April 4, 2012

District urges conservation during moderate drought

This year’s drier than normal conditions following last year’s below average rainfall have caused low water levels throughout the Southwest Florida Water Management District.

“We are currently in a moderate drought District-wide, with our northern region more heavily affected,” said Granville Kinsman, District Hydrologic Data manager. “Dry conditions are expected to last until June, so further declines are anticipated.”

One outward sign of these dry conditions in the northern counties of Citrus, Hernando, Lake, Levy, Marion and Sumter is low water levels in area rivers and lakes.

“Some residents have asked if the low levels are due to open dams and structures,” said David Crane, District Structure Operations manager. “They’re not. The cause of the low water levels is a lack of rain.”

“Most of our structures have been closed since last summer,” said Crane. “The only exception in the area is a small amount of water that passes through the Inglis Bypass spillway on Lake Rousseau. This water is the minimum amount allowed and is used to ensure that a flow is sustained in the lower Withlacoochee River.”

Last summer’s rainfall was lower than average and did not recharge the aquifer completely. As a result we entered this year’s dry season with lower than normal lake and groundwater levels.

“The long, warm, sunny and breezy days of this season are also affecting lake levels by increasing evaporation from lake surfaces,” said Crane.

District staff are hopeful for sufficient rain during the upcoming rainy season to return area lakes to normal levels. An extended period of substantial rainfall is the only solution to the current low lake and groundwater levels.

All residents can help protect our water resources by practicing water-conserving behaviors. The District promotes water conservation year-round with an extra effort during April. Governments and water management districts throughout the state have declared April Water Conservation Month because it is traditionally one of the driest months of the year and typically marks the peak demand season for public water suppliers.

Leaks are the largest water waster. The District recently created a “Fix It for Less” guide to provide residents with step-by-step instructions on how to fix leaks and install water-conserving devices in the bathroom, kitchen and laundry room.

Order your guide today and find out more about water-conserving behaviors by visiting WaterMatters.org/FixItForLess/.

 
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