February 27, 2007

The Southwest Florida Water Management District Governing Board today approved a project to reduce groundwater pumping up to 148,000 gallons per day (gpd) at a DeSoto County citrus grove.

The Facilitating Agricultural Resource Management Systems (FARMS) program is a cost-share reimbursement program that conserves water and protects water quality.

The FARMS project, proposed by Adrian R. Chapman, for 220 acres of the 2,100-acre citrus grove, is located west of Highway 31, on the north and south side of Knotts Dairy Road. The project area drains to Prairie Creek and is approximately 9.2 miles upstream of the City of Punta Gorda’s drinking water reservoir.

The primary goal of the project is to reduce groundwater withdrawals from one Upper Floridan Aquifer well through the use of two existing in-ground reservoirs as an irrigation source. This well currently provides 227,500 gpd to the 220-acre project area that will now utilize surface water as irrigation. The project addresses water quality concerns by reducing the amount of mineralized ground water entering Prairie Creek.

The project components include a surface water pump station, the piping and infrastructure necessary to operate and connect the existing reservoirs into the irrigation system and a pipe to interconnect the two reservoirs in order to maximize the availability of surface water for irrigation.

This project is expected to cost $112,884, of which up to $84,664 will be funded by state appropriations, the District’s General Fund and the District’s Peace River Basin Board.

A total of 4 million gallons per day (mgd) of ground water has been conserved through operational FARMS projects. It is anticipated that a total of 11.5 mgd of ground water will be offset once all 33 current Board-approved FARMS projects are operational. The FARMS Program is expected to reduce groundwater pumping by 40 mgd over the next 20 years.

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