Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Lake Levels Low Despite Rains

Lake Okeechobee Still Needs More Water

CLEWISTON, FL. -- Meteorologists at the South Florida Water Management District  report that the region received above-average rainfall last month for the first time since October 2007.  Water managers successfully captured and stored much of that rain, improving regional groundwater and surface water levels in advance of the anticipated height of the dry season in March and April.
Despite the rainfall reprieve, the District's 16-county region is still experiencing a multi-year rainfall deficit of more than 20 inches. The SFWMD continues to encourage aggressive water conservation to stretch and protect public water supplies until wet season rains return to replenish those resources and help pull the region out of water shortage.

South Florida's dry season begins in November and ends with the start of the wet season, typically in May. The season's driest months are usually March and April, when increased sunlight normally leads to increased water loss through evapotranspiration rates and more rapid declines in surface water elevations.

At 10.16 feet above sea level Wednesday, Lake Okeechobee remains more than four feet below its historical average – and nearly a half-foot below previous historic lows – for this time of year. Water levels in the lake have been setting new record daily lows for more than nine months. Lake Okeechobee is the source of water for 500,000 acres of farmland in the Everglades Agricultural Area and serves as a primary backup supply to more than five million South Floridians.

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