Third-driest Year on Record for Florida

Southwest Florida usually receives 42 inches annually, however, they are missing 13 inches of rain since 2006. The area is now entering a dry season after a year of rainfall so far below normal it ranks as the state’s third-driest year on record. Only four inches of rain has fallen in the area since January which is about half of normal rainfall amount. Some have said that the Southwest Florida region needs three years of above normal summer rains to recharge its aquifers.

Some WaterCrunch reverberations in the region:

  • Miami area issued an emergency order severely restricting the amount of water the Everglades can supply to nearby areas.
  • Water suppliers in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Monroe counties currently depend on an estimated 500 million gallons of water per day from the Everglades to recharge and sustain the Biscayne Aquifer which is their primary drinking water source.
  • They are asking federal officials to temporarily approve exceeding the limits on withdrawing water from the Everglades.
  • The Peace River, which usually flows at 300 cubic feet per second at this time of year is flowing at one-third its normal rate, at 98 cubic feet per second. A temporary suspension of rules has allowed the water authority to continue pumping water from the Peace River.
  • Peace River Manasota Regional Water Supply Authority and the Tampa Bay Water Authority may ask for more stringent water restrictions eliminating all nonessential water uses.
  • Lake Okeechobee today was at 10.16 feet, four feet below normal.
  • The Peace River Manasota Regional Water Supply Authority, which supplies 20 million gallons of water per day to some 200,000 people in Charlotte, Sarasota and DeSoto counties and North Port, believes the drought will result in lower quality water delivered to its customers. The authority stores river water in aquifer storage and recovery wells, but is anticipating using native ground water soon.

4.20.07 Update: Many are calling this drought the worst ever recorded in Florida. Read more.