Saturday, April 30, 2011

Residents Urged to Conserve Water as Broward Experiences Historic Drought

Broward County reminds all residents to conserve water in response to severe drought conditions and a March 21 Water Shortage Warning issued by the South Florida Water Management District.

During of February, Broward County received just 0.17 inches of rain, and from October through February Florida's Lower East Coast received less than half the average rainfall for this five-month period.

This lack of rainfall has caused surface and groundwater levels to decrease throughout the County, in the Water Conservation Areas and urban Broward County alike, with potential impacts on water supply. Lake Okeechobee, a secondary source of water for southeast Florida, is currently at an elevation of 11.61 feet, more than 2 feet below normal for this time of year.

Consequently, water from Lake Okeechobee is not available for delivery to the water conservation areas under these conditions. No significant rainfall is forecast in the coming weeks and based on La NiƱa conditions the below average rainfall is expected to persist through the dry season.

Residents are reminded that permanent water conservation measures limit landscape irrigation to two days a week. These measures are reinforced with the water shortage warning and Modified Phase II Landscape Irrigation Restrictions. Residences and businesses with an odd-numbered street address may water on Wednesdays and/or Saturdays, only before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m. Residences and businesses with an even-numbered street address may water on Thursdays and/or Sundays, again only before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m.

Other water conservation tips include:

• Limit irrigation to just 20 minutes per zone to apply one-half to three-quarters inch of water.

• Use native and drought tolerant plants when considering new landscaping.

• Wash vehicles over grassy areas to allow water to soak into the ground.

• Fix any leaks you may have in your home, including toilets and dripping faucets.

• Replace inefficient water fixtures with low-flow versions.

• Operate dishwashers and clothes washers only when full.

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