Thursday, September 13, 2007

Wishing for a hurricane

South Florida's record-breaking drought continues as local water managers throw up their hands in frustration. As the Palm Beach Post reports, with no rain on the horizon and the level of Lake Okeechobee at an all-time low for this time of the year, a near miss by a tropical storm during what's left of the hurricane season would be a blessing. But even that brings the threat that a downpour might cause damaging flooding because pumps to handle the sudden accumulation of water in the flat near-sea-level area have lost their prime.

"This is history - we've never been here before," said district board member Malcolm "Bubba" Wade, a senior vice president of United States Sugar Corp. "This drought's already having an impact, and it's going to get much, much worse."
Options for replenishing Lake Okeechobee at this point appear to be limited to pumping water a long distance from the West Palm Beach Canal and returning polluted agricultural runoff to the lake. The latter idea has sparked heated debate, but with no rain, there's no runoff to pump.

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