Sea Level Rise and Groundwater Sourced Community Water Supplies in Florida
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Sea Level Rise and Groundwater Sourced Community Water Supplies in Florida CCSP Workshop: Climate Science in Support of Decision Making November 14, 2005 Randall Freed, ICF Consulting John Furlow, Susan Herrod Julius, US EPA Global Change Research Program Background

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Sea Level Rise and Groundwater Sourced Community Water Supplies in Florida CCSP Workshop: Climate Science in Support of Decision MakingNovember 14, 2005Randall Freed, ICF ConsultingJohn Furlow, Susan Herrod Julius,US EPA Global Change Research Program


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Background Supplies in Florida

  • Sea Level Rise is among the most certain impacts of climate change

  • Salt water intrusion is directly tied to sea level

  • Community Water Supplies (CWS) are among the highest-value uses of water

  • Site-specific hydrogeological assessment and monitoring is resource-intensive

  • Decision support is needed to set priorities for assessing and protecting CWS


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Objectives Supplies in Florida

  • Develop screening tools to characterize

    • Vulnerability of groundwater-supplied CWS to saltwater intrusion

    • Reliance on current aquifer

  • Develop a priority-setting framework based on vulnerability and aquifer reliance

  • Demonstrate the framework with coastal CWS in FL


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Relevance to CWS in Florida Supplies in Florida

  • Very high reliance on GW (~93% of population)

  • Strong water resource management programs

  • Excellent availability of data

    • Lat and long of CWS

    • DRASTIC scoring of aquifers

    • Concern about salt water intrusion

Source: Fernald, E.A., and E.D. Purdum, 1998. Water Resources Atlas of Florida. Institute of Science and Public Affairs, FSU


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Assessing Vulnerability Supplies in Florida

  • DRASTIC developed by EPA & Nat'l Water Well Assoc in 1987

  • Widely applied to evaluate vulnerability to contamination

  • Basic assumption: contamination is introduced at the ground surface and leaches into ground water via infiltration

  • Modified to account for saltwater intrusion caused by sea level rise, which intrudes laterally (or in some cases upward) into aquifers


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Modifying DRASTIC Supplies in Florida

  • Modified system: SLR Vulnerability =

  • D + R + A +T + I + C + M + P, where

    • D (Depth to Water) ranges from 1 (0-5 ft.) to 10 (100+ ft.)

    • R (Net Recharge) ranges from 10 (0-2 in./yr) to 2 (10+ in./yr)

    • A (Aquifer Media) ranges from 2 (massive shale) to 10 (karst limestone)

    • T (Topography) ranges from 1 (18% slope) to 10 (0-2% slope)

    • I (Impact of Vadose Zone) ranges from 10 (confining layer) to 1 (karst limestone)

    • C (Conductivity) ranges from 1 (1-100 gpd/sq.ft.) to 10 (2000+ gpd/sq.ft.)

    • M (Miles to Coastline) ranges from 1 (more than 4.35 miles) to 10 (less than 0.31 miles)

    • P (Potentiometric Surface, i.e., water-table elevation) ranges from 1 (greater than 3 feet) to 10 (less than 0.5 feet)

  • Original system -- vulnerability to surface pollution = D + R + A + S + T + I + C, where:

    • D - Depth to Water

    • R - Net Recharge

    • A - Aquifer Media

    • S - Soil Media

    • T- Topography

    • I - Impact of Vadose Zone

    • C - Conductivity


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Evaluating Aquifer Reliance Supplies in Florida

  • Reliance = 2 * log(Pop served) + AWS

  • Population served

    • Min = 25 (for a mobile home park)

    • Max = 475,000 (for Tampa)

  • Availability of alternative water supplies (AWS)

    • Biscayne Aquifer (designated by SDWA as sole-source aquifer) = 10

    • Water resource caution areas (designated by regional water management districts) = 5

    • All others = 1


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Vulnerability and Reliance Supplies in Florida


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Florida Community Water Systems: Vulnerability and Reliance Ratings

Mapping Vulnerability and Reliance


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Pensacola Ratings



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Findings Ratings

  • Key Findings

    • High vulnerability/ high reliance CWS concentrated in Pensacola and Miami-Palm Beach areas

    • Vulnerability index results appear to be consistent with known occurrences of salinity due to salt water intrusion

    • Index could be simplified (to drop some DRASTIC factors) and still provide valid results – M and P are most important

  • Limitations

    • Applicability to confined aquifer systems

    • Utility when data availability is limited


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Next Steps Ratings

  • Identify decision makers best positioned to use this index

  • Apply index to other states in Gulf Coast Region and Mid-Atlantic Region

  • Develop risk management guidance based on the priority setting framework; identify decision points and actions (site-specific monitoring and risk assessment, long-term planning for alternate supplies, hydraulic controls)


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Contact Information Ratings

For more info:

Randy Freed

ICF Consulting

9300 Lee Highway

Fairfax, VA 22031

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 703-934-3495


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