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Project Title:

Review of the St. Johns River Water Supply Impact Study
PIN: WSTB-U-08-05-A        

Major Unit:

Division on Earth and Life Studies

Sub Unit: Water Science and Technology Board

RSO: Ehlers, Laura

Subject/Focus Area:

Project Scope

An NRC committee overseen by the Water Science and Technology Board of the National Academies will review the progress of the St. Johns River Water Supply Impact Study (WSIS). Communities in the St. Johns River watershed in east central Florida are facing future drinking water supply shortages that have prompted the St. Johns River Water Management District (the District) to evaluate the feasibility of surface water withdrawals. At the current time, drinking water is almost exclusively supplied by withdrawals from groundwater. Reliance on groundwater to meet growing the growing need for public supplies is not sustainable. The St. Johns River and the Lower Ocklawaha River are being considered as possible alternatives to deliver up to 262 million gallons of water per day to utilities for public supply. In January 2008, the District began an extensive scientific study to determine the feasibility of using the rivers for water supply, and it has requested the advice of the National Academies as the study progresses.

The WSIS is composed of six major tasks, being carried out by District staff scientists aided by a suite of outside experts, each with national standing in their scientific discipline. These activities include modeling of the relevant river basins, determining what criteria should be used to evaluate the environmental impacts of water withdrawals, evaluating the extent of those impacts, coordinating with other ongoing projects, and issuing a final report. The NRC committee will review scientific aspects of the WSIS, including hydrologic and water quality modeling, how river withdrawals for drinking water will affect minimum flows and levels in the two rivers, the impact of removing old and introducing new wastewater streams into the rivers, the cumulative impacts of water withdrawals on several critical biological targets, and the effects of sea level rise. Potential environmental impacts being considered by the District include altered hydrologic regimes in the river, increased pollutant concentrations in the rivers (e.g., sediment, salinity, nutrients, temperature), associated habitat degradation, and other direct effects on aquatic species due to the operation of the new water supply facilities.

The project is sponsored by the St. John’s River Water Management District.
The approximate start date for the project is October 1, 2008.
Short reports are expected to be issued in the course of the project and a final report will be issued at the end of the project in approximately 24 months.

NOTE: There is an update to the project scope (6/17/2009). The project title has been changed to reflect the change in name of the study under review by the committee.

Project Duration: 24 months    

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Committee Membership
Committee Membership

 Meeting 1 - 01/28/2009
 Meeting 2 - 05/20/2009
 Meeting 3 - 09/30/2009
 Meeting 4 - 03/29/2010
 Meeting 5 - 12/15/2010
 Meeting 6 - 05/23/2011


Reports having no URL can be seen
at the Public Access Records Office
Review of the St. Johns River Water Supply Impact Study: Report 1
Review of the St. Johns River Water Supply Impact Study: Report 2
Review of the St. Johns River Water Supply Impact Study: Report 3
Review of the St. Johns River Water Supply Impacy Study: Final Report