LIVE OAK, FLA., FEB. 16, 2022 – The Suwannee River Water Management District (District) Governing Board, during its February meeting, authorized staff to perform a feasibility study for potential water supply and wastewater improvements in Levy County.
The study is to assess water, wastewater, and reuse needs for Cedar Key, Bronson, and Otter Creek, as well as the Lower Waccasassa Basin in Levy County. Utilizing funds from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Alternative Water Supply Feasibility Studies grant, the analysis is expected to be completed later this year.
This study will be used to support coastal resilience efforts by reducing groundwater pumping, reducing the number of septic tanks, and maximizing reuse. This effort seeks to provide a regional solution as part of a larger, regional approach for water supply sustainability and management.
The study stems from discussions with the City of Cedar Key, City of Bronson, Town of Otter Creek, and Levy County, who had expressed concerns over their individual utility systems and had approached the District about the possibility of a regional utility.
“Regional concerns for a clean, sustainable water supply require broad, regional ideas,” said Hugh Thomas, District Executive Director. “Kudos to these communities for seeking solutions to serve their communities, their neighbors, and the environment. This study is the first step in a long-term water resource solution for residents of Levy County and a broader regional strategy for the Lower Waccasassa River Basin. Our hope is to see more regional approaches to water resource concerns within our 15-county area.”
The study will evaluate existing wastewater treatment facilities and service areas, including consideration of identified future growth plans and needs, to examine individual and regional project potential, as well as identify regional alternative water or reuse supply opportunities.
“We are excited that the feasibility study is a go,” said Chad Wisdom, General Manager of the Cedar Key Water and Sewer District. “It’s in a step in the right direction and our hope is that this is the best path to take.”
City Councilwoman Sue Colson echoed his statements.
“The comments by the Governing Board members inspired me because they were regionally focused, which I think is such a great approach,” Colson said. “Individual cities and areas cannot get this job done and, if it weren’t for the District, I don’t think it could get done. This is a total system, it’s the whole basin, and shows that there’s no piece more important than any other. This doesn’t just benefit Cedar Key, but the entire area.”
The mission of the Suwannee River Water Management District is to protect and manage water resources using science-based solutions to support natural systems and the needs of the public. The District holds true to the belief of water for nature, water for people. Headquartered in Live Oak, Florida, the District serves 15 surrounding north-central Florida counties.
For more information about the District, visit www.MySuwanneeRiver.com or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter, search @SRWMD.