Springs are a window into the aquifer, which supplies our drinking water. They are also a great reminder that our water resources are all connected. Many creeks go into the aquifer via sinkholes and later emerge as springs! Learn more about Florida’s springs and how to protect them locally.
A springshed is an area within a ground or surface water basin that contributes to the spring flow. The boundaries of springsheds are dynamic – they change based on the level of the aquifer (otherwise known as its potentiometric surface). This means that a springshed may cover different areas at different times, depending on whether water levels are high or low.
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There are many springs along Gainesville’s creeks. The springs add groundwater to the flow of the creeks even during dry weather. This is why some creeks still have a flow even when it hasn’t rained for a while.
One notable spring in Gainesville is Glen Springs located at the north end of Alfred E. Ring Park. This is a low flow spring moving from the head pool into two swimming pools behind the Elks Lodge and then to the spring run. The spring run flows in the ravine, under the entry pedestrian bridge to the park, and finally to Hogtown Creek. Currently, the spring and pools are used as a private recreational facility.
Another spring of interest is Boulware Springs. This is also a relatively low flow spring, but served as Gainesville’s original public water plant. In fact, a promise of free water “for life” from this spring was what brought the University of Florida to Gainesville! Water from the spring flows south into concrete retaining pools and then to a small stream to Paynes Prairie.