The words hold such poetry for me…something from a time long, long ago when Florida was wild and pure. In all honesty, I don’t know much about artesian wells, but throughout my life I have heard stories that have intrigued, and yet sometimes confused me. It is of these wells that I will write briefly on today.
When I was growing up, my historian mother told me stories of artesian wells made by simply hammering a pipe into the ground right here along the Indian River Lagoon. They would just flow and flow and both people and animals would drink from them. Many of these wells were made for irrigating farmland and for supplying the needs of pioneer families. My brother, Todd, recently told me of an artesian well located in the shallow waters off of Hutchinson Island that the pirates and sailors would stop to drink from to refresh themselves on their long and dangerous journeys…it was created by pressure under the earth by Nature. Not man-made but natural.
So an “artesian wells” can be natural or man-made. Apparently in 1957 the state started capping them as there were so many they were lowering the ground water level, and in some cases allowing salt water intrusion.
Most of them are gone today. I definitely consider myself someone who supports water conservation, and I still have memories when I take a shower of my parents yelling up the stairs to us as kids: “turn off the water while soaping up!!!!” Nonetheless, the romantic image of a free-flowing well on a wild Florida piece of land is a beautiful image indeed…. 🙂
Document to cap Florida Artesian Wells, 1957
STATE OF FLORIDA
STATE BOARD OF CONSERVATION Ernest Mitts, Director
FLORIDA GEOLOGICAL SURVEY Robert O. Vernon, Director
INFORMATION CIRCULAR NO. 21
ON AN INVENTORY OF
FLOWING ARTESIAN WELLS IN FLORIDA
LEADING TO THE ENFORCEMENT OF SECTIONS 373. 021-373. 061 FLORIDA STATUTES
Mr. Ernest Mitts, Director
Florida State Board of Conservation
Tallahassee, Florida Dear Mr. Mitts:
I respectfully transmit the final report on an inventory leading to the enforcement of Sections 373.021-373.061, Florida Statutes, 1957, prepared by Charles W. Hendry, Jr.
and James A. Lavender of the Water Investigations, Florida Geological Survey.
This report published as Information Circular No. 21, together with the interim report published in 1957 as Infor- mation Circular No. 10, Florida Geological Survey, illus-
trates as completely as possible the situation that now exists among the freely flowing wells of the State.
Robert O. Vernon, Director
An abandoned 8-inch well flowing in excess of 800 gallons per minute. This well is located in section 32, T. 7 S., R. 30 E., St. Johns County,
CHAPTER 28253, 1953 LAWS OF FLORIDA SENATE BILL NO. 57, 1953
AN ACT to protect and control the Artesian Waters of the State; providing duties of certain State and county officers in regard thereto; and providing a penalty for the viola- tion of this Act.
Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
Section 1. Everyperson, stockcompany, association or corporation, county or municipality, owning or controlling the real estate upon which is located a flowing artesian well in this state, shall, within ninety (90) days after the passage of this act, provide each such well with a valve capable of controlling the discharge from such well, and shall keep such valve so adjusted that only such supply of water shall be avail- able as is necessary for ordinary use by the owner, tenant, occupant or person in control of said land for personal use and in conducting his business.
Section 2. The owner, tenant, occupant or person in control of an artesian well who shall allow the same to flow continuously without a valve, or mechanical device for check- ing or controlling the flow, or shallpermit the water to flow unnecessarily, or shall pump a well unnecessarily, or shall permit the water from such well to go to waste, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to the penalties provided by law.
Section 3. For the purposes of this act, an artesian well is defined as anartifical hole in the ground fromwhich water supplies may be obtained and which penetrates any water
bearing rock, the water in which is raised to the surface by natural flow, or which rises to an elevation above the top of the water bearing bed. Artesian wells are defined further to include all holes, drilledas a source of water, that penetrate any water bearing beds that are a part of the artesian water system of Florida, as determined by representatives of the Florida Geological Survey.
Section 4. Waste is defined for the purposes of this act to be the causing, suffering, or permitting any water flowing
from, or being pumped from an artesian well to run into any river, creek, or other natural watercourse or channel, or into anybay or pond (unless used thereafter for the beneficial purposes of irrigation of land, mining or other industrial purposes of domestic use), or into any street, road or high- way, or upon the land of any person, or upon the public lands of the United States, or of the State of Florida, unless it be used thereon for the beneficial purposes of the irrigation
thereof, industrial purposes, domestic use, or the propaga- tion of fish. The use of any water flowing from an artesian well for the irrigation of land shall be restrictedto a minimum by the use of proper structural devices in the irrigation
Section 5. The state geologist, assistant geologists, or any authorized representative of the Florida Geological Sur- vey, the sheriff or any deputy sheriff, shall have access to all wells in the state with the consent of the owner.
Should any well be not provided with a valve as required in section one (1) of this act, or should any well be allowed to flow in violation of section two (2) of this act, then and in such event, the state geologist, assistant geologists, or any authorized representative of the Florida Geological Survey, or the sheriff or any deputy sheriff shall, upon being informed of such fact, give notice to the owner to correct such defect, and if the same be not corrected within ten (10) days there- after, shall have authority to install the necessary valve or cap upon such well and control the flow therefrom in accord with the provisions of section one (1) and two (2) of this act. The cost of such installation of such valve and the control of the flow from such wells if made by such officials shall be at the expense of the owner, and for the payment thereof, the agency or party incurring the expense shall have a lien upon the lands upon which such well is located.
duly recorded in the public records in counties wherein such lands are located and may be enforced by foreclosure in the circuit courts of the circuit wherein such lands are located. In such foreclosure proceedings,
reasonable attorney’s fee to the plaintiff for the preparation and recording of such lien and the legal proceedings incident to the foreclosure of same. Such liens shall be assignable.
Full document “LEADING TO THE ENFORCEMENT OF SECTIONS 373. 021-373. 061 FLORIDA STATUTES”
Artestin well program SJRWMD: (http://www.ircgov.com/Departments/IRCCDD/SWCD/AgForumPres/SJRWMD.pdf)