South Florida Records Two Driest Back-to-Back Years
WEST PALM BEACH, Florida, January 8, 2008 (ENS) – The past two years have been the driest back-to-back calendar years in South Florida since rainfall recordkeeping began in 1932, meteorologists at the South Florida Water Management District confirmed today.
The 2006-2007 rainfall total of 83.63 inches district-wide displaces by nearly an inch the previous low of 84.59 inches that fell 50 years ago in 1955-56.
Last year was the ninth-driest year in the 76-year record with rainfall of just 42.88 inches, across the district, 82 percent of the historical average,
It followed rainfall of only 40.75 inches in 2006, the sixth-driest year on record.
The combined two-year total is nearly two feet less than the historical district-wide average of 104.5 inches for a typical two-year period.
“The district’s rainfall data confirms that South Florida is still in the grips of a severe regional drought, which has led to a multi-year water shortage the likes of which we have never experienced,” said SFWMD Governing Board Chairman Eric Buermann.
“South Florida residents – as well as water managers – must live with limited water supplies this dry season, and we all must practice conservation and follow the one-day-a-week restrictions if we are to successfully minimize the impacts of this water shortage,” he said.
All during 2007, the district imposed one new water restriction after another in an effort to conserve scant water supplies.
Now, the most restrictive rules ever imposed in South Florida take effect next week.
In December and for the first time in the agency’s history, the district declared an extreme water shortage, and established a one-day-a-week watering schedule for residential landscape irrigation.
Water management is easier when plants with similar water needs are grouped together, advises the South Florida Water Management District. (Photo courtesy SFWMD)
Landscape irrigation accounts for up to half of all household water consumption in the state of Florida and totals more than seven billion gallons per day nationwide.
The new restrictions become effective Tuesday, January 15. Enforcement, including issuing of of civil fines and notices of violation will begin on that date. For information on watering days and times, as well as restrictions on specific use classes, visit www.sfwmd.gov/conserve.
In checking the rain gauge, I found that we had a hair over 7″ of that elusive wet stuff in my little area of NE Florida this week.
If you read the article, you will find that Lake Okechobee is at very low levels and you may infer that this is due to the drought, which is not entirely correct. The level was reduced to make room for the record number of hurricanes (and heavy rainfall) predicted for the summer hurricane season (which never materialized) as there were concerns with whether or not the dike would hold.