SRWMD urges water conservation as drought continues

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The Suwannee River Water Management (District) continues to urge all water users to conserve in light of ongoing drought conditions.
“We’re asking everyone to reduce water use, particularly lawn and landscape irrigation, which typically consumes half of the water used for residential supply,” said District Acting Executive Director Charlie Houder.
The 12 months ending on April 30 had the lowest rainfall total (37.46 inches) of all May-April periods since 1932, and was the third driest of all 12-month periods. The District’s average12-month deficit rose to 17.1 inches, with some areas experiencing more than 25 inches of deficit.
River flows are extremely low, and gages on some rivers are setting new record low flows for this time of year. Part of the Santa Fe River near High Springs has nearly stopped flowing.
Levels at all monitored lakes are below average. Groundwater levels continue to decrease, with almost all of District monitor wells setting new record lows for the time of year and many setting new historic lows.
Most of the springs on the Santa Fe are near or below record low levels. Treehouse Spring in Alachua County had no observable flow for the first time in its record. Manatee Springs continued to set new low average monthly flows, and Fanning Springs saw the intrusion of river water during high tides because of low spring flow.
The three-month precipitation outlook issued by the Climate Prediction Center is for equal chances of above-normal, normal, or below-normal precipitation through July. Above-normal temperatures are expected through July.
District staff continues to evaluate the need to declare a Phase III Water Shortage Order to require water use restrictions for all users. Under the water shortage order, restrictions, and some exemptions, would apply to residential, agriculture, commercial, and industrial users. Water shortage restrictions are intended to reduce the demand on water supplies during drought
For now, a water shortage advisory is in effect, which urges all users to conserve. Residents and others within the District fall under mandatory limits on lawn and landscape irrigation and water use permit holders are required to implement water conservation plans.
For more information about limits on landscape irrigation, visit www.mysuwanneeriver.com.