Minimum flows and levels, strategy to protect Lake Butler near completion

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PALATKA, Fla., Aug. 11, 2020 — The St. Johns River Water Management District is nearing completion of the process to set protective minimum flows and levels (MFLs) for Lake Butler, a 296-acre sandhill lake in Volusia County. On Tuesday, the district’s Governing Board authorized staff to publish the formal Notice of Proposed Rule to complete the rulemaking process for the Lake Butler MFLs and approved a prevention strategy to ensure that the lake meets its adopted MFLs for the next 20 years.

Lake Butler is on the district’s MFLs Priority List and is scheduled for adoption in 2020. The lake is currently meeting minimum levels but is projected to fall below those levels over the next 20 years. However, due to nearly a dozen projects identified in the 2013 Volusia Prevention/Recovery Strategy that provide a benefit to Lake Butler, the lake will achieve its adopted MFLs through 2040. Many of these projects are under way or completed. Also, projects identified in the 2018 Volusia Strategy Assessment will provide additional benefits.

The prevention strategy includes previously identified water conservation, water supply and water resource development projects, which were developed through close coordination with the West Volusia Water Suppliers, consisting of Volusia County and the cities of DeLand, Deltona and Orange City. Specific projects include water conservation measures, reclaimed water interconnections and expansion, reclaimed water treatment and storage, other alternative water supplies, and recharge to the Upper Floridan aquifer.

Establishing MFLs is an important component of the district’s work of planning for adequate water supplies for today and for future generations while also protecting water resources within the district. MFLs define the limit at which further water withdrawals would be significantly harmful to the water resources of the area.

MFLs are one tool used for setting limits on groundwater and surface water withdrawals. They are used in the consumptive use permitting process and for reviewing proposed surface water management systems in the environmental resource permitting process. In addition, MFLs are used, along with other information and data, in the district’s water supply planning process.

Visit for information about MFLs. To learn more about MFLs, visit the district’s StreamLines blog at