Agencies issue low water, water shortage alerts
One local and one regional organization recently issued low water and water shortage alerts.
The Southwest Florida Water Management District has declared a Phase I Water Shortage effective March 10 for portions of Lake, Marion and Sumter counties. Due to an interagency agreement with the St. Johns River Water Management District, the order in Marion County would be limited to the city of Dunnellon and the area encompassed by The Villages.
Marion County Parks and Recreation has issued a notice advising boaters to use caution when launching and retrieving vessels due to low water conditions at some lakes and rivers in the county.
In making its announcement, the water district noted that it monitors regional drought indicators and said in the news release that current groundwater levels in Lake County are extremely abnormal and levels in Marion and Sumter counties are classified as severely abnormal. In addition, short- and long-term flows of the Withlacoochee River and 12-month and 24-month rainfall levels in all three counties are severely abnormal.
According to the district, a Phase I water shortage order does not change allowable watering schedules from the current year-round conservation measures. The primary purpose for a Phase I water shortage is to alert the public in a specified area that additional watering restrictions could be forthcoming. The order also requires local utilities to review and implement procedures for enforcing year-round water conservation measures and water shortage restrictions, including reporting enforcement activity to the district.