Information about GRU's proposed consumptive use permit
On August 15, 2014, the St. Johns River Water Management District gave public notice that it intends to issue a consumptive use permit (CUP) to GRU to authorize groundwater withdrawals of up to 30 million gallons per day (mgd) from the Murphree Wellfield for the next 20 years. Several frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the proposed GRU CUP are answered below.
What is a CUP and why does GRU need one?
Does this proposed CUP allow GRU to increase its withdrawals?
GRU provides potable water to approximately 190,000 residents and to commercial and institutional customers in the Gainesville area. GRU has to maintain several state and federal permits to operate its water systems. The CUP is the permit that allows GRU to withdraw groundwater via its wells in a manner that does not interfere with other existing legal water uses and protects water resources such as wetlands, lakes and springs. CUPs are required for all major water withdrawals and are typically issued by a water management district. GRU's CUP will be issued by the St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD).
No. Due to significant water conservation efforts by GRU's customers and investments made by GRU, the utility expects to be able to keep its withdrawals under 30 mgd for the next 20 years as authorized by this CUP. This is the same withdrawal level GRU has been permitted to use since 2009.
Is the University of Florida included in GRU's CUP?
Yes. The University of Florida is one of GRU's water customers, so its existing and future demands are included in this CUP.
How much water have GRU and its customers conserved?
GRU's residential per capita water use has decreased more than 25 percent over the last 15 years. Residential per capita water use is the average amount of water used per person in customers' homes. It provides a way to measure how efficiently people are using water.
Will GRU's authorized withdrawals under this CUP harm springs, lakes or wetlands?
No. As part of the two-year review process leading to the issuance of this CUP, GRU, the SJRWMD and the Suwannee River Water Management District worked together to perform detailed groundwater flow modeling, hydrologic data analyses and field wetland assessments to determine the potential for GRU's withdrawals to cause harm. As a result of this extensive work, the water management districts have determined that GRU's withdrawals will not cause adverse impacts to springs, lakes or wetlands. GRU has implemented numerous aquifer recharge projects and is committed to implementing additional aquifer recharge projects in the future to offset water withdrawals and benefit the Floridan Aquifer.
How will GRU continue to sustainably withdraw water under this CUP for the next 20 years?
Several factors help GRU maintain a sustainable water supply. First, the community's commitment to water conservation has allowed GRU to keep withdrawals from growing significantly despite an increase in customers. Second, GRU operates a reclaimed water system that returns approximately 70 percent of groundwater withdrawals back to the aquifer as recharge to reduce impacts due to pumping. Finally, GRU has committed to implementing additional aquifer recharge projects under this CUP to further benefit the Floridan Aquifer.
What aquifer recharge projects is GRU proposing to implement?
As part of this CUP, GRU will implement two new groundwater recharge wetland projects that will replenish the Floridan Aquifer to further reduce the impact of GRU's withdrawals. These projects will be completed in addition to the recharge projects already in place. They are anticipated to be implemented in the proposed Oakmont development and at Kanapaha Middle School, which are located on the west side of GRU's service area. The projects will utilize wetlands to help remove nutrients from reclaimed water prior to recharging the aquifer.
The following resources offer additional information about GRU's proposed consumptive use permit: