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Well-Depths in Florida

     Though there are days that it seems Florida has more fresh water than we know what to with, that is not completely true. Rainfall is uneven throughout the year, and most of us are not wealthy enough to live on one of our beautiful springs.

Silver Springs
     When considering property to purchase, well depth and quality needs to be considered. Some coastal areas will not have potable groundwater, and other areas may have problems with sulfur, uranium, and other naturally occurring minerals. The water will have to be tested, however, most of the state has access to our beautiful 98% pure aquifer, which is completely recharged with rainwater. No rain means a very thirsty state, and according to USGS Floridians have withdrawn 500% more water since the 1950s.
     Wells probably should be used in conjunction with rainwater harvesting. Since the population emigrations to Florida in the 1950s, more people and industry have been drawing from the aquifers, an already fragile resource.  Saltwater intrusion and lake levels dropping, combined with sinkholes, have made that plain. Sinkholes are an open wound of the water system, allowing pathogens in to infect otherwise potable water with contaminants like nitrates. Rainwater harvesting from rooftops also requires no electricity for pumping.
     There is no one resource for obtaining information about water quality for an area short of drilling and hoping the sample comes back clean. Neighbors may be able to give you information about their wells. Assume all local golf courses are not going to give you information.
     In general, the aquifer is between 100 and 200 feet down in most of central Florida. The ground is frequently a layer of sand on layers of limestone and dolomite. Rainfall does affect groundwater levels, in a period of intense drought hundreds of shallower wells near Pensacola had to be redrilled or moved inland. Underneath some areas the aquifer is under pressure, which might result in artesian well once drilled. Artesian wells have special regulations regarding reporting and capping (of course).
     Shallower wells, about 50 feet deep, are used most frequently for irrigation (think golf courses, nurseries, and citrus farms) and usually have lower quality water than the deeper wells.

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