July 3, 2017
June Rainfall Nearly Double District-wide Average
Water Conservation Areas received more than twice their monthly average rainfall, leading SFWMD, DEP and USACE to take measures to address high water emergency
|Click on map to see larger version showing District-wide rainfall in June.
West Palm Beach, FL
- After experiencing drought-like conditions throughout the dry season, the start of the wet season in June ushered in extreme rainfall, which dropped nearly double the amount of rain normally seen in the month across South Florida. The significant rainfall caused high water emergencies in the southern and central parts of the system, particularly the water conservation areas.
"These two extremes illustrate the system's unpredictability and showcase the alertness required to take necessary actions when drought concerns turn to flooding realities," said SFWMD Governing Board Chairman Dan O'Keefe. "This is the nature of water management in South Florida and this is why we work 24/7 to protect families, businesses and the environment."
The District-wide average rainfall for June was nearly 15 inches, or about 181 percent of average. The three water conservation areas, critical links in system, which convey water south from Lake Okeechobee to Everglades National Park, received the heaviest rainfall. Water Conservation Areas 1 and 2 received 18.49 inches, or 246 percent of average. Water Conservation Area 3 received 18.74 inches, or 219 percent of average.
Most of these heavy rains fell in the first two weeks of June.
It was in Water Conservation Area 3A that the heavy rains caused the most concerns. High water levels put wildlife at risk and threatened to damage plant life critical for the Everglades ecosystem. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission closed the conservation areas to recreation and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection issued an emergency order. In response to that emergency order, the District has taken numerous steps to protect theses areas' wildlife and reduce water levels. These actions include:
- Implementing emergency deviations with the approval of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to send more water to tide using the S-197 structure in Miami-Dade County, as well as increasing pumping at the S-332D pump station and allowing the use of the S-343A and B and S-344 structures to move more water out of the conservation areas to Everglades National Park and the Big Cypress National Preserve.
- Maximizing discharges from Water Conservation Area 1 to tide through the Hillsboro Canal in Palm Beach County.
- Maximizing discharges from Water Conservation Area 2A to tide through the C-14 Canal in Broward County.
- Maximizing discharges from Water Conservation Area 2A to tide through the North New River Canal in Broward County.
- Maximizing discharges from Water Conservation Area 3A to tide through the Miami Canal in Dade County.
- Maximizing discharges through the S-333 structure at the southern end of Water Conservation Area 3A to Everglades National Park.
- Releasing water through S-334 structure to the South Dade Conveyance System where it is being sent to tide.
- Using gravity to send water that would otherwise be pumped into Water Conservation Area 3A to tide. The S-13 Pump Station is also being used to pump water during high tide when it would be impossible to use gravity.
- Moving water from the A-1 Flow Equalization Basin in Palm Beach County to Lake Okeechobee through the North New River Canal.
- Moving water from Stormwater Treatment Area 2 to Lake Okeechobee through the North New River Canal.
- Moving water from Water Conservation Area 1 in Palm Beach County to tide through the C-51 Canal.
- Moving water from Water Conservation Area 1 in Palm Beach County to Lake Okeechobee through the L-8 Canal.
- Maximizing flows out of Water Conservation Area 3A through the S-344, S-343A and 343B structures.
- Constraints removed from S-199, S-200 and S-737 structures, moving water into Everglades National Park from the C-111 Canal.
- Performing daily inspections along the stretch of the L-37 Levee, bordering Water Conservation Area 3A in Broward County between Interstate 75 and Griffin Road, to ensure its integrity.
Areas of the Everglades Agricultural Area, the Big Cypress National Preserve and the Southwest Coast that includes the Fort Myers area and the Big Cypress Basin, also received more than 200 percent of average rainfall for June.