Water Experts Talk Innovation

Water experts from around the state recently talked innovation as District staff highlighted a variety of projects and programs aimed at recovering and restoring water resources.

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May 2018 meeting in Brooksville

The District hosted the May Technical Meeting for the Florida Section of the American Water Resources Association (AWRA). The scientific organization’s mission is to promote an understanding of water resources through education, professional development and by sharing information about the latest innovations.

That’s really what we’re all about here at Southwest -- innovation,” said Brian Armstrong, the District’s executive director, who welcomed about 100 water professionals from across Florida. “We’ve been dealing with impacts to the water resources and natural systems for decades that have required collaboration and innovative solutions.”

A few of the District projects highlighted during the meeting were:

  • Aquifer Recharge at Flatford Swamp: A study at Flatford Swamp in Manatee County to investigate the feasibility of recharging excess natural surface water into the Upper Floridan aquifer more than 1,000 feet below the land’s surface.
  • Lake Hancock Restoration: Two initiatives at Lake Hancock, a 4,500-acre lake in the headwaters of the Peace River. The projects are critical in a recovery strategy for meeting the minimum flows in the upper Peace River, improving water quality in the Peace River and protecting Charlotte Harbor.
  • 4G Ranch Wetlands Project: The man-made groundwater recharge wetland in Pasco County will provide a daily average of 5 million gallons of highly-treated reclaimed water back to the aquifer through a natural percolation process.

The AWRA technical meeting provides District staff an opportunity to share with other professionals the lessons learned from cutting-edge projects, said Randy Smith, the District’s Natural Systems and Restoration bureau chief and Florida AWRA board member.

“It’s an honor for the District to host a statewide event like this that encourages information sharing,” Smith said.  “It really highlights how the District is a leader in finding new solutions to protect and restore our water resources.”