Dry weather is a good reminder why April is Water Conservation Month

From St. Johns River Water Management District

With below-average rainfall in March across the central and southern ends of the St. Johns River Water Management District, it’s a good reminder why April is Water Conservation Month in Florida. Typical for April, water levels in the aquifer are beginning to drop, and this April is forecast to have below-average rainfall and above-average temperatures.

A full report outlining March’s hydrologic conditions was presented at the District’s Governing Board meeting Tuesday, held at the Cocoa City Hall.

Highlights include:

Rainfall

  • Districtwide, March rainfall averaged 1.52 inches, which is 1.95 inches below the long-term average for the month.
  • March rainfall was below average across the District, but the greatest shortfall was in the central coastal and southern counties. Volusia, Flagler, and Indian River all received less than 1 inch of rain.
  • Alachua County received the highest rainfall, 3.2 inches, but this is still below the long-term Districtwide average of 3.47 inches.
  • Districtwide, the cumulative total for the past 12 months was 2.17 inches above the long-term average.

Groundwater

  • Upper Floridan aquifer conditions (groundwater levels) at the end of March were in the high or normal ranges across the District.
  • Groundwater levels are at the 65th percentile Districtwide. This means that since 1980, aquifer levels have been higher than they are now about 35 percent of the time.

Surface water flows

  • Surface water flow conditions were average for this time of year throughout the District other than in the Wekiva and Econlockhatchee rivers.
  • On April 1, flow in the St. Johns River’s headwaters at the Melbourne station was 57 million gallons per day (mgd), which corresponds to the 33rd percentile.
  • Flow at the Deland station was 215 mgd (63rd percentile).
  • Flow at the Satsuma station was -457 mgd (51st percentile). The reverse flow is not unusual for this time of year here. Three factors contributed to the predominantly reverse flow: the 24-hour period of April 1 fully encompassed two low tides, northerly winds on that day were strong and persistent, and low rainfall contributed to weak inflows from upstream.
  • Flow in the Econlockhatchee River near Chuluota was 30 mgd (22nd percentile).
  • Flows in the Wekiva River near Sanford were 127 mgd (19th percentile).
  • Flows in the Ocklawaha River, the largest tributary to the St. Johns River, were in the average range at 547 mgd (45th percentile).
  • Flows in the St. Marys River near Macclenny were in the average range at 149 mgd (42nd percentile).

Lake levels

  • Lake Brooklyn water levels decreased 0.2 feet to 99.2 feet.
  • Lake Weir, at 52.8 feet, decreased 0.2 feet.
  • Lake Apopka’s water level did not fluctuate significantly and matched its regulation schedule at 65.9 feet. Lake Apopka is part of a system with water control structures that are operated by the District to reduce flood impacts, and the lake level is regulated according to a specific schedule.
  • Blue Cypress Lake levels decreased 0.6 feet to 22.1 feet and remains below its regulation schedule. Blue Cypress Lake is also part of a system with water control structures that are operated by the District.

Spring flows

  • The mean monthly flow at Silver Springs increased to 636 cubic feet per second (cfs), or 411 mgd, which is in the normal range for this time of year.
  • At the Blue Spring station in Volusia County, the mean monthly flow decreased to 165 cfs, or 106 mgd, which is in the high flow range for this time of year
  • At Rock Springs, the monthly mean flow decreased 1 cfs to 57 cfs (37 mgd), which is in the normal range.
  • Mean monthly flow at Wekiwa Springs decreased 1 cfs to 69 cfs (45 mgd), also in the normal range for the time of year.

To learn more about rainfall totals and other hydrologic data collected, visit sjrwmd.com.

The St. Johns River Water Management District staff are committed to ensuring the sustainable use and protection of water resources for the benefit of the people of the District and the state of Florida. The St. Johns River Water Management District is one of five districts in Florida managing groundwater and surface water supplies in the state. The District encompasses all or part of 18 northeast and east-central Florida counties. District headquarters are in Palatka, and staff also are available to serve the public at service centers in Maitland, Jacksonville, and Palm Bay.

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