Project to recharge local groundwater supply using Black Creek gets green light

Jacksonville, FL — It involves moving water from the flood-prone Black Creek out to Camp Blanding using a pipeline system.

The governing board of the St. Johns River Water Management District has officially approved the Black Creek water recharge project.

Karl Hankin, the Director of the Division of Projects, tell us they're expecting to see numerous benefits from the project, from an economic boost in Keystone Heights and surrounding areas, to being able to meet future water supply demands.

"It's a regional benefit in that getting water into the ground in the Keystone Heights area can benefit not only the folks in the Keystone Heights area, but surrounding counties as well, because the Florida aquifer is in the ground beneath our feet and it's quite extensive all the way up to Northeast Florida and down to the south," explains Hankin.

Hankin says rainwater is what naturally recharges the aquifer, but this will help to replenish the water level during times of drought.

As for what this means for Black Creek, we're told it unfortunately won't do much to alleviate flooding issues, as 10 million gallons a day is the upper limit of the project.

"It certainly won't hurt in terms of flooding, but the actual impact may be pretty small compared to the amount of water that flows through Black Creek during flood stage," says Hankin.

The initial design and construction phase is expected to cost $13 million, with funding coming from a 2017 legislative appropriation championed by both Senator Rob Bradley and Representative Bobby Payne.

Hankin says they hope to begin construction on the system next fiscal year and wrap up within four years.

The executive director of the St. Johns River Water Management District calls this the biggest water resource development project ever in Northeast Florida.

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