Funding Approved to Reduce Groundwater Withdrawals at a Blueberry Farm in Polk County

News Release

The "Southwest Florida Water Management District's ": Governing Board yesterday approved funding for a project that will reduce groundwater withdrawals in Polk County by an estimated annual average savings of 21,000 gallons per day.

John Crum Lake McLeod Blueberries will be reimbursed up to $41,810 for a surface water irrigation reservoir and tailwater recovery system at its 20-acre blueberry farm. The property is located within the Southern Water Use Caution Area in central Polk County.

The project consists of constructing a 0.8-acre reservoir to collect tailwater and surface water from the property and surrounding watershed to reduce groundwater withdrawals for irrigation. Funding will provide a pump station, filtration and piping necessary to connect the surface water reservoir to the existing irrigation system.

The project is funded under the "District's Facilitating Agricultural Resource Management Systems (FARMS) Program":, an agricultural cost-share reimbursement program aimed to reduce groundwater use, conserve water and improve water quality and natural systems. The total project costs are estimated at $83,620, of which up to $20,905 is funded by the District's Governing Board and up to $20,905 is funded by the Peace River Basin.

To qualify for FARMS funding, projects must be located in the District and include one or more of the following best management practice strategies:

* Use an alternative water supply or technology to reduce groundwater use.
* Improve irrigation water quality and watershed ecology by reducing reliance on poorer quality groundwater.
* Restore or augment water resources and ecology in priority areas.

Visit "": for more information and details on how to qualify for the FARMS Program.