Last January, the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) entered 2009 during the driest six-month period in South Florida’s history. The month of May set a rainfall record followed by a near-record dry October. The new year begins with caution as the height of the dry season looms once again.

Lake Okeechobee began the year close to 14 feet, dipped to about 11 feet around mid-May and rebounded back to approximately 14.5 feet in mid-September. The lake level on December 31 was 13.58 feet. This range provides near ideal conditions at the lake.

Town of Palm Beach
While the water supply has been good at Lake Okeechobee and the western part of the county, the eastern part of Palm Beach County ended up with only 85% of the average annual rainfall, down 9.1” for the year.  When rain builds up from the west during the summer months, many times the ocean breezes stop the rain from making it all the way to the Town.

The Palm Beach Civic Association has started a Smart Irrigation program in Town to help conserve water.  Go to our website to learn more about how you can get plenty of water for your landscaping but still save money and conserve this precious resource.

From the SFWMD Website:

Q: What is the landscape watering schedule in Broward, Collier, Glades, Hendry, Lee, Martin, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Okeechobee, Osceola, Palm Beachand St. Lucie counties, and in the Reedy Creek Improvement District within Orange County?
A: Lawn irrigation for all property sizes is allowedTWO days a weekon this schedule:

Residents and businesses withODD numbered street addresses(ending in 1, 3, 5, 7, 9) - may water lawns and landscapes onWEDNESDAYSand SATURDAYSfrom12 a.m. to 10 a.m.and/or from4 p.m. to 11:59 p.m.

Residents and businesses with an withEVEN numbered street addresses(ending in 0, 2, 4, 6, 8*),no street addressor irrigateboth even and odd addresswithin the same zones, including multi-family units and homeowner associations, may water lawns and landscapes onTHURSDAYS and SUNDAYS from12 a.m. to 10 a.m.and/or from4 p.m. to 11:59 p.m.

For themost efficientuse of water, residents shouldAVOIDirrigating during both time periodson the same day.

From the District:
“Year in and year out, the District must make informed decisions that balance flood control, environmental protection and water supply amid weather conditions that quickly turn from deluge to drought,” said SFWMD Governing Board Chairman Eric Buermann. “Water conservation remains one constant amid these challenges, and we must continue to advance practices that save water to protect our resources in 2010 and beyond.”

“Our great challenge with this weather variability is to provide enough water to support 7.5 million residents and the businesses that sustain our economy while also protecting the health of South Florida’s ecosystems,” Buermann said. “Roller-coaster conditions were a driving force behind the Governing Board’s adoption of year-round water conservation measures that place permanent limits on landscape irrigation. The new rule, and the conservation ethic it instills, is just one component of a comprehensive water conservation program necessary to sustain South Florida into the future.”

The SFWMD continues to closely monitor water levels and is urging residents and businesses to conserve water and follow landscape irrigation restrictions in effect. More information about irrigation restrictions by area is available on the District’s water restrictions Web site.

SFWMD Water Restrictions Website