Aug. 3, 2018

SFWMD Answers Frequently Asked Public Questions About High Water Emergency Situation
Latest video update part of ongoing effort to keep public apprised of District's actions to mitigate high water emergency
Click on the image to watch the latest video update from SFWMD answering public questions about the current high water emergency and actions being taken to mitigate the situation.
West Palm Beach, FL - The South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) has been working around the clock to lower water levels in the water conservation areas to create capacity for sending additional Lake Okeechobee water south, all in an effort to alleviate South Florida's high water emergency.
SFWMD Chief Engineer John Mitnik and SFWMD spokesman Randy Smith gave an update on the District's operations through the agency's weekly video series, which is dedicated to informing the public on current water conditions and the agency's actions amid the high water emergency. The video update can be seen by clicking HERE or visiting the District's website dedicated to the emergency situation at
The video update answers some of the most frequently asked questions SFWMD has been receiving from the public on its social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Some of the questions Mitnik answered included, "Who is responsible for operating which parts of the regional flood control system?", "Why can't the District flood privately owned land?" and "What is the long-term strategy to improve the timing and quantity of freshwater flows to the coastal estuaries?"
"Transparency and getting the most complete and accurate information out to the public is how we do business at the District," said SFWMD Executive Director Ernie Marks. "It is how our Governing Board directs this agency and what the public expects from our professional engineers and scientists."
May's record rainfall caused Lake Okeechobee to rise more than a foot, which led the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) 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.
On June 20, Gov. Rick Scott directed the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to issue an emergency order, which revised permitting criteria, thereby, allowing the District to install several temporary pumps to move water. On July 9, Gov. Scott declared a state of emergency. This state of emergency superseded all procurement policy guidelines, thereby, allowing SFWMD to expedite the acquisition and installation of additional temporary pumps to mitigate the high water emergency.
For additional information about all the actions being taken, please visit 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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