Sept. 14, 2017

SFWMD Working to Lower Water Levels in Areas Most Impacted by Hurricane Irma
Temporary pump installations and pumping into impoundments among steps being taken by District to ease flooding
SFWMD crews install a 42-inch temporary pump at the Cocohatchee Weir #1 to help lower water levels in the Big Cypress Basin canals in Collier County as part of the District's Hurricane Irma response. Click on the image to view a larger version.

West Palm Beach, FL  - The South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) today continued working to lower water levels and ease flooding in communities throughout all 16 counties of South Florida impacted by Hurricane Irma.
SFWMD crews today began installing three 42-inch temporary pumps previously at the Cocohatchee Weir #1 in Collier County, one of the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Irma. The pumps will assist in lowering canal levels in the Big Cypress Basin (BCB) where canals are flowing at maximum capacity to move water away from communities and out to tide. In addition to these three pumps being installed, the District has secured two more 42-inch temporary pumps that will be installed near the G-103 structure in Polk County to help lower water levels in Lake Rosalie.

Water levels in the BCB system remain high but are receding due to the District's efforts.
In southern Miami-Dade County, another area heavily impacted by Hurricane Irma, the District has been pumping flood waters into the C-4 Detention Basin for several days. The C-4 Emergency Detention Basin in southern Miami-Dade County, built following Hurricane Irene in 1999 and an unnamed storm in 2000, is a 900-acre impoundment area that is used by the District to provide flood protection for local residents and businesses in the Sweetwater and West Miami areas. Pumping into this impoundment has concluded as canal levels in this area have now receded.

On the Treasure Coast, the District has begun pumping water into the recently-completed Ten Mile Creek Water Preserve Area in northern St. Lucie County. This will help lower water levels in the creek and help mitigate flooding in the area around Ten Mile Creek near the intersection of State Road 70 and Florida's Turnpike west of Fort Pierce.
Across the east coast, most canal levels have receded and water managers expect to be able to resume normal operations by the end of the week.
Other actions being taken by the District in response to Hurricane Irma include:
  • Continuing SFWMD's Emergency Operations Center at Level 1 Full Activation. 
  • Assisting Orlando International Airport with operations to lower its water levels.
  • Pumping water through the S-2 and S-3 structures along the southern rim of Lake Okeechobee into the lake to address flooding, which has affected families and businesses in Glades communities.
  • Deploying debris removal contractors in Miami-Dade, Broward and Collier counties to begin removing debris in canals that could slow the flow of water.
  • Coordinating with local drainage districts to address localized flooding.
  • Completing aerial and ground inspections of District structures and facilities in the impacted areas including pump stations and stormwater treatment areas to assess damage.
  • Working with the Florida Power and Light Co. to restore commercial power to all structures in the regional flood control system.
  • Keeping all District-managed boat locks  on the north shore of Lake Okeechobee and along the Kissimmee River closed to ensure boaters' safety. Operations at individual locks on the lake's north shore will resume as power is restored to each one. The District will continue to evaluate the status of all locks on the Kissimmee River to determine when they can be safely reopened. For the latest information, visit
  • Using diesel pumps and keeping all gated structures fully open to lower water levels in the South Dade Conveyance System in southern Miami-Dade County.
  • Increasing discharges from the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes into the Kissimmee River to lower water levels.
 F or more updates on SFWMD's Hurricane Irma response:
Media Contact: 
Randy Smith |    |  Cell: (561)-682-6197 | 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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