Water-Related News

Do Lake County's shrinking lakes portend Florida's future?

By Kevin Spear

The unfunny joke heard around south Lake County's shriveled lakes is that the only things wet there are the tears of real-estate sellers because waterfronts look like the weedy edge of wasteland.

What's been happening to lakes near Clermont has been blamed on drought, waste, stealing and incompetence. But the drama 20 miles west of Orlando also may be the unfolding of a water future for much of the state, one that runs head-on into the subject of weather turmoil.

The average amount of rain each year in Florida is more than 4 feet. But during the past decade, Lake County has fallen behind by about 5 feet. The statewide amount also has been significantly less than normal since the mid-2000s.

Asked whether a changing climate is savaging south Lake's treasures, Lake County Water Authority's director shrugged.

"This could be the new normal," said Mike Perry, armed with charts showing how the area has been robbed of rain.