Water that falls on land within the Brooker
that is not carried away by the creek soaks into the ground and
becomes part of the upper Floridan aquifer. An aquifer is the area
below the Earth's surface that collects and stores ground water. The Floridan aquifer
is the largest and deepest in the state and stretches for 82,000
square miles beneath Florida and parts of Alabama, Georgia and South
The sandy soils and sinkholes present throughout the watershed allow
water to quickly pass through the upper layers of soil and into
the aquifer. The speed at which water is able to soak through surface
soil and into the aquifer is known as the aquifer's recharge rate.
Most of the groundwater recharge that occurs in Pinellas and Hillsborough
counties takes place in the Brooker Creek watershed.
Throughout Florida, approximately 2.5 billion gallons of water are
removed from the aquifer each day by houses with wells and by municipal
water treatment facilities. Once they remove the water, municipal
water treatment facilities treat the water and send it to houses
as tap water used for drinking,
household activities and outdoor use.
If water is removed from the aquifer more quickly than rain falls
to recharge it, the amount of ground water decreases. This decrease
reduces the amount of fresh water available to residents, causes
lake levels to drop and impacts native plants and wildlife.
Pollutants also threaten aquifer health. The sandy soils present
in the Brooker Creek watershed allow water to quickly pass from
the surface to the aquifer, but do not thoroughly filter pollutants
from the water. Nitrogen and bacteria from surface sources can easily
pass into the ground water of the Brooker Creek watershed.