2nd UF Water Institute Symposium Abstract

Submitter's Name Carole Estes
Session Name Poster Session: Optimal Use of Integrated Water Supplies 1
Category Optimal use of integrated water supplies
Poster Number 409
Author(s) Carole Estes,  Southwest Florida Water Management District
  FARMS: An Agricultural Water Conservation Program as Part of the SWUCA Recovery Strategy.
  The Southern Water Use Caution Area (SWUCA) Recovery Strategy is the blueprint for the Southwest Florida Water Management District’s response to reduced flows in the Upper Peace River, lowered aquifer and lake levels, and salt-water intrusion. A number of actions are identified in the SWUCA Recovery Strategy to manage these resource concerns. The Facilitating Agricultural Resource Management Systems (FARMS) program is designed to encourage agricultural conservation of groundwater primarily in the SWUCA, but available to growers district-wide. FARMS is an agricultural best management practice (BMP) cost-share reimbursement program that encourages both water quantity and water quality BMPs. It is a public/private partnership developed by the District and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) tasked with the goal of reducing Upper Floridan aquifer withdrawals by 40 million gallons per day (gpd) by 2025. FARMS projects generally involve two types of groundwater conservation; the offset of groundwater use through the use of an alternative water supply, or the reduction in groundwater use through precision irrigation management, or both. Since the program’s beginnings in 2003, the District has approved 78 projects with a projected reduction in groundwater use of nearly 13,500,000 gpd. Forty eight projects are complete and operational and, despite being in the midst of a drought, actual groundwater reduction or offset has averaged more than 6,000,000 gpd. FARMS is just one of the tools the District uses to encourage all water users to conserve in order to assure adequate resources for the future.