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Florida already is in its worst dry spell since the 1950s and its annual six-month dry spell is less than two weeks away, meaning little relief can be expected before spring. With most of the state already under voluntary or mandatory water-use restrictions, the outlook of water managers, farmers, and environmentalists has turned from caution to concern.

On Thursday, the South Florida Water Management District board declared a water emergency and urged voluntary water cutbacks by almost 4 million people in Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties.

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