winter-haven-w help-circle
WH paddle boarding couple


2019 Hydrology Report

Posted January 7th, 2020

December 2019 Hydrology Report

The data displayed in these graphs is referenced in the accompanying report below. Users have the ability to adjust the date and waterbody selections to display specific data.


The gross rainfall total for the month of December averaged 5.57 inches across the Winter Haven area. The average monthly total for December is 2.3 inches. The aggregated annual total rainfall for the Winter Haven area is 55.01 inches, which is well over the annual average of 51.62 inches. Subtracting the total monthly loss of water due to evaporation/transpiration (ET), the total net rainfall for December was 1.82 inches. So in summary, the City received a net total of +11.78 inches of rainfall in 2019. Unsurprisingly, the unseasonably high amount of rainfall during the last 3 months has had some impacts to lake and aquifer levels.

Surface Level

Depending on the lake or group of lakes in question, surface levels vary. This is mainly due to differences in rainfall across the City or because of the unique groundwater interactions each lake possesses. Considering the spatial extent of the South Chain of Lakes within the City of Winter Haven, this connected group of waterbodies can be used as a benchmark for the lakes in the area. As of December 2019, the Southern Chain surface level sits at a monthly average of 131.85 feet above sea level. This is more than a foot higher than the long-term average of 130.6 feet and is even greater than the 75th percentile at 131.7 feet. Residents should expect surface levels in most lakes to slowly decline during the remainder of the Florida dry season–which extends to May. Luckily, the current levels are ideal should the City enter into drought conditions.


The Upper Floridan Aquifer (UFA) level is an important metric used to assess the impacts of changes in rainfall and lake levels on the groundwater supply. This level is measured as the elevation of the upper surface of the aquifer above sea level. While the depth of the UFA below the ground surface varies across the Winter Haven area, a representative level is measured via a monitoring station at the center of downtown. As of December 2019, the monthly average UFA level sits at 118.52 feet above sea level. Due to above-average rainfall since October, the UFA has increased by over a foot. Currently, the UFA sits well above the longterm average of 115.8 feet. Similarly to the South Chain of Lakes levels, the current UFA level is ideal in the event the City receives very little rainfall over the remainder of the Florida dry season.