WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — A water shortage warning has been issued to 8.1 million residents from Orlando to the Florida Keys.
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.
8-year-old swimmer missing off Florida beach
NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Authorities are searching for an 8-year-old boy who went missing while swimming off Florida’s Atlantic coast.
Volusia County Beach Safety Deputy Chief of Administration Liz Driskell says the Coast Guard and the sheriff’s office have joined the search Sunday morning off New Smyrna Beach.
The boy went missing Saturday. Driskell told The Daytona Beach News-Journal (http://bit.ly/2pFjU4s ) that Saturday was a busy day for lifeguards at the crowded beach. Eleven people needed rescuing from the rough surf, including one woman taken to a hospital.
Driskell said numerous jelly fish stings also were reported, including one person who needed medical treatment after a “minor reaction.”
Florida lawmakers want manatees listed as ‘endangered’
SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) — Some Florida lawmakers want manatees back on the endangered species list.
Last month, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that the large marine mammal was now considered “threatened” instead of “endangered” because its population had increased. The status upgrade didn’t change any federal for manatees.
U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Florida, wrote Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke last week, asking him to overturn that decision. According to a statement from the Sarasota Republican’s office, 10 other representatives from Florida from both parties also signed the letter.
The letter said the wildlife service’s decision was “potentially very harmful to the survival of the iconic Florida animal.” It also said state and local officials could consider weakening manatee protections such as slow-speed boating zones because of the wildlife service’s decision.
There’s an estimated population of 6,620 manatees in