FLORIDA'S LOOMING WATER CRISIS05/30/07 Robert Lorei
Radioactivity: Live Call-In (Wednesday) | Listen to this entire show:
Welcome to Radioactivity. I’m Rob Lore. Thanks to Mitch Perry for filling in for me the past few days while I was away.
As wildfires continue to burn in South Georgia and north Florida, water levels in Florida's dried-out Lake Okeechobee dropped today to match a historic low set in 2001. The South Florida Water Management District expects the record low of 8.97 feet from May 24, 2001, to evaporate later in the day as the region's worst known drought continues. Experts say the drought in much of Georgia and Florida is as bad -- or worse -- than what they'd expect to see every 50 years. The average water level for this time of year should be around 13 feet in the second-largest freshwater lake in the contiguous United States. A 12,000-acre fire started Monday in the vegetation left to dry in the sun as the lake waters receded from the lake's northwest rim. The fires first started April 16 and have charred more than 567,000 acres, forcing evacuations throughout the region. Today on the program we’ll talk about drought, fires and the development and population growth that is associated with water shortages. Our guest is Cynthia Barnett- who is an associate editor at FLORIDA TREND Magazine. She’s written a new book called Mirage: Florida and the Vanishing Water of the Eastern U.S.. It reveals how the eastern half of the nation – historically so wet that early settlers predicted it would never even need irrigation – has squandered so much of its abundant freshwater that it now faces shortages and conflicts once unique to the arid Western U.S. . Publisher's Weekly just gave Mirage a starred review. The review says that Mirage "should become vital reading for citizens and policymakers as global concerns over water scarcity grow."