MIAMI (CBSMiami) — South Florida residents are being asked to be conservative with their water as hotter and drier than normal conditions are expected within the coming months.
Last week the South Florida Water Management District issued a water shortage warning to all of the 8.1 million residents within the 16 counties that includes Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.
“The purpose of this warning is to urge South Florida families to voluntarily conserve more water,” said SFWMD Governing Board Chairman Dan O’Keefe. “This effort will help your water supply last through the remainder of the dry season.”
The best way to be more conservative with our water supply is to minimize your use of H2O for your lawn. Typically, lawn watering is only allowed twice a week but, at a time like this, more conservation methods are suggested.
“If you take a longer shower, cutting down on the length of your shower, brushing your teeth, when you’re shaving you can shut the faucet off in between when you’re actually doing to activity so it’s not continuously running,” said John Crouse with Broward Water Management.
Click here to see your water use limits for your landscaping based on your county rules.
Barry Pardon rarely sprinkles his lawn since he relies on the rain to keep it green and healthy but we’re getting less than normal rainfall. This means the water level in his pool is dropping too.
“It will go down maybe as much, especially if it’s windy, it’ll go down as much as a quarter of an inch a day on a windy day,” said Pardon.
From Orlando down, we are dry. On the map, the deep red (below) show the driest areas.
Water managers said the lack of rain has Lake Okeechobee below 12 feet. Just a few months ago, there was too much water and the flood gates were open. That left a stinking algae bloom behind on the Treasure Coast.
“Water’s our life blood so we need it for many purposes,” said Crouse.
Officials say if locals don’t voluntarily comply, they may look into mandatory restrictions on water use to be able to distribute the remaining water supply and make it last until wet season which typically starts June 1st.
“We could come to a point where all outdoor use of water could be prohibited and we want to avoid that if possible,” said Crouse.
At last check, since the start of the dry season on November 1st, there has been less than half (44%) of the average rainfall in South Florida, according to SFWMD. Miami-Dade County was the only area from Orlando to the Florida Keys that got normal rainfall levels.
Last week, Florida Governor Rick Scott declared a State of Emergency due to the drier conditions that have helped wildfires spread through parts of the state. With hotter and drier conditions expected in the coming months, there’s an increased chance that more wildfires will spark and spread.
There’s also a ban in place on all open fires and campfires within Hendry, Glades, Okeechobee, Osceola and Polk counties. If drought conditions continue, the ban could be expanded to other locations.