Jan 27, 2010

Eleven days

What uses more water –

Stemming the tide or fighting the freeze?

In terms of time, both are the same – eleven days.

A second 11-day release of water from Lake Okeechobee into the Caloosahatchee (at 650 cubic feet per second) is underway. The purpose is to bring salinity in the upper estuary back to 10 parts per thousand.

Earlier this month farmers up around Tampa spent 11 straight nights spraying “down” their plants with water pumped up from the Upper Floridian Aquifer in hopes of keeping the temperatures around them “up.”

In total they pumped up close to a billion gallons per day.

As to which is more?

The 11-day release from the lake adds up to almost 6 Empire State Building sized glasses of water, or if you’re a baseball fan, the area of fair play in Fenway Park topped to the Green Monster 189 times.

The farmers only pumped 41451 Fenways in comparison.

As to which water body had more to spare?

Score this one another for Florida's biggest lake (over its biggest aquifer) ...

Eleven days of releases from Okeechobee dropped the lake less than a single inch compared to a 60 foot drop in the Upper Floridan eleven days into the freeze.

The official tally of sinkholes is now up to 85.

Corrections marked in red


Craig said...

Actually, the farmers used nearly a billion gallons A DAY, so the total for the 11-day freeze is between 10 and 11 billion gallons. --Craig Pittman, St. Petersburg Times

Robert V. Sobczak said...

Thanks Craig, I'll update my numbers accordingly. That makes the two pretty closely comparable in terms of flow.

Ciss B said...

That certainly is a LARGE amount of water to keep our future fruits and veggies safe.

Robert V. Sobczak said...

Fortunately they are not that thirsty all the time. This was sort of an extreme case scenario. As for the stemming the saltwater, that's an annual occurrence.

walk2write said...

I have a sinking feeling that you're telling us there may more saltwater intrusion as a result of the citrus spraying, and that may require another drawdown this year. (I still have a lot to learn about Florida's water management.)

Robert V. Sobczak said...

Everything is connected when it comes to the water cycle. On the other hand, water is an inherently "local" resource. Efforts to trans-connect water ways inevitably creates more troubles than it's worth just to live within our water means.