Development of a new model tool for evaluating groundwater resources within the Floridan Aquifer System in Southern Florida, USA

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The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) are partners in an ambitious plan to restore water flows throughout the Everglades ecosystem. An important component of the restoration plan involves storing excess stormwater deep underground in the Floridan Aquifer System using aquifer, storage and recovery (ASR) wells. In order to determine the optimal ASR system and to assess environmental impacts, USACE spent over 11 years and significant resources to develop a three-dimensional groundwater model of the Floridan Aquifer System covering a large portion of the Florida peninsula. This SEAWAT model is capable of evaluating changes in aquifer pressures and density-dependent flows in the entire study area. The model has been used to evaluate the Everglades ASR system already but could also be used by water managers for other important water resources studies in Florida including water supply estimates and adaptation to climate change. As part of an effort to make the model more readily available for other important studies, this study documents and summarizes the overall development of the SEAWAT model including a discussion regarding the intensive calibration and validation efforts undertaken during model development. The paper then demonstrates the use of the model using Everglades ASR project alternatives. Lastly, the paper outlines potential future uses of the model along with its overall limitations. Supplementary online resources are also included that provide researchers with further detail regarding the model development effort beyond the scope of this summary article as well as model development databases.

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Environmental Earth Sciences





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