South Florida Water Management District

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.

Emma_L_M/flickr

UPDATE, Aug. 3, 4:30 p.m.: The South Florida Management District board reversed its decision against tax cuts.

The board held a special meeting on Friday, July 31, where they approved to cut a property tax rate for the fifth year in a row.

Two weeks ago, the board voted 6-2 to maintain the tax rate that would’ve prevented having to rely on the agency’s reserves.

The final vote on the proposed budget will take place in September.

Carlos Barria

South Florida is seeing little rain during its rainy season this year.

Eastern Miami-Dade and Broward counties are drying up and are now considered to be in extreme drought conditions, according to water managers.

So far this year, Miami-Dade was 7 inches below average rainfall and Broward was down more than 8 inches.

Lisann Ramos

Last November Florida voters passed an amendment that allocated billions in state funds in the course of 20 years for land conservation.

Now environmental groups are urging Florida lawmakers to buy a huge swath of land from U.S. Sugar for Everglades conservation. The plan would store and clean excess water from the lake on the purchased land that would eventually flow down to Everglades National Park.

Florida Trend

According to a panel discussion last Friday, the Florida Legislature did a fair job handling water issues this year. 

Legislators gave millions of dollars for Everglades restoration projects, drinking-water issues and lake clean-ups.

The Arthur R. Marshall Foundation for The Everglades, the League of Women Voters of Palm Beach County and Oxbridge Academy hosted the discussion.

Todd Bonlarron handles legislative affairs for Palm Beach County. He says the one thing the Legislature didn’t pay enough attention to was the more than 900 Florida springs.

WLRN's Five Most Popular Stories March 9-15

Mar 17, 2014
Kenny Malone

Venezuelan boycotters and the history of the I-95 road symbol were our top stories. Other honorable mentions include Ira Glass telling us how weird Florida is as a state, Beckham bringing soccer to Miami and -- where does our water come from? Seriously, where?

Got Water?

Mar 10, 2014
Tom Hudson

 

The good news from last summer's rains is that South Florida's water supply is running above average. But that doesn't ease the concerns of those responsible for finding, protecting, cleaning and distributing freshwater to the more than six million people from Pam Beach County through Key West.

They tell us there is no "average" year for water supply. It's either too wet or too dry. And while it's technically the dry season, there's plenty of water.

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