Sept. 28, 2018

SFWMD Accelerates Lakeside Ranch STA Operations
to Help Mitigate High Water Emergency Situation
Latest video update highlights District's ongoing efforts to lower water levels caused by record rainfall

Operations Update: Managing High Water, Sept. 28, 2018
Click on the image to watch SFWMD's weekly video update on actions being taken to mitigate the ongoing high water emergency situation.

West Palm Beach, FL - The South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) has been working around the clock for months to lower water levels in the water conservation areas and create capacity for sending additional Lake Okeechobee water south, all in an effort to alleviate South Florida's high water emergency caused by record May rainfall and other recent storms.
As those efforts continue, SFWMD Chief Engineer John Mitnik gave a weekly video update about the latest feature being utilized by SFWMD to combat high water. By accelerating the operations of the recently completed Lakeside Ranch Stormwater Treatment Area (STA), water managers are taking water directly from Lake Okeechobee to reduce the need for estuary releases. Additionally, the STA is capturing local basin runoff that would have made its way into the lake. The update can be seen by clicking HERE or visiting the District's website dedicated to the emergency situation at
In order to move water from Lake Okeechobee into the STA, SFWMD is using temporary pumps. As part of the filling process, approximately 2,600 acre-feet, or about 840 million gallons of water, will be pumped from Lake Okeechobee and the local basins into the STA. This will aid in relief to coastal estuaries and improve water quality in the lake.
The video explains how SFWMD has substantially completed both phases of the 2,700-acre STA adjacent to the lake. The STA will now be filled with water for operational testing and to help grow the plants that will clean nutrients from local runoff in the Taylor Creek and Nubbins Slough basins. These basins, flowing into Lake Okeechobee, rank among the highest nutrient contributions to the lake each year.
Record rainfall in May caused Lake Okeechobee to rise more than a foot, which led the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to begin releases from the lake on June 1 to the northern estuaries. At the same time, this record rainfall inundated the water conservation areas, causing them to rise considerably above their regulation schedules. To combat this, SFWMD has been taking every action within its authority to lower water levels, including storing water on public and private lands. Additionally, every available structure is being utilized and temporary pumps have been installed to move additional water.

As more measures are implemented, details will be available on the Managing High Water website.
Online channels to learn more about efforts to lower water levels
Media Contact: 
Randy Smith  |    |  Office: 561-682-2800  |  Cell: 561-389-3386
The South Florida Water Management District is a regional governmental agency that manages the water resources in the southern part of the state. It is the oldest and largest of the state's five water management districts. Our mission is to protect South Florida's water resources by balancing and improving flood control, water supply, water quality and natural systems.

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