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Panhandle's Water Management District Prioritizes Springs In New Budget

Ichetucknee Springs State Park in High Springs, Fla.
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A Florida water agency has a new budget of $55 million. The Northwest Florida Water Management District supervises water use and protection in the Florida Panhandle.

The district is prioritizing springs restoration, with Wakulla and Jackson Blue Springs at the top of the list. Executive Director Brett Cyphers says the group plans to update filtration systems, and treat the water before it reaches the springs.

“As with the Wakulla Springs project you’re taking folks that are on septic tanks that may be aging or failing and moving them to a central sewer, where you take the water and move it to a treatment facility rather than it making its way to the aquifer and eventually the spring,” he said.

The group will continue a cost sharing program encouraging farmers to reduce water and fertilizer use. Funding for the district comes from property taxes, state dollars and timber sales. The budget increased this year, with support from DEP Secretary Jon Steverson, who formerly served as the district’s head.