Funding Approved to Reduce Plant City Groundwater Withdrawals
The Southwest Florida Water Management District's Governing Board last week voted to help fund $1.9 million in projects that will help reduce groundwater withdrawals in eastern Hillsborough County by 550,000 gallons per day and 18 million gallons for frost/freeze protection.
All five projects are located on strawberry farms within the proposed Dover/Plant City Water Use Caution Area. During the 11-day January 2010 Freeze Event, the combined pumping of Dover-area farmers dropped the aquifer level 60 feet in some locations, resulting in 140 sinkholes and impacting more than 750 wells. The District developed a management strategy with incentives to reduce groundwater use over time, well construction standards and regulatory limitations on water use in the area. To implement one component of the strategy, the Board voted to create a new water use caution area in the Dover/Plant City area.
The projects are funded under the District's Facilitating Agricultural Resource Management Systems (FARMS) Program, an agricultural cost-share reimbursement program that conserves water and protects water quality. Funding is being provided by the District's Governing Board and the Alafia River Basin Board.
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.
For more information and details on how to qualify for the FARMS Program, visit the District's website at