Following three months of dry conditions, including a record-dry November, the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) is urging South Florida families to boost water conservation efforts. A total of 1.49 inches of rain fell District-wide in January, representing 76 percent of average, or 0.47 inches below average for the month.
All South Florida residents and businesses are urged to follow year-round landscape irrigation rules, which can be found at www.sfwmd.gov/mywateringdays. Those within the driest areas are encouraged to voluntarily cut back on irrigation, which can account for about half of residential potable water use.
The main areas of concern for dry conditions include Palm Beach, Martin and St. Lucie counties, along with the entire Southwest Coast.
“Extremely dry conditions set in early in the dry season and have not let up,” said SFWMD Governing Board Chairman Dan O’Keefe. “Water conservation is important all year but especially now to help sustain the regional water supply.”
No additional water conservation rules are in place at this time.
October’s Hurricane Matthew was the last time the region received widespread, heavy rain. The month of November was the driest since recordkeeping began in 1932.
SFWMD meteorologists reported this week that rainfall has been less than half of average from the start of the dry season in November to date. Only 2.75 inches fell District-wide, representing 41 percent of average, or 3.89 inches below average.
All basins in the 16-county area saw below average rainfall for the dry season to date:
Southwest Coast: 32 percent of average
Martin/St. Lucie: 34 percent of average
Palm Beach: 37 percent of average
Lake Okeechobee: 30 percent of average
Water managers are operating the system to save as much water as possible, and will continue to make adjustments as needed.