South Florida Water Management District

NOAA via AP

With Hurricane Irma bearing down on the Leeward Islands in the Caribbean, water managers in South Florida are bracing for heavy rainfall they say could exacerbate high water issues from record-setting rains the region experienced earlier this summer.

Amy Green / WMFE

A key player on Everglades issues was elevated Monday to become executive director of the South Florida Water Management District, replacing Pete Antonacci who is leaving to become Gov. Rick Scott's top business recruiter.

The district's Governing Board unanimously agreed during a teleconference to promote Ernie Marks, district director of Everglades policy and coordination, to executive director.

Read more: River of Grass, Dying of Thirst

South Florida Water Management District

Described by Gov. Rick Scott as someone who can “get deals done,” South Florida Water Management District Executive Director Pete Antonacci has been tapped as the next leader of the business-recruitment agency Enterprise Florida.

Enterprise Florida's executive committee last week unanimously approved a recommendation by agency Vice Chairman Stan Connally to offer the president and CEO position to Antonacci rather than to go through a search.

Carl Juste / Miami Herald

So much rain so early in the wet season has led to a slow-moving crisis across South Florida: what to do with all the water before things get really bad.

A state plan to protect estuaries by moving water north of Lake Okeechobee underground is sparking opposition.

Kate Stein / WLRN

Payrolled python hunters. They’re the latest story on the South Florida python beat, and they’re drawing national and international media attention, too.

A water shortage warning has been issued to 8.1 million residents from Orlando to the Florida Keys.


Kate Stein / WLRN

What makes water managers celebrate?

New pipes, of course!

So South Florida Water Management District employees were stoked Monday when a flatbed truck with a massive aluminum pipe -- about 60 feet long and five feet in diameter -- finally arrived at a big district construction site southwest of Homestead. The pipe is one of three to be used in a project providing Florida Bay with more of the fresh water it desperately needs.

Kate Stein / WLRN

If you scoop a glassful of water from the heart of the Everglades, that water is as pure and clear as the water that flows from your tap.

That’s because chances are good your tap water comes from the Everglades.

One in three Floridians -- more than eight million of us -- gets drinking water from the Biscayne Aquifer a few feet below the southeastern Everglades. The ecosystem acts as a natural filter, removing excess nutrients and keeping out seawater.

Kate Stein / WLRN

Let’s start with what we’re losing: 

One of the most biologically diverse places on Earth, from sawgrass to cypress trees, apple snails to alligators. The historic home of Florida’s Miccosukee and Seminole tribes. A national park.

The ecosystem that ensures fresh drinking water for more than 8 million Floridians.

Everglades advocate Marjory Stoneman Douglas talked about all this in an interview in 1983.

David Adam Kess / Via Wikimedia Commons

South Florida residents and businesses are urged to conserve water through May, when the dry season ends. That’s because the current dry season has been, well… really, really dry.

 

The South Florida Water Management District reports rainfall has been only 41 percent of what the region normally sees from November to February. The district says November 2016 was the driest month since regional record-keeping began in 1932.

 

Martin County Health Department

A bill to build water storage reservoirs south of Lake Okeechobee was introduced in Florida’s legislature on Thursday, formalizing a controversial plan by Senate President Joe Negron.

USGS, via Wikimedia Commons

A federal ruling issued last week on water transfers could affect the quality of water in South Florida, while potentially saving money for the area's taxpayers.

USGS, via Wikimedia Commons

For two decades, Florida has had an annual limit on how much phosphorous can flow out of the Everglades Agricultural Area -- a region of farmland south of Lake Okeechobee. Farmers and sugar-growers must release at least 25 percent less phosphorous than they did before the limit.

 

Until this year, farmers haven’t had much trouble making this goal, which was established in 1996 by the Everglades Forever Act. They have a near-perfect record of exceeding the 25 percent reduction standard -- often by as much as 40 percentage points.

The Secret Science Of Water In South Florida

Aug 4, 2016
Kate Stein / WLRN

Scientists at the South Florida Water Management District are offering a behind-the-scenes look at their work on water control and protection.

They’re having a poster exhibit at the district’s West Palm Beach headquarters. The 24 posters on display cover everything from phosphorous removal to restoration of tree islands… and yes, a lot of research that’s way more complex than that.

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