A deadly sinkhole that claimed the life of a Florida man two years ago reopened last summer. Local authorities believe that this may be due to heavy rains.
Sinkholes are often the result of groundwater levels becoming too low following excessive pumping. Florida has also seen wells dry up due to overuse of groundwater during dry spells.
The Southwest Florida Water Management District, or Swiftmud, has been researching groundwater pumping and concludes that something must be done to preserve water resources for future generations, even though provision for current needs seems to always take priority.
Water Online reports:
“Around 15 billion gallons of water are available to Florida each day from groundwater and surface water, according to the report, which cited AP-APME and the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Water-Use Information Program. About 14 billion gallons are devoted to households, factories, irrigation, livestock, aquaculture, thermoelectric power plants and mining.
Christopher Cole, Sarasota County’s public utilities planning supervisor, said water management in the area has never been a cakewalk.
“It’s always been a challenging process,” Cole said. “I have reports that go back to the late ’60s talking about planning for future water supply to meet future demands.”
Inframanage.com observes that planning for future demand is a core component of infrastructure asset management. This can be more demand, using demand management techniques to change demand, or declining demand.
For water utility networks making sure there is enough supply to meet current and future demand is critical. As the recent drought conditions in California and the western US states have highlighted, lack of water quickly becomes a major issue to communities, agriculture and industry.
There are several questions around future demand planning that you can ask yourself to assess the state of your planning, and what needs to be done going forward:
- Is your future demand planning comprehensive, and sufficient for the needs of your utility, and community?
- If there are gaps in your future demand planning – can you put a program in place to close these gaps?
- What don’t you know, and what risks are associated with what you don’t know?
- Based on your understanding of your ‘don’t know’ risks what needs to be done first?
To optimize long-term expenditure you need to be ‘ahead of the curve’ with your future demand planning.
There is usually very little opportunity to optimize when you are solving a problem in crisis mode.