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Broward County faces possible tougher water restrictions

South Florida Water Management water managers on Thursday January 13 considered imposing tougher watering restrictions due to less than typical rainfall. Rainfall for the District registered 2.97 inches which is 35 percent of the average historical rainfall for the months October – December 2010. With the month of December measuring only 46 percent of the historical average rainfall for the month, Lake Okeechobee is currently about 4 inches above the critical level that would lead to instituting emergency watering restrictions.

Lake Okeechobee stands at 12.43 feet above sea level, down from 12.86 feet last month and 1.12 feet lower than this time last year. Historically, the lake is usually at 14.74 feet which stresses its capacity to both provide water to the District’s 16-county region as well as support its environmental needs.

“The below-average rainfall during the wet season and the lack of rainfall during the current dry season has caused groundwater and surface water levels to decline significantly”, said Tommy Strowd, SFWMD Deputy Executive of Operations and Maintenance. “The existing situation and the long-term forecast for continued extreme dry conditions make water conservation efforts imperative.”

The weather pattern has been uneven with 2010 being drier than normal and 2009 wetter than normal. Both 2009 and 2008 set records for the wettest and driest conditions respectively.

The South Florida Water Management District encourages water conservation through its The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers discontinued water releases on December 17, 2010 in anticipation of forecasted drier than normal conditions.

“The National Weather Service is forecasting continued La Nina conditions through April 2011, which means the lake stage could fall into the Water Shortage Management Band as early as January,” said Lt. Col. Michael Kinard, deputy district commander, South Florida. “If the predictions are accurate, we will likely experience drought conditions over the next several months.”

Broward County passed an ordinance in 2010, adopting year round irrigation restrictions. As a part of this ordinance, it enacted a landscape irrigation schedule allowing residences and businesses with an odd-numbered street address to water lawns and landscapes on Wednesdays and/or Saturdays, only before 10:00 a.m. or after 4:00 p.m. Residences and businesses with an even-numbered street address, no street address, or those who irrigate both even and odd addresses within the same zones, which may include multi-family units and homeowners associations, may water lawns and landscapes on Thursdays and/or Sundays, only before 10:00 a.m. or after 4:00 p.m.

So how can you conserve water? On the South Florida Water Management District website, there is a link to Compute Your Use. Considering that we use 50 percent of our water for watering lawns, consider replacing turf grass with low maintenance, low watering needs landscaping. Even better make these plant choices edible. There is nothing greater than walking through your yard and picking your own fresh food. Include a water sensor on your irrigation system and monitor leaking hoses and pipes. Capture the water from your a/c condenser and utilize rainbarrels to capture rainfall when it does start to rain again. Consider including a cistern to capture the overflow to store for future dry conditions. When capturing rainwater from roofs, consider the quality of water if you are using it for fruit or vegetable plants. Metal roofs with the first ten minutes of rainfall diverted are best.

About Valerie J. Amor:
As an architectural consultant, LEED AP, LEED certification reviewer, real estate broker and AIA associate, Valerie J. Amor is dynamically engaged in sustainability and issues regarding the built environment. Actively participating in several local, county and national organizations and committees focused on sustainability issues, she is also owner/principal of Drawing Conclusions and founder/president of Green Collar Connection, companies engaged in sustainable design, real estate development, green job training and research. Knowledgeable and well connected she brings you timely and thoughtful articles. Reach her at .

Related posts:

  1. Broward county two-day water restrictions now permanent
  2. Year round water conservation now a standard in South Florida
  3. Wet January welcome but water shortage concerns remain
  4. 2009 Roller Coaster of Weather Extremes, Water Management Challenges
  5. Recent rains ease some water restrictions in South Florida

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Posted by Valerie J. Amor on Jan 18 2011. Filed under Broward County, Emerging Green, Featured, Fort Lauderdale, Local news, Pompano Beach, Water management. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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