer is deeper and more brackish. Although it is capable of large yields of saline water by artesian flow, it is not generally used as a source of water supply, but rather used for wastewater injection.
Freshwater withdrawals within the Southern Florida NAWQA study unit were about 4,110 Mgal/d in 1990. Most of this water was used for public supply (22 percent) and agriculture (67 percent). Public water supply for most of the 5.8 million people that live in the study unit is from ground-water sources (table 2). Ground water supplied 94 percent (872 Mgal/d) of the water used for public supply in 1990. Water withdrawn for agricultural purposes is nearly divided between ground-water and surface-water sources. In 1990, ground water accounted for 45 percent (1,230 Mgal/d) and surface water accounted for 55 percent (1,505 Mgal/d) (Richard L. Marella, U.S. Geological Survey, written commun., 1994).
U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
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Last updated: 04 September, 2013 @ 02:03 PM(KP)