Peace River Integrated Modeling Project, Florida


For the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD), HGL developed and calibrated an integrated groundwater/surface water model of the 2,350-square-mile Peace River basin in west-central Florida. The Peace River basin is the largest watershed in the SWFWMD jurisdiction, and it has been significantly affected by activities such as residential construction, farming, and phosphate mining. These activities have changed the natural hydrology of the basin, altering drainage patterns and lowering the groundwater potentiometric surface. A steady, long-term decline in stream flows has occurred since the early 1960s.
Through this project, HGL assisted the SWFWMD in implementing a recovery strategy to restore basin storage and increase aquifer recharge to mitigate the effects of groundwater withdrawals for water supply. The model calibration encompassed stream flows, lake levels, and groundwater potentiometric heads. In follow-up work, HGL simulated the effects of various alterations that had occurred in the basin as a result of human activities and assessed management alternatives to restore flows in the Peace River, including adjusting groundwater withdrawals, creating surface water storage areas in the upper part of the basin, and constructing rain gardens to enhance infiltration.

Project Highlights
Developed a conceptual hydrological and regional hydrogeological model, including the roles of Karst sinkhole features, lakes, and streams on groundwater/ surface water interactions.
Developed local and regional groundwater and surface water budgets.
Prepared and calibrated a transient integrated groundwater/surface water model.
Performed model sensitivity analyses and simulated select future land use and management scenarios, including changes in groundwater pumping.
Trained SWFWMD personnel on use of the model.