Stormwater harvesting is the collection and storage of runoff for later use. The process benefits water quality, promotes aquifer recharge and is an underutilized source for water supply and water resource development projects.
- Water quality: Increased stormwater harvesting improves water quality by collecting, storing and therefore reducing direct stormwater discharges from ponds. Once harvested, many projects significantly decrease the pollutant loading discharged by their ponds into nearby waterways.
- Aquifer recharge: Stormwater harvesting in strategic locations promotes aquifer recharge, improving groundwater sources that feed the lakes, wetlands and other natural systems in the area. Additionally, reclaimed water can be added to stormwater to supplement recharge.
- Alternative water supply: The concept of stormwater harvesting benefits water supply when it is successfully used to supplement irrigation and other nonpotable uses, by reducing pumping stress on the aquifer through a decreased need for groundwater withdrawals.
The St. Johns River Water Management District developed a stormwater harvesting geographic information (GIS) tool and online database that allows the public to identify areas where water is needed (such as recharge areas, minimum flows and levels, wetland rehydration) and potential water sources (existing ponds, new Florida Department of Transportation [FDOT] road projects with ponds, etc.).
This tool utilizes existing data to locate more opportunities to connect-the-dots, matching potential users with stormwater harvesting projects, providing 26 data layers that combine information from the district, FDOT, Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), wastewater treatment facilities and utilities to provide a comprehensive search tool.
Stormwater harvesting project examples are available on this page.
Located in Seminole County and initiated in September 2015, the project included construction of nearly 6 miles of reclaimed transmission line from the Altamonte Springs reclaimed water facility to the city of Apopka, as well as pipeline, booster pumps and necessary infrastructure to deliver 3.0 million gallons per day (mgd) of reclaimed water to Apopka. The project reduces nutrient loading to the Little Wekiva River and provides treatment of stormwater from nearby Crane’s Roost Park and Interstate 4. Funding partners are FDOT, FDEP, the district, and the city of Altamonte Springs. (Environmental Resource Permit #22143-5)
Located in Indian River County, this 19.32-acre subdivision will harvest stormwater improving water quality through stormwater treatment, providing recharge and decreasing the need for groundwater withdrawal by about 10.6 million gallons per year. The project completed construction of the primary infrastructure and pond in August 2017. (Environmental Resource Permit #144639-1)
Nocatee water conservation in a master planned community
Located in Duval and St. Johns counties, this project began implementing a stormwater harvesting component to its system in late 2010. As of early 2018, the total acreage within Nocatee that is irrigated with stormwater is 308 acres, using 10 pump stations withdrawing water from 14 stormwater ponds. This project also utilizes reclaimed water to supplement the stormwater harvested from the ponds. No groundwater is used to irrigate this 308-acre area, saving approximately 182 million gallons per year of groundwater. As development of Nocatee continues over the next decade, the stormwater harvesting system will expand to almost double its current capacity. This stormwater harvesting system also helps to reduce the amount of nutrients discharged from the ponds to the nearby waterbodies. (Environmental Resource Permit #87432-245 and Consumptive Use Permits #101617-5, #101617-6)