South Florida Water Management District Cuts Ag Water Usage

South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) meteorologists report that appreciable rain is beginning to fall over portions of the district, with southwestern through north-central portions of the South Florida region benefiting most. These rains continued through this past weekend, becoming more heavy and widespread early this week and potentially signaling the beginning of the 2009 wet season.

Despite the pending start of the wet season, South Florida remains in the midst of a regional water shortage. The period from November 2008 through April 2009 ranks as the driest six-month period in South Florida history based on records dating back to 1932. Persistent rainfall is needed to begin to make up for a rainfall deficit of more than 11 inches. The latest U.S. Drought Monitor report shows that most of the region is experiencing extreme drought conditions, just below the driest and highest level of the monitor’s intensity scale.

Groundwater levels throughout much of the region have dropped to within the lowest 10% of their historical range, with some monitoring wells reaching all-time lows. The primary regional storage systems — the Water Conservation Areas and Lake Okeechobee — also continue to decline. At 10.63 feet, the lake is nearly 2.8 feet below its historic average for this time of year.

In response to the continued dry conditions, the SFWMD Governing Board on Thursday approved new emergency water shortage orders:

Lake Okeechobee Service Area and Southern Indian Prairie Basin: Imposes Modified Phase III restrictions that require a 45% reduction in water use for agriculture, nurseries, and golf courses that draw irrigation water from Lake Okeechobee or surface waters hydraulically connected to Lake Okeechobee. The order affects users within portions of Okeechobee, Glades, Palm Beach, Lee, Hendry, Martin, and St. Lucie counties.
Palm Beach and Broward Counties: Halts surface water withdrawals by diversion and impoundment permit holders and specified agricultural permit holders from Water Conservation Areas 1 and 2 and regional canals.
West Palm Beach: Provides several water supply relief options for the City of West Palm Beach.

The orders took effect on Monday, May 18.

A majority of the District remains under two-day-a-week landscape watering restrictions. In recent weeks, emergency orders — which the SFWMD Governing Board concurred with last Thursday — were issued to create more stringent water use restrictions in specific areas that warrant additional resource protection. SFWMD enforcement staff has reviewed the current restrictions with local enforcement officials at recent workshops in Okeechobee, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, Martin and Monroe counties.

A burn ban is also in place on District-managed public lands to protect lives, property and the environment amid the drought. The ban means no fires in grills, fireplaces or fire rings provided by the District or other authorized management agencies until further notice. The use of portable camp stoves and grills, brought in by users for cooking purposes only, is allowed.
 

Source: SFWMD

Leave a Reply

Featured Stories

More Vegetables6 Savory Tomato And Pepper Varieties For Florida Growers
October 20, 2014
Leading vegetable seed companies highlight a half dozen high-performance selections for producers in the Sunshine State. Read More
CitrusGrowers Need To Take The Ball And Run — Now! [Opinion]
October 18, 2014
Help yourself, your farm, and fellow colleagues by becoming more involved in your industry. Read More
CitrusLegendary Florida Citrus Grower And Advocate Passes
October 17, 2014
Joe L. Davis Sr. will be remembered for his straight talk and sage advice. Read More
GrapesNew American Viticultural Area In Northern California Established
October 17, 2014
“Eagle Peak Mendocino County” lies entirely within the North Coast viticultural area. Read More
GrapesMapping Grape Crown Gall Tumor Disease
October 17, 2014
Scientists are close to cracking the disease’s genetic code, a major boon to vineyard protection. Read More
NutsAlmond Growers To Promote Bee Health
October 16, 2014
Almond Board of California announces comprehensive Best Management Practices. Read More
Cucurbits6 Juicy Watermelon Selections For The Sunshine State
October 16, 2014
Leading vegetable seed companies highlight a half dozen high-performance varieties for Florida producers. Read More
CitrusDiversification Is King For Small Farm’s Success
October 16, 2014
Being flexible and adapting to the times critical for Central Florida's Vo-LaSalle Farms. Read More
CitrusAsian Citrus Psyllid Moves Into Northern California
October 15, 2014
First detections made of damaging insect in Santa Clara and San Joaquin counties. Read More

The Latest

Apples & PearsInvasive Pest Found First Time In U.S. At Border Crossi…
October 20, 2014
Moth known to feed on apples, apple buds, leaves, and shoots, is found in a container full of pump valves originating in China. Read More
More Vegetables6 Savory Tomato And Pepper Varieties For Florida Grower…
October 20, 2014
Leading vegetable seed companies highlight a half dozen high-performance selections for producers in the Sunshine State. Read More
CitrusGrowers Need To Take The Ball And Run — Now! [Opi…
October 18, 2014
Help yourself, your farm, and fellow colleagues by becoming more involved in your industry. Read More
CitrusLegendary Florida Citrus Grower And Advocate Passes
October 17, 2014
Joe L. Davis Sr. will be remembered for his straight talk and sage advice. Read More
GrapesNew American Viticultural Area In Northern California E…
October 17, 2014
“Eagle Peak Mendocino County” lies entirely within the North Coast viticultural area. Read More
GrapesMapping Grape Crown Gall Tumor Disease
October 17, 2014
Scientists are close to cracking the disease’s genetic code, a major boon to vineyard protection. Read More
NutsAlmond Growers To Promote Bee Health
October 16, 2014
Almond Board of California announces comprehensive Best Management Practices. Read More
Cucurbits6 Juicy Watermelon Selections For The Sunshine State
October 16, 2014
Leading vegetable seed companies highlight a half dozen high-performance varieties for Florida producers. Read More
CitrusDiversification Is King For Small Farm’s Success
October 16, 2014
Being flexible and adapting to the times critical for Central Florida's Vo-LaSalle Farms. Read More
CitrusAsian Citrus Psyllid Moves Into Northern California
October 15, 2014
First detections made of damaging insect in Santa Clara and San Joaquin counties. Read More
Farm ManagementVidalia Onion Committee Reaches Younger Audience with D…
October 15, 2014
“V is for Vidalia” campaign focused on social and digital media outreach. Read More
VegetablesSakata Seed America To Debut “Tasty 10 By Sakata Coll…
October 15, 2014
The collection includes a new variety and will be launched at the PMA Fresh Summit Oct 17-19. Read More
Insect ControlBagrada Bug Continues To Spread In California’s Brass…
October 15, 2014
The pest is expected to be a problem through December. Read More
Vegetables8 Blazing Hot Pepper Varieties [Slideshow]
October 15, 2014
Check out these 8 hot pepper varieties from the nation’s leading seed breeders and distributors. Read More
NutsKeep In Mind Availability Of Soil Fumigants
October 15, 2014
Almond growers must be aware of restrictions pertaining to soil fumigants prior to replanting. Read More
Food SafetyCalifornia Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement Revises Web…
October 15, 2014
The California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement's revised website provides food safety news and resources. Read More
CitrusScientists Uproot Common “Superweed” Myths
October 15, 2014
A new fact sheet is available that explores the truth behind two fallacies.   Read More
CitrusUF/IFAS Joins In On Specialty Crop Block Grant Bonanza
October 15, 2014
Researchers partnering with FDACS and USDA on 24 separate projects to strengthen the produce market sector. Read More