Water is among Florida's most valued resources. The State has more than 1,700 streams and rivers, 7,800 freshwater lakes, 700 springs, 11 million acres of wetlands, and underlying aquifers yielding quantities of freshwater necessary for both human and environmental needs (Fernald and Purdum, 1998). Although renewable, these water resources are finite, and continued growth in population, tourism, and agriculture will place increased demands on these water supplies.
The permanent population of Florida in 2005 totaled 17.9 million, ranking fourth in the Nation (University of Florida, 2006); nearly 86 million tourists visited the State (Orlando Business Journal, 2006). In 2005, Florida harvested two-thirds of the total citrus production in the United States and ranked fifth in the Nation net farm income (Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, 2006). Freshwater is vital for sustaining Florida's population, economy, and agricultural production.
Accurate estimates reflecting water use and trends in Florida are compiled in 5-year intervals by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in cooperation with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) and the Northwest Florida, St. Johns River, South Florida, Southwest Florida, and Suwannee River Water Management Districts (Marella, 2004). This coordinated effort provides the necessary data and information for planning future water needs and resource management. The purpose of this fact sheet is to present the highlights of water use in Florida for 2005 along with some significant trends in withdrawals since 1950.