Florida District Warns Water Shortage to Worsen

Seasonal rains did not sufficiently replenish regional water supplies to meet the coming dry season's demands, according to the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD).

With the wet season now over, SFWMD recently warned South Florida residents to prepare for a prolonged, severe water shortage with the possibility of tighter water restrictions ahead.

"A normal wet season was never going to be enough to pull us out of the water shortage left behind by the 2006 far-below-normal wet season and subsequent dry season," said Carol Ann Wehle, executive director of the SFWMD. "Our consistent message to South Florida residents has been that we remain in a severe regional water shortage. Now as we enter the dry season, water conservation will be critical to ensuring there is enough water available."

In almost all locations, district-wide surface and groundwater levels are lower in November than they were a year ago, particularly in the Lake Okeechobee and Lower West Coast areas. According to water managers, these regions are likely to experience the most severe water shortage impacts next spring.

At present, climate forecasters predict that the current La NiƱa weather pattern of colder than normal temperatures in the equatorial Pacific is likely to result in lower than normal rainfall in the southeastern United States, SFWMD officials said. For the district, this is likely to represent a two-to-six-inch deficit through March 2008.

The SFWMD continues to encourage all water users to voluntarily reduce water consumption and observe normal water conservation practices.

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