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June 26, 2014

Rainfall 25 percent higher than average in the SRWMD

Live Oak — This June marks two years of improving hydrologic conditions beginning with Tropical Storm Debby in June 2012 and helped by continuing above-average rainfall. Tropical Storm Debby broke the second of two back-to-back droughts which caused record low river and groundwater conditions.

“Between December 2013 and June 20, the District has received on average over 36 inches of rain which is about 25 percent higher than average,” said Megan Wetherington, PE, District Senior Professional Engineer. “This has been the wettest winter and spring since 1998. District-wide, May was the fifth straight month of above average rainfall this year.”

In the two years after the end of the drought, parts of Lafayette, Suwannee and Taylor counties received nearly an extra year’s rainfall.

Throughout much of the District increased rain meant increased river levels and flooding. For example, until late this month Suwannee River levels were high enough to slow or block the flow from surrounding springs. While still above normal, river levels have been steadily dropping, allowing a number of springs to return to clear conditions.

Aquifer levels have also increased with the increased rainfall, and levels were generally at their highest since 2005 when levels peaked after two hurricanes and a wet winter. Rising aquifer levels mean improved spring flow as the groundwater makes its way to the now-flowing springs.

SRWMD partners with the United States Geological Survey (USGS) for flow measurements at numerous locations. USGS reported that on May 2, the measured flow at the Alapaha Rise was 790 million gallons per day (MGD). This was the highest measurement since record-keeping began there in 1975. First magnitude Madison Blue Springs’ flow was measured at 188 MGD, the second highest flow recorded there. Poe Springs was measured at 36 MGD, about 20% higher than its long-term average. These rates of flow are good indications for the rest of the springs District-wide, where high flows are expected throughout the summer.

For additional information on hydrologic conditions contact SRWMD at 386.362.1001 or http://www.mysuwanneeriver.com/index.aspx?NID=35

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