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Is now the time to really plan for AWS?

The State of Florida including Clay County has seen continuous increases in its population for sustained periods of time. The continued growth of the State of Florida and Clay County’s population will have impacts on what is currently the citizens’ sole source of drinking water; the upper Floridan Aquifer. The St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD) and the Suwanee River Water Management District (SRWMD) are putting a significant amount of time and effort into modeling and analyzing the impacts from water withdrawals from the aquifer. The impacts attributed to withdrawals to meet the demands of the population served by CCUA will have to be addressed and mitigated by the use of AWS. AWS for CCUA is simply any sustainable water source that does not originate from the Upper Floridan Aquifer.

CCUA currently serves the potable water demands of the citizens connected to our utility system by pumping water from the Upper Floridan Aquifer through our water treatment plants and to homes and businesses. We also supplement the reclaimed water distribution system with water pumped from the upper Floridan Aquifer when demand for reclaimed water exceeds the supply produced from Wastewater Treatment Facilities (WWTF).

CCUA currently serves 41,344 active residential accounts (August 2015 billing data). This is 3,449 more customer accounts now than what we served in July 2009 (Conservation Rate Structure Effectiveness Assessment, July 2015, presented to the CCUA Board of Supervisors, August 18, 2015). With an average of 2.82 people per household (US Census Data), this translates to CCUA currently serving an approximate population of 116,000 people or 9,700 more people than 2009.

Conservation has been a focal point for CCUA and our rate payers. The adoption of the tiered rate structure, the availability of water conservation assessments, and 3-day continuous usage monitoring by our staff has helped us reduce direct total pumping by 13.1% (Conservation Rate Structure Effectiveness Assessment, July 2015, presented to the CCUA Board of Supervisors, August 18, 2015) when compared with total pumping in July 2009. While conservation has been effective to date, conservation alone will likely not address long term future water demands with the continuous growth of Clay County’s population.

A report titled “Reclaimed Water Deficit & Augmentation of Reclaimed Water System Project Study on Long Term Water Supply” by Mr. Ray Avery (December 2014) looked at many of these issues. This report focused on the utilization of reclaimed water and the water resources needed to augment that delivery system. The referenced report identifies once potential resource, storm water, to be harvested in order to supplement our reclaimed water distribution system. The utilization of storm water as a water resource will eliminate the need for augmentation wells pumping water from the upper Florida Aquifer to support the irrigation needs our of customers. Harvesting storm water is an example of AWS.

 
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