A spring is a natural opening in the ground where water flows directly from the aquifer to the earth’s surface. The source of this fresh water is from seasonal rainfall that soaks into the ground, which is referred to as groundwater. Springs form when groundwater is under pressure and flows up through an opening called a spring vent, supplying flow to a river or other water body. A spring can occur individually or as a group of many springs.
Springs in the District are supplied from groundwater in the Upper Floridan aquifer — the same aquifer that provides the majority of the region’s drinking water. Over time, springs’ water quality and the amount of water they discharge have been threatened by Florida’s population growth and human activities such as agriculture, industry, land development and poor irrigation and fertilization practices. Therefore, it is important to learn what we can do to help protect and restore these natural treasures.
A springshed is the area of land that contributes water to a spring. This area includes much more than just land surrounding a spring. In fact, you can live miles away from a spring and still be located within its springshed. For example, the Rainbow Springs Group has a springshed that covers several hundred square miles and extends into three counties. Find out if you live in a springshed – view map of generalized springshed boundaries.