PALATKA, Fla., March 14, 2017 -- The St. Johns River Water Management District Governing Board approved a Water Shortage Warning Order as hydrologic trends reflect below-average rainfall across parts of the district. This comes after several months of proactive messaging by the district to keep the public well-informed about the potential for prolonged drought. The order further aligns water management districts, which each continue to monitor weather conditions to best inform decisions on water management across the state.
"The district regularly pursues water conservation as a preventive tool," said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle. "This order is necessary during periods of low rainfall to help raise awareness that we need to not only value water but also help make our communities and environment more resilient by engaging in water conservation and protecting our water supply."
The objective of a Water Shortage Warning Order is to reduce water use and ensure enough water is available to meet demand. Conditions have not yet reached a point where there is an expectation of insufficient water to meet anticipated demand and protect water resources; however, now is the time to increase awareness in anticipation of potential prolonged drought. Through an interagency agreement with Southwest Florida Water Management District, the order will also promote compliance and support uniform water use restrictions across districts.
To date, rainfall during 2017 has been below average with future predictions for similar rainfall trends. Current conditions warrant heightened water conservation awareness in those portions of Nassau, Flagler, Baker, Clay, Putnam, Marion and Lake counties located within the district.
A hydrological report outlining rainfall totals was presented at the March Governing Board meeting. Examples of rainfall totals and trends include:
- Over the past 12 months, rainfall remained below average, with a districtwide deficit of 9.1 inches.
- Baker, Flagler, Nassau, Marion, Putnam, and Alachua counties all have 12-month deficits greater than 10 inches.
- In February, Duval, Osceola and Indian River counties all experienced rainfall that was 1.3 inches below average.
The district is dedicated to grassroots education and outreach programs that share with the public the importance of ongoing water conservation and stresses water conservation through the permitting process.
County-by-county precipitation reports and other data is available online at