CLEWISTON, FL. -- In an effort to keep the public informed about the dry conditions gripping much of the state, the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) is issuing the following latest conditions report.
Photo: Airboat trails visible in Everglades as water levels remain low
Despite welcomed rainfall along the East Coast and other localized areas this week, groundwater levels across much of the 16-county District and the primary regional storage systems the Water Conservation Areas and Lake Okeechobee continue to decline.
April and May are traditionally the driest times of the year, with evaporation claiming about 6 inches of water a month. In contrast, as of this morning, only 0.64 inches of rain had fallen for the month. No meaningful rain is predicted to fall in the next nine to 10 days, according to District meteorologists.
The latest U.S. Drought Monitor report shows severe drought conditions, the middle of the monitor's intensity scale, are impacting a large portion of the 16-county District. Parts of central South Florida are experiencing extreme drought conditions, just below the driest and highest level of the intensity scale. Already the third driest on record since 1932 as of the end of March, the 2008-2009 dry season has produced a rainfall deficit reaching more than 9 inches.
Drought conditions will not be alleviated until the arrival of the wet season, likely a month away. An exact start date to the wet season, the amount of rainfall and the focus of that rain are uncertain.
Water conservation remains the best defense against drought conditions. The SFWMD is closely monitoring water levels and is urging residents and businesses to conserve water and follow landscape irrigation restrictions to protect available supplies. More information about irrigation limits by area is available on the District's water restrictions Web site. For water saving tips, visit http://www.savewaterfl.com/.