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Sprawl and Development

Florida's expanding population has put pressure on natural spaces that serve as important recharge areas for the aquifer and springs.

Image of Development of natural areas can harm springsheds.Zoom+ Development of natural areas can harm springsheds. © Russell Sparkman

Florida's rapid increase in population since 1950 has led to dramatic changes in land use, transforming rural areas that were once dominated by forests and native grasslands into residential developments, shopping centers, and industrial parks.

The increase in pavement, roads, and other impervious surfaces associated with development can prevent rainwater from percolating into the aquifer and increase run-off of harmful pollutants.

Development and increased groundwater demand can result in diminished water flow at the springs and harm to sensitive plants and animals. The negative downstream impact can also be quite significant for rivers like the Suwannee and Santa Fe that are supported by the spring flow.

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