July 12, 2018

 SFWMD Taking Actions to Lower Water Levels Utilizing Governor's Declaration of State of Emergency
View latest video update on District's actions to manage high water levels and send water south after record May rainfall
Click on the image to watch the latest video update from SFWMD Hydrology and Hydraulics Bureau Chief Akin Owosina given to SFWMD's Governing Board today about the latest water conditions and actions being taken to lower water levels.

West Palm Beach, FL - The South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) this week is taking additional actions to lower water levels in the conservation areas to create capacity for sending more Lake Okeechobee water south by utilizing Gov. Rick Scott's state of emergency declaration.

The declaration of state of emergency, which follows an emergency order that Gov. Scott directed the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to issue on June 20, will allow SFWMD to expedite the installation of additional temporary pumps. These pumps will increase the capacity of water that can be moved out of Water Conservation Area 3B into Shark River Slough and into Everglades National Park by up to 200 cubic feet per second (cfs). Additionally, numerous other permanent and temporary pumps are currently being operated by the District 24 hours a day to move more water out of the conservation areas.

The record rainfall in May 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 above their regulation schedules. To combat this,  SFWMD is taking every action within its authority to lower water levels, including storing water on public and private lands, utilizing every available structure and installing temporary pumps to move additional water.

The District is also utilizing its communications channels to keep the public apprised of all these actions. Today's video update, presented by SFWMD Hydrology and Hydraulics Bureau Chief Akin Owosina at the Governing Board's monthly business meeting, can be seen by clicking HERE or visiting the SFWMD website dedicated to the high water emergency situation, www.sfwmd.gov/managinghighwater.

This website contains the latest operation information, as well as all video updates, where SFWMD staff explains current water conditions as well as the actions taken to lower lake levels and move more water south through the conservation areas.
In addition to the temporary pumps, SFWMD is taking several other actions that include:
  • Utilizing every available structure to send the maximum amount of water possible to tide.
  • Utilizing completed components of Gov. Scott's Restoration Strategies Plan, such as the A-1 and L-8 Flow Equalization Basins, to store water.
  • Storing water on private and publicly owned lands through the Dispersed Water Management program.
  • Routing local basin water to tide through the C-51 Canal to minimize the amount of water that gravity flows into Lake Okeechobee through the L-8 Canal.
  • Holding Lake Kissimmee slightly above its normal regulation schedule to decrease the amount of water that flows into Lake Okeechobee from the north.
  • Raising water levels in the L-29 Canal in Miami-Dade County from 7.5 to 8 feet after receiving authorization from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. This will significantly increase the amount of water that can be moved out of the conservation areas to the south.
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  |   rrsmith@sfwmd.gov    |  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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