Despite recent rainfall, Florida is still in desperate need of water to help fill area lakes and more importantly the Floridan aquifer.
Many lake residents are blaming over-pumping of the aquifer by agriculture, utilities and other businesses for the low water levels in area lakes around Keystone Heights. Business owners around Orange and Lochloosa lakes blame low water levels on not only the lack of rainfall, but on a large sinkhole in Orange Lake.
Whether or not to “stop up” the sinkhole has been a debate in both Alachua and Marion Counties for at least 60 years. Marion County commissioners came up with a plan to try and stop the outflow of water from the lake a few years ago, but water managers nixed the idea.
Alachua County commissioners were not supportive because of the cost for the proposed project.
Alachua County’s Director of Environmental Protection, Chris Bird, talked with WUFT News about lake levels, sinkholes and water usage overall.