University of Florida

Our Water Supply

Our water supply is an important piece of UF’s history. In 1905, the City of Gainesville lobbied for UF to move from its then Lake City home by offering land, money and an agreement to "furnish water to the university without charge."

The Floridan Aquifer

The primary source of drinking water in Alachua County is a large underground limestone reservoir (sometimes compared to a slow-moving lake) known as the Floridan Aquifer. Each day, Floridians draw more than 2.5 billion gallons of water from the Floridan aquifer, making it one of the most productive aquifers in the world.

Florida Aquifer

The Groundwater - Surface Water Connection

In most of Florida, extensive clay layers, limestone layers or smaller aquifers lie above the Floridan Aquifer. These layers provide additional protection from surface pollutants.

However, in some areas of Alachua County, these protective layers are very thin, perforated or absent, allowing pollutants to pass more easily from the ground’s surface into the aquifer below. Alachua County’s sinkholes, areas of land where overlying soils collapse, provide a direct connection to the aquifer.

Devil's Millhopper

How does UF acquire water from the aquifer?

UF’s water is pumped from the Murphree Well Fields owned by Gainesville Regional Utilities. (This is the primary well system for the City of Gainesville and nearby towns.) After being pumped from below ground, GRU treats the water before distributing it through pipes. GRU supplies potable water to UF through 16 locations around campus.

Murphee Well Field