Water Supply


Water Supply

The availability of good-quality water drives everything we do. Our Water Resources team has been helping clients identify, develop, and permit water supplies for over four decades. Our projects range from public supply wellfields to citrus groves, sports complexes to residential developments—and everything in between. Services for new site development may include hydrogeological investigations, wellfield design and permitting, and construction observation. Services for established projects could entail permit renewals, mechanical integrity testing for injection wells, and water supply facilities work plans for local governments. We can also help our clients develop alternative water supply sources and apply for funding opportunities.

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What We Provide

Hydrogeological investigations provide information about the availability and quality of groundwater at a project site, and they help clients make decisions about the best uses of their water resources. Our team specializes in hydrogeological investigations that may include the construction of one or more wells 10 feet to 1,000 feet deep; testing of an aquifer’s hydraulic properties through pumping tests, slug tests, and constant or falling head tests; water quality sampling and analyses; and geophysical logging. We will design, implement, and oversee the best testing program to collect data for water supply system design and to assist in regulatory permitting.

Whether it’s a golf course development, a thousand-acre agricultural project, or a smaller commercial site, all projects must identify sources of water to meet their demands, whether for potable, irrigation, or other use. Our team draws upon a wealth of in-house and publicly available resources to determine the most economical, reliable, and best-quality source of water for a project. Sources may range from utility water to groundwater, surface water to seawater desalination—or a combination of multiple sources—depending on the project’s location and particular requirements. The results of the assessment can be used to assist in system design and regulatory permitting.

Day in, day out our team coordinates with local, state, and federal agencies on an array of water supply projects, and has worked on 1,000+ permit applications over the past three decades. We’ve renewed irrigation permits for small developments and obtained new public water supply permits for regional utilities. We’ve permitted mining and construction dewatering, deep injection wells, limited use public supply systems, and everything in between. As a result, we understand the agencies and their rules, and can permit projects quickly and economically. We stay current on permit rule development and update clients on policy changes that could impact their projects.

Not all wells are created equal. A good design is vital to achieving optimal well yield and water quality, as well as minimizing O&M costs over the life of a water supply system. Our team specializes in innovative well design for complex systems, drawing on the experience of our in-house water well contractors. We have designed systems capable of pumping 10 gpm from a single well up to 10 mgd from dozens of wells and multiple aquifers. We can develop plans and specifications for well rehabilitation, abandonment, acidization, back-plugging, mechanical scrubbing, lining, and casing repairs—all designed to improve water quality and increase well efficiency.

The State of Florida recognizes the importance of water supply planning on both project and regional scales. This effort falls not only on the State agencies, but also on counties, local governments, and developers. This may include evaluating water supply as part of a comprehensive plan or zoning application, or preparing a 10-Year Water Supply Facilities Work Plan for a city. We can assess the most sustainable and economical water sources to accommodate future growth and prepare conceptual system designs. For both new and existing systems, we can identify infrastructure improvements and financing options to best serve our clients’ long- and short-term goals.

Permitting a new project, or even renewing an existing permit, often requires some form of modeling to demonstrate that water use will not adversely impact surrounding properties or natural systems. Modeling can also be a powerful tool in designing wellfield and assessing the potential for water quality changes over time. This helps ensure optimal function of water supply systems and aids in management decisions. The right model for a project may be a simple analytical spreadsheet calculation, or a multi-layer, calibrated numerical model with solute transport. Our team understands which approach will work best for which project, and can develop scientifically defensible models for any number of scenarios.

Deep well injection is commonly used in South Florida to dispose of waste streams, such as concentrate from reverse osmosis treatment. Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) involves injecting and storing excess water in an aquifer then recovering it for later use. Design, permitting, and mechanical integrity testing (MIT) of these wells require an intimate knowledge of local hydrogeology and well construction techniques. Our team has assisted in permitting, design, and MITs for these systems. Our extensive experience with well construction, geophysical logging, and hydraulic testing allows us to successfully resolve problems encountered during well construction and MITs, and interact effectively with regulatory staff.

As freshwater supplies become more limited, regulators have placed greater emphasis on development of alternative water supplies and may provide incentives for their use. Our team can help identify and develop alternative water supplies for both new and existing projects. Alternative water supply sources may include reclaimed water, tailwater recovery, and brackish groundwater, as well as the use of ASR. We help clients determine which option best meets their needs in terms of cost, storage, and seasonal availability. Such services may include technical and financial feasibility assessments, system design and permitting, assistance with funding opportunities, and construction observation and administration.

Water Supply Projects

Water Supply Team

Lonnie Howard, PE


Lonnie began working for Johnson Engineering in 1994 after completing the University of Florida’s graduate program in groundwater and open channel hydraulics. His dedication and leadership enabled him to be elected President of the firm in 2012. Under his direction, the firm has continued to successfully exceed its target revenue, profit, and business growth objectives. This success is based in part to Lonnie’s relentless commitment to client satisfaction and out-of-the-box strategies to improve efficiency. In addition to running the overall operations of the firm, Lonnie is a professional engineer that also works alongside the firm’s groundwater resources team. He has extensive experience in hydrogeological investigations, well construction, wellfield design, groundwater modeling, dewatering plans, deep injection wells, water supply planning, and water use permitting. He has worked on numerous projects for municipalities, utilities, private developers, and agricultural clients. Lonnie has also provided expert testimony before hearing examiners related to zoning cases and before the Governor’s cabinet pertaining to water supply and hydrogeology.

Laura Brady Herrero, CE

Director of Water Resources & Environmental Services / Principal Ecologist

Laura joined the firm in 2000 and serves as director of the firm’s environmental consulting and water resources team, providing project management and oversight of large-scale public and private sector projects. As a principal ecologist, she continues to conduct:

  • State and Federal wetland jurisdictional determinations
  • Protected species surveys
  • Habitat and species management plans
  • Coordination and permitting with:
    • - The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC)
    • - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS)
    • - FWS Biological Assessments and Biological Opinions
    • - Wetland/listed species mitigation proposals and mitigation monitoring
    • - Environmental Resource Permit and Federal Dredge and Fill applications
    • - Follow-through to permit issuance and post-permit compliance.

She is also an FWC Authorized Gopher Tortoise Agent, Federal Aviation Administration Qualified Airport Wildlife Biologist, and FWS qualified caracara observer with over 2,000 hours of caracara survey experience and 45 nests found to date.

Erik Howard, PE, PSM

Professional Engineer

Erik Howard joined Johnson Engineering in December 2003. Erik earned both his Master of Engineering and Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering degrees from the University of Florida. As an engineer, surveyor, general contractor, plumbing contractor and electrical contractor, Erik is familiar with both the technical and construction side of projects.

Erik’s experience as an engineer includes groundwater modeling, hydraulic pipe modeling, data analysis, utility design, directional drill layout and design, well design, pump station design, treatment facility design, stormwater design, permitting, certification and construction administration. He routinely prepares specialized plans and specifications for projects that require an ‘out-of-the-box’ approach. Erik’s technical background and practical experience allows him to handle most any unique circumstance.

Jordan Varble, PE

Water Resources Engineer

Jordan joined Johnson Engineering in 2015 and is a Professional Engineer in the company’s Water Resources group. Jordan earned his Master of Science in Civil Engineering from Colorado State University in 2011 and Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Missouri S&T in 2009. Jordan’s experience as an engineer includes regional watershed modeling, surface water design, hydraulic pipe modeling, Class I deep injection wells, construction inspection, well design, regulatory permitting, technical report writing and engineering due diligence. He currently manages engineering projects relating to water resources, bringing projects from conceptual ideas to physical reality.

Alec Piironen, PG

Professional Geologist

Alec joined Johnson Engineering in 2022 and is a professional geologist in the company’s water resources group. He is responsible for performing hydrogeologic investigations, water resource assessments, Class I deep injection well permitting and mechanical integrity testing, water management district water use permitting, Florida Department of Environmental Protection permitting, and environmental due diligence. Additionally, Alec joined Johnson Engineering with a combined 6 years of experience working as a geologist/engineering technician with other Environmental Consulting Firms, where he worked on a variety of landfill construction and monitoring, contaminate investigation and remediation, and environmental compliance projects.

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