SIR 2004-5151

Prepared in cooperation with the
Florida Department of Environmental Regulation



Water Withdrawals, Use, Discharge, and Trends in Florida, 2000

Richard L. Marella


Select an option:

    Purpose and Scope
    Previous Investigations
    Data Sources and Limitations
Water Withdrawals and Use
    Water Source and Use Category
        Public Supply
        Domestic Self-Supplied
        Commercial-Industrial Self-Supplied
        Agricultural Self-Supplied
        Recreational Irrigation
        Power Generation
    Water Management Districts
Water Consumption and Discharges
    Domestic Wastewater
    Septic Tanks
Water Withdrawal Trends, 1970-2000
Selected References
Water-Use Bibliography for Florida
    Northwest Florida Water Management District
    St. Johns River Water Management District
    South Florida Water Management District
    Southwest Florida Water Management District
    Suwannee River Water Management District
    Additional Water-Use Reports or Papers
Appendix 1 and 2     Purpose, Data Sources and Limitations
    Selected References for Appendix 1 and 2
Appendix 1. Freshwater withdrawals ....for each county, 1965-2000
Appendix 2. Freshwater withdrawals ....for each district, 1975-2000


In 2000, the estimated amount of water withdrawn in Florida was 20,148 million gallons per day (Mgal/d), of which 59 percent was saline and 41 percent was fresh. Ground water accounted for 62 percent of freshwater withdrawals and surface water accounted for the remaining 38 percent. Ninety-two percent of the 15.98 million people in Florida relied on ground water for their drinking water needs in 2000. Almost all of the saline water withdrawals (99.9 percent) were from surface water.

Public supply accounted for 43 percent of ground water withdrawn in 2000, followed by agricultural self-supplied (39 percent), commercial-industrial self-supplied (including mining) (8.5 percent), recreational irrigation (4.5 percent), domestic self-supplied (4 percent), and power generation (1 percent). Agricultural self-supplied accounted for 62 percent of fresh surface water withdrawn in 2000, followed by power generation (20 percent), public supply (8 percent), recreational irrigation (6 percent), and commercial-industrial self-supplied (4 percent). Almost all of saline water withdrawn was used for power generation.

The largest amount of freshwater was withdrawn in Palm Beach County and the largest amount of saline water was withdrawn in Hillsborough County. Significant withdrawals (more than 200 Mgal/d) of fresh ground water occurred in Miami-Dade, Polk, Orange, Palm Beach, Broward, and Collier Counties. Significant withdrawals (more than 200 Mgal/d) of fresh surface water occurred in Palm Beach, Hendry, and Escambia Counties. The South Florida Water Management District accounted for the largest amount of freshwater withdrawn (49 percent).

About 62 percent of the total ground water withdrawn was from the Floridan aquifer system; 17 percent was from the Biscayne aquifer. Most of the surface water used in Florida was from managed and maintained canal systems or large water bodies. Major sources of fresh surface water include the Caloosahatchee River, Deer Point Lake, Hillsborough River, Lake Okeechobee and associated canals, and the canals associated with the headwaters of the Upper St. Johns River.

Freshwater withdrawals increased 46 percent and saline water withdrawals increased 25 percent in Florida between 1970 and 2000. Ground-water withdrawals increased 82 percent, and surface-water withdrawals increased 10 percent during this period. Between 1970 and 2000, total freshwater withdrawals increased for public supply by 176 percent and for agricultural self-supplied by 87 percent; withdrawals for commercial-industrial self-supplied decreased by 37 percent, and power generation (thermoelectric) decreased by 57 percent. Recreational irrigation withdrawals increased 127 percent between 1985 and 2000. Between 1995 and 2000, freshwater withdrawals increased 13 percent, and saline withdrawals increased 9 percent.

An estimated 52 percent of the freshwater withdrawn in Florida was consumed; the remaining 48 percent was returned for further use. Domestic wastewater discharged in 2000 totaled 1,495 Mgal/d, of which 44 percent was discharged to surface waters, 34 percent to the ground through land application systems, and 22 percent to deep injection wells. Domestic wastewater discharge increased by 33 percent between 1985 and 2000, but decreased by 3 percent between 1995 and 2000. An estimated 11.21 million people were served by domestic wastewater systems in 2000, whereas the remaining 4.77 million people discharged wastewater to more than 1.95 million septic tanks. Discharge from the septic tanks was estimated to be 263 Mgal/d in 2000.

Suggested Citation:

Marella, R.L., 2004, Water withdrawals, use, discharge, and trends in Florida, 2000: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2004-5151, 136 p.


U.S. Department of the Interior,
U.S. Geological Survey
2010 Levy Avenue
Tallahassee, FL 32310

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