By Lazaro Aleman
Special from ECB Publishing, Inc.
Typically the driest month of the year, November didn’t disappoint this year, with an average of 1.57 inches of rain falling across the district during the month.
The 1.57 inches represents 67 percent of the long-term average for the month, which is 2.34 inches, according to the latest hydrologic condition report issued by the Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD).
“Localized areas in Taylor and Lafayette counties saw as much as four inches, while parts of Madison and Jefferson received less than half of an inch,” the report states. “A narrow band of up to five inches fell in the southern part of the Suwannee basin in Georgia, but most of the basin received less than normal rainfall.”
Meanwhile, the district’s average 12-month deficit dropped slightly, from 8.9 inches in October to 8.4 inches in November, according to the SRWMD.
The report shows Jefferson County received 0.56 inches of rainfall in November, compared with the November average of 3.44 inches. The county received 6.66 inches of rainfall during the last three months and 40.86 inches during the last 12 months.
Madison County, meanwhile, received 1.23 inches in November, compared with the November average of 3.12 inches. Madison County received 8.67 inches during the last three months and 45.91 inches during the last 12 months.
River flows remained extremely low across the district during November, with a few rivers setting new records for low daily flows and the Aucilla River ceasing to flow at the Lamont gauge.
Lake levels also remained generally below their long-term average levels, with the exception of one lake in Bradford County. Sneads Smokehouse Lake in Jefferson County was reported at its lowest recorded level for the fourth consecutive month.
As for groundwater levels, record and all-time lows were recorded at various of the district’s monitored wells.
“Average conditions across the district, compared to both historic November data and all data, fell to the 5th percentile, making November the ninth consecutive month with conditions below the 25th percentile (based on records beginning no earlier than 1978),” the SRWMD report states.
The U.S. Geological Survey categorizes all river basins in the district as being under severe drought.
The SRWMD continues urging voluntary reduction of water consumption. It reminds residents that landscape irrigation is limited to one day per week through March, “based on a water conservation rule that applies to residential landscaping, public or commercial recreation areas, and public and commercial businesses that aren’t regulated by a district-issue permit.”
The district compiles the hydrologic conditions report using water resource data collected from radar-derived rainfall estimates, groundwater and surface water levels, and river flows, among other variables.
The district encompasses all or parts of 15 counties in north-central Florida, including Madison County and the eastern half of Jefferson County.