Natural Sciences >> Geology

Monitoring the Water Table Aquifer Below the USF Forest Preserve

by David Baldwin


Submitted : Fall 2016

Florida historically has been known to have an abundance of water. Numerous rivers, streams, aquifers, etc., including the Floridian Aquifer, exist in the state. However, the state has been under a water crisis for several decades. Specifically, Tampa Bay has encountered several “water wars.” For example, in the 1980’s, the Tampa Bay population was increasing and it continues to stress the area’s limited water resources. The Southwest Water Management District (SWFWMD), a state water management department, requested that Pinellas and Pasco counties reduce the amount of water that they consume. This statement caused a legal battle over water that did not end until the late 1990’s. Eventually, SWFWMD agreed to help Tampa Bay Water, a water management company, build a new water infrastructure system, so the bay’s water supplies would continue (Meindl 2016). However, more “water wars” are expected to occur as the state continues to be depleted of its water.


            In this experiment, the predicted levels of the water table aquifer were tested. The elevation of the water table at three wells within the USF Forest Preserve was measured. The distance from the first well to the second and third were calculated. The land elevation was also measured. The elevation of the water table was measured during four different days. The elevation of the water table/land and the distance of each well from the first well were graphed. Linearization was used to find the line of best fit. After the equations for the lines of best fit were calculated and graphed, it was discovered that the aquifer was expected to gradually decrease. The equations for the lines of best fit were as follows: y=-0.00066x + 8.296556, y = -0.00274x + 8.2942, y= -0.00303x + 8.3013, y= -0.00091x + 8.111291, and y= -0.01317x + 8.961604.    From the first well to 120 m away, the water table was predicted to decrease by 0.3 meters in height. Since the Tampa Bay’s water table was dropping, it was suggested that SWFWMD use “adaptive management” when they issue water permits to people (Regan, 2003, p.178-182). The Tampa Bay has been depleting itself of water and new water management strategies were needed. 

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Advisors :
Arcadii Grinshpan, Mathematics and Statistics
Kai Rains, Geography
Suggested By :
Kai Rains