What is

The Floridan Aquifer is the primary source of drinking water for millions of Florida's residents and visitors. It is also the source of Florida’s springs.

Florida’s terrain is made of carbonate rocks like limestone. This type of terrain is called karst. Over time, rainwater has seeped through the rocks, creating networks of caves and channels deep underground. The water inside them, called groundwater, makes up the Floridan Aquifer.

Karst aquifers, like the Floridan Aquifer, are especially vulnerable to contamination. As water from the land surface moves through karst and into the aquifer – known as recharge – it brings along substances from the surface. These include nutrients from fertilizers used on farms and yards, waste from animal operations, and human waste from wastewater.

Types of karst features seen in Florida include springs, swallets, karst windows, and sinkholes. Many of these features create a direct path to the aquifer, making it even easier for contaminants to enter.



Springs are classified by the amount of water that flows from them. This is known as the magnitude of the spring.  There are eight magnitudes of springs.

1st magnitude springs have a flow rate of more than 65 million gallons per day.

8th magnitude springs have a flow rate of less than  1 pint per minute.

Just a few of Florida's
beautiful springs...

To learn more about the springs visit the FSI website to explore the Interactive Florida Springs Map.

Springs Wildlife

The springs are full of life! They are home to fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals and more.


Karst is a landform created when carbonate rocks like limestone are dissolved by water. 

Groundwater is any water stored underground in soil, sediment, or rock. 

Recharge is rainfall or surface water that seeps into the aquifer from the surface.

An aquifer is groundwater that is safe to be used as a water supply by humans. 

A spring is an area where groundwater from the aquifer comes to the surface.