Ground water is a major component of Florida‘s water resources, accounting for 90 percent of all public-supply and self-supplied domestic water withdrawals, and 58 percent of self-supplied commercial-industrial and agricultural withdrawals of freshwater (Marella, 1992). Ground-water is also an important source of water for streams, lakes, and wetlands in Florida. Because of their importance, a good understanding of these resources is essential for their sound development, use, and protection. One area in which our understanding is lacking is in characterizing the rate at which ground water in aquifers is recharged, and how recharge rates vary geographically. Ground-water recharge (recharge) is the replenishment of ground water by downward infiltration of water from rainfall, streams, and other sources (American Society of Civil Engineers, 1987, p. 222). The recharge rates in many areas of Florida are unknown, of insufficient accuracy, or mapped at scales that are too coarse to be useful. Improved maps of recharge rates will result in improved capabilities for managing Florida‘s ground-water resources.
In 1989, the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Florida Department of Environmental Regulation, began a study to delineate high-rate recharge areas in several regions of Florida (Vecchioli and others, 1990). This study resulted in recharge maps that delineated areas of high (greater than 10 inches per year) and low (0 to 10 inches per year) recharge in three counties--Okaloosa, Pasco, and Volusia Counties--at a scale of 1:100,000. This report describes the results of a similar recharge mapping study for Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties (fig. 1), in which areas of high- and low-rates of recharge to the sand-and-gravel aquifer and Upper Floridan aquifer are delineated. The study was conducted in 1992 and 1993 by the U.S. Geological Survey in cooperation with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.