AG OPERATIONS IN EAA MUST CUT WATER CONSUMPTION BY 45 PERCENT
- In response to one of the severest droughts on record in South Florida, the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) has toughened water restrictions for homeowners and businesses, requiring agriculture operations in the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) to reduce water use by 45 percent. Other ag users in the district’s Lake Okeechobee Service area must cut consumption by 30 percent. Restrictions will remain until the drought eases, SFWMD officials said. Residents must cut lawn irrigation to twice a week.
- The Everglades Agriculture Area is under a Phase 3 – or extreme – water shortage, with Lake Okeechobee five feet lower than normal for April. The lake level has dropped so far – to just over 10 feet – that gravity is no longer directing flow from the lake. SFWMD announced April 13 that it is activating two pumps installed in 2001 so that the town of Pahokee can get enough water for drinking and irrigation.
- Local law enforcement agencies will enforce the residential watering restrictions; the water district will continue to enforce restrictions on water use by agricultural operations. SFWMD also is considering making restrictions on lawn irrigation permanent.
- For detailed regional information, refer to www.sfwmd.gov. FFVA Producer Members who suffer damage caused by the restrictions are asked to contact Alan Peirce at (850) 521-0455. He will pass on all information/data to SFWMD to help the district make further decisions that are as fair as possible to those affected.
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