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Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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New Aquifer Alert System Unveiled as Levels Reach Record Breaking Highs: Flooding Danger

LIVE OAK, FL – With aquifer levels reaching record-breaking highs in some areas, the Suwannee River Water Management District (District) has released a new alert system to keep local governments, residents and stakeholders informed on the changing groundwater conditions.

"In some areas of the District we continue to see flooding that began in early July, which is very unusual especially since there have been no tropical systems yet," said Fay Baird, senior hydrologist for the District. “In many places the Floridan Aquifer is more saturated than it has been for numerous years.”

Groundwater levels across the southern portion of the District remain very high, which increases the potential for flooding if a major rain event were to occur.

Aquifer Alert, the new alert system, allows users to sign up for automatic notifications through text and/or email whenever new groundwater or hydrological information is posted. The District is currently updating the information twice per week.

Over half of the 88 long-term groundwater gauges across the District are showing groundwater levels above the 90th percentile – the highest on record in many areas. High groundwater levels increase the risk for flooding if a major rainfall event were to occur because the ground is already saturated.

“If a significant weather system occurs over our already-wet conditions, we will very likely see localized flooding in many areas across the District,” said Baird.

Although no major storms have been predicted for the area, residents should take action to get prepared now.

The District recommends residents take the following precautions:

• Make a plan for an alternate exit route in the event your main route is flooded.

• Identify a location to move low-lying valuables and animals to higher ground.

• Clear drainageways and ditches of fallen trees or debris.

• Become familiar with past flood water levels in your area so you have a reference point.

For more information about the District visit www.MySuwanneeRiver.com. 

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