District 2 Commissioner Kristin Jacobs Newsletter
Commissioner Kristin Jacobs Update
First Quarter 2011
Water Shortage Declared in South Florida
Broward Drivers Get the Green Light
Answering President Obama's Call on Oceans
112 Million Gallons...and Counting!
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

With water levels falling all over South Florida and no significant rainfall forecast in the coming weeks, the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) has declared a water shortage across the region.

This month, South Florida received less than half of its historic rainfall average – this following the driest October-to-February period in 80 years. In response, the SFWMD has imposed two-day watering restrictions across the entire 16-county region, but residents here in Broward won't notice any difference, as the Broward County Commission passed permanent two-day watering restrictions in January 2010.

Agriculture, plant nurseries and golf courses will see a 15% reduction in irrigation, and irrigation with reclaimed water is always exempt.

Lake Okeechobee is more than two feet below the historical average for this time of year, and lake levels are expected to dramatically decline due to climate change and rising temperatures.

For more information about watering limits by area, current conditions and water-saving tips, visit www.sfwmd.gov/waterwatch.

Over the last six months, Broward County's Traffic Engineering staff has been hard at work synchronizing traffic signals throughout the county, and the first phase is now complete. So far, 480 traffic signals have been synchronized on 20 east-to-west traffic corridors from Hillsboro Boulevard to Miramar Parkway, as well as University Drive and  Federal Highway/US-1.

Drivers will notice less unnecessary stops, shorter travel times and more fuel savings. In fact, Broward's engineers estimate more than $14.5 million in fuel is saved by drivers just on the corridors completed so far, as well as 300,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases.

The next phase – synchronizing all north-south corridors – is expected to be completed by the end of this year. Want to learn more about the Green Lights Program and the synchronization schedule? Visit www.broward.org/traffic and click on Green Lights Program.

As I wrote to you earlier this month, I was humbled to be selected to serve on the White House National Ocean Council's Governance Coordinating Committee, alongside 17 other state, local and tribal government representatives from across the nation.

In early March, I attended the inaugural meeting of the Governance Coordinating Committee, where I learned more about our roles and responsibilities in implementing the President's National Ocean Policy. We met with the Chairs of the White House Council on Environmental Quality and the Office of Science and Technology Policy, as well as senior staff from the U.S. Department of Transportation and other agencies.

The most valuable lesson I took away from the briefings is just how important our four-county regional approach to water and climate policy truly is.

With competing priorities and limited resources, our South Florida counties must stick together to ensure full Federal funding and support for adapting to rising sea levels. I'm looking forward to the next GCC meeting in late June and will keep you posted – you can learn more at www.whitehouse.gov/oceans.

In 2010, the Broward NatureScape Irrigation Service reported a total water savings of 112 million gallons across the county!

These savings were generated across 302 properties around Broward County, with an average 16 percent reduction in irrigated water use at each site evaluated.

The NatureScape Irrigation Service, established in 2005, is a mobile irrigation lab designed to achieve greater community water conservation at large commercial and residential properties through better irrigation system design. Since then, the NatureScape Irrigation Service has conducted nearly 1,300 evaluations and produced 658 million gallons in water savings.

If you are a large property manager or owner and would like more information on NIS evaluations, call (954) 519-1281. If you are a residential homeowner or small business owner, visit www.broward.org/NatureScape to learn more about the NatureScape Broward program.

In April, Broward County will join the rest of the nation in observing Sexual Assault Awareness and Child Abuse Prevention Month.

Given that 1 out of 6 women will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime, I am especially pleased to announce the opening of the new Women in Distress family center in Deerfield Beach. Women in Distress is the only nationally accredited, state certified, full service domestic violence center serving Broward County, providing safe shelter, crisis intervention and community education.

Sexual violence is a terrible social issue that cuts across all boundaries and identifies perpetrators as family, friends, acquaintances and sometimes strangers.

Every two minutes someone is sexually assaulted in the United States. Only 40 percent of all sexual assaults committed are actually reported to the police, and at least 80 percent of sexual assault victims are under the age of 30.

If you or someone you know is no longer safe at home and needs refuge, call the Women in Distress 24-hour crisis line at (954) 761-1133. Additionally, the Broward County Sexual Assault Treatment Center operates a 24-hour Crisis Intake Unit, provides forensic medical assessments, counseling and other services, and can be reached at (954) 765-4159 or www.broward.org/sexualassault.

Kristin Jacobs Website
White House National Ocean Council
SFWMD Water Watch
Broward Green Lights Program
Broward NatureScape
Broward Sexual Assault Treatment Center
Women in Distress

Broward County Commissioner Kristin Jacobs