Alternative Water Supply Plan
The FKAA currently obtains its water from the fresh groundwater Biscayne aquifer in Southwest Dade County. Groundwater is pumped from 60 to 80 feet deep wells and treated in a lime softening plant located southwest of Florida City. The treated water is then pumped through a 130-mile long transmission main to Key West serving the entire Florida Keys and Key West.
The same Biscayne aquifer serves as the principal sole source fresh drinking water supply for all of Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties. The skyrocketing population growth and water demand of Southeast Florida has forced the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) to put strict restrictions on the quantity of water that users can continue to withdraw from the Biscayne aquifer. FKAA’s well field near Florida City is particularly vulnerable to withdrawal restrictions because of its close proximity to Everglades National Park to the west, and to the saltwater intrusion line to the south and east.
FKAA Alternative Water Supply Initiative Aquifer Storage & Recovery Well
The Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority is facing significant challenges in meeting the projected water demands for the next twenty years. Functional population projections used to develop water consumption needs from year 2005 through the year 2025 indicate that the daily production rate must be increased by approximately 6 million gallon per day (MGD) from 23.79 MGD to 29.11 MGD. Additionally, this increase in production capacity will also require significant improvements to the water treatment system.
The Biscayne Aquifer, the shallow-current source of fresh water supply, is subjected to strict withdraw regulations by the Water Management District especially during the dry season of the year when the Aquifer receives less recharge from rainfall. Without an increase in the volume of water supplied by this source an alternate water supply must be secured in order to augment the current water treatment capacity of the system.
Aquifer Storage & Recovery
In south-east Florida, the construction of Aquifer Storage and Recovery wells (ASR) deep enough to reach the Floridian Aquifer have received the endorsement of the Water Management District and the Department of Environmental Protection as one of the alternate and most viable source of abundant water supply. This initiative has been tested and has proven to be a key component of the recovery strategy for the waters of the Everglades National Park.
Alternate Water Supply Initiative
In support to this Alternate Water Supply Initiative and as part of the strategic plan, FKAA filed the appropriate documentation and received all required regulatory permits needed to construct an ASR well with an estimated depth of 1,350 feet Construction of the ASR well commenced in January 2006 and is expected to be completed in October of the same year.
The well will be located in a protected area within the J. Robert Dean Water Treatment Plant in Florida City. Once constructed, the ASR well will have the potential to supply large volumes of water "Stored" in the Floridian Aquifer during low demand or wet season periods and "Recovered" in the dry season or in periods of high demand.
The volume of water yielded during each "Recovered" cycle will be treated and blended with water extracted from the Biscayne Aquifer thus increasing the output of the water treatment system without exceeding the withdrawal allocation permit of the Biscayne Aquifer.
Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Program (CERP)
Florida’s Everglades was once a vibrant, free-flowing river of grass, extending from the Kissimmee chain of lakes to Florida Bay. Today, the ecosystem is dying. A vast reduction in its natural water flow, combined with loss of 50% of its wetlands and other factors related to South Florida’s rapid growth, have severely affected the ecosystem.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in partnership with the South Florida Water Management District have developed a plan to save the Everglades. The Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan describes a series of projects to take place over more than 30 years to restore the ecosystem, largely focusing on improving water deliveries.
Lower East Coast (LEC) Regional Water Supply Plan
The South Florida Water Management District has undertaken development of long-term comprehensive regional water supply plans to provide better management of South Florida’s water resources. The FKAA well field is located in the Lower East Coast Region and the plan includes recommended withdrawals from the FKAA well field over a 20-year planning period.
Prevention of groundwater withdrawals from Everglades National Park, and continued stabilization of the saltwater intrusion line are major factors influencing the LEC Regional Water Supply Plan’s recommended withdrawals from FKAA’s well field. The SFWMD relies heavily on these recommended withdrawals in the development of Water Use Permits (WUPs) for the FKAA’s Biscayne aquifer well field.
For more information please contact the FKAA at 305-296-2454 or email us.