As the state of Florida battles a drought that has quickly overtaken the entire state, a new report has projected that water shortages throughout the state will become increasingly worse in the following years.
According to a recently released joint study, the state of Florida is projected to encounter severe water shortages in the years to come as the state’s population grows from 20 million to 25 million, and with it, water consumption growing from 5 billion gallons a day to 8 billion by 2070. The report, called Water 2070, was joint-authored by the University of Florida, the Florida State Department of Agriculture, and 1,000 Friends of Florida, a non-profit focused on sustainability issues throughout the state.
“If we continue as we are, we’re going to have some severe problems, some severe shortages,” said University of Florida professor Peggy Carr, a contributing researcher to the report.
Although the report labels development as the major driver of increase water consumption, the report acknowledges that this year’s drought, the worst to hit the state in decades, is quickly exacerbating the water shortage crisis.
According to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor, sixty-six percent of the state is currently in a drought, by far the highest percentage of any U.S. state. Since February, when virtually none of the state was in drought, the situation has escalated quickly. Many municipalities and industries have been left to wonder how to manage unexpected water shortages.
Unsurprisingly, the drought in Florida is due to an unnatural lack of rainfall. “Drier than normal conditions have persisted for several months” in Florida, a National Weather Service report said. Cities across the state are experiencing a severe lack of rainfall. Many cities, such as Orlando, have recorded the smallest volume of rainfall in over a century.
As was the case with wild fires in California, Florida seems to be the unoriginal sequel that follows the same plot line. With bone-dry conditions through much of the state, wildfires have consumed large swaths of forested lands. Speaking with the USA Today, S. Kinley Tuten, a spokesperson for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services commented on the rapid escalation in this year’s fire season. “Florida wildfires have burned nearly four-and-a-half times more acreage under state jurisdiction than the same time last year.”
As of now, Florida is learning to come to grips with the reality that water shortages are not just for Californians. The National Weather Service is predicting that the drought will partially be relieved by the end of summer, but that current conditions will continue, if not get worse until that point.
 Study warns of deepening Florida water shortage issues. Wink News, May 22, 2017. Web. http://www.winknews.com/2017/05/22/study-warns-of-deepening-florida-water-shortage-issues/
 Study warns of deepening Florida water shortage issues. http://www.winknews.com/2017/05/22/study-warns-of-deepening-florida-water-shortage-issues/
 Rice, Doyle. Move over, California: Florida has the USA’s worst drought. USA Today, May 5, 2017. Web.https://www.usatoday.com/story/weather/2017/05/05/move-over-california-florida-has-usas-worst-drought/101331462/