In response to improved regional water resource conditions, the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) Governing Board has rescinded all emergency water shortage orders for South Florida, many of which had been in place since March this year.
The Governing Board also declared a water shortage warning today to encourage vigilance and voluntary cutbacks. Frequent swings in South Florida's water conditions — and the drier-than-normal La Niña forecast — indicate a return to water shortage is possible.
The District's 16-county region remains under permanent conservation measures with the Year-Round Irrigation Rule that limits landscaping to two or three days per week based on location. To search by municipality, click here. Permitted water users such as nurseries, agriculture and utilities are required to continue following the terms of their permits.
The dry season that stretched from October 2010 until June 2011 was one of the driest on record and required mandatory, emergency cutbacks to protect water resources from serious harm and safeguard the water supply.
The District received 38.2 inches of rain during the June-to-November wet season, which is 4.52 inches above normal and compensated for the significant rainfall deficit during the preceding dry season.
The record-setting 9.8 inches of rain in October was two-and-a-half times the average for the month and resulted in localized flooding. Lake Okeechobee, the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes, the Water Conservation Areas and groundwater levels improved dramatically in recent weeks.
October's storms did significantly benefit Lake Okeechobee, a key backup water supply for millions of South Floridians. The lake stood at 13.79 feet NGVD today, and continues to rise above last year's level. The current level is more than 2.5 feet higher than on September 30.