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Multi-level partnerships and collaborations support the Florida well owner network
Proceedings of the 2023 Mississippi Water Resources Conference
Year: 2023 Authors: Albertin A., Zhuang Y.
The Florida Well Owner Network (FWON) is a drinking water quality and septic system educational program that was developed for Florida decentralized water users. Our goals are to educate residents about well water quality and best management practices to ensure well and groundwater protection, facilitate water testing, and provide disaster relief assistance after major storms. To successfully achieve these goals at state and local levels, FWON has brought in multi-level partnerships and collaborations. These include internal and external state specialists, county extension agents, local health departments, water management districts, and state-certified water quality testing labs. Extension specialists provide research on drinking water contamination and treatment. County extension agents organize workshops through their established networks and help teach residents. Local health departments and water management districts provide local well water information and funding for well water testing. State-certified water testing labs enable drinking water testing through standardized methods. Since 2017, 1,289 residents have been educated about water quality and septic system maintenance through FWON and 451 people have had their well water tested for bacterial contamination. Due to COVID-19, we switched from in-person workshops to webinars, reaching approximately 500 well users in 2021 and early 2022. Our efforts are currently focused on providing workshops both in-person and online, and as FWON grows major challenges include organizing larger sampling events and funding to process analyses.