Withlacoochee River near Jumper Creek (November 2020)

With all the rainfall and high water,
We wanted you to have a quick update on the
Withlacoochee River Watershed!!

2021 Year

Rainfall 

  • Rainfall is the reason water levels rise and fall; and this summer has been one of the wettest in recent years.

  • From June 1st through August 15th, our region has already exceeded the wet season (June – Sept) average, and we still have 6 weeks to go.

  • Average summer rainfall is 7-8 inches a month, but this year we’ve received more than 10 inches on average for each of the past 3 months.

  • Most of this rainfall has occurred along the downstream half of the Withlacoochee River.

  • In fact, some areas have exceeded 15 inches of rain already this month and August is only halfway over.

rainfall keeps the water level up

Here’s a quick run-down of the different regions of the Withlacoochee River Watershed (see map below):

Withlacoochee River MAp

Little Withlacoochee River

  • After experiencing flood conditions in early July, water levels along the Little Withlacoochee River have receded but remain high.

  • This major tributary of the Withlacoochee River starts on the north side of the Green Swamp and additional rainfall there will increase river levels again this summer.

Lake Rousseau/Inglis Dam

  • The Inglis Main Dam, which was opened in early July to send excess water out of Lake Rousseau, remains open.

  • Water levels on the west end of Lake Rousseau remain about 4-6 inches lower than normal, due to high water conditions upstream near Dunnellon.

  • The Inglis Dam has no effect on lowering water levels farther upriver near SR 200, where the river remains in minor flood stage for now.

Tsala Apopka Chain-of-Lakes

  • All three pools of the Tsala Apopka Lake Chain are still very high, due to continuous rainfall this summer.

  • The water control structures remain open, moving water out of the lakes to help get them back down to their normal high levels.

  • Many low-lying areas that are not directly connected to the lake chain, have also filled up from above average rainfall.

  • This includes Arrowhead Estates which is currently experiencing significant flooding in many isolated low areas.

Lake Panasoffkee

  • Lake Panasoffkee had been slowly dropping over the past several days, until additional rainfall on Saturday increased lake levels again.

  • The creeks which drain lands from the east are flowing very strong into the lake right now.

  • Outflows from Lake Panasoffkee to the Withlacoochee River are higher than we’ve seen in several years.

  • The Wysong Structure, which was fully lowered more than 5 weeks ago, remains lowered.

Withlacoochee River

  • The upper (upstream) half of the Withlacoochee River (from the Green Swamp through Hernando County) is flowing strong but remains well below flood stage.

  • This is because the Green Swamp has not received as much rainfall as other downstream portions of the Withlacoochee River.

  • The lower (downstream) half of the Withlacoochee River, from Hwy 48 through Lake Rousseau has received much more rain.

  • As a result, portions of the river in this area are very high. For example, the Withlacoochee River at SR 200 is currently above minor flood stage.

  • From the Green Swamp downstream past SR 200, there are no structures that can be opened to help lower river levels.

  • River conditions are naturally high right now, due to above average rainfall and are expected to remain high throughout the remainder of our wet season.