Water shortage warning for 8 million people from Orlando to the Keys

Posted at 7:35 PM, Apr 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-17 12:31:58-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — A water shortage warning has been issued to 8.1 million residents from Orlando to the Florida Keys.

RELATED: Drought concerns in Loxahatchee GrovesSevere drought conditions jump 20 percent in 1 week


South Florida Water Management District Board Chairman Dan O'Keefe said Thursday that residents' voluntary efforts will help the water supply last through the region's dry season. If those efforts prove insufficient, mandatory water restrictions may be considered.

Drought conditions have prompted the district to prohibit fires on its lands and prepare to close navigation locks on Lake Okeechobee's north shore.

Officials said rainfall across the district's 16 counties since Nov. 1 has been 6.75 inches below average. Water levels in Lake Okeechobee have dropped to 12.04 feet.

Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department Director Lester Sola released a statement Thursday reminding residents about year-round, twice-weekly watering restrictions. Sola said individuals in Miami-Dade each use roughly 134 gallons of water daily.