What South Florida is Doing to Ease Its High Water Woes

What South Florida is Doing to Ease Its High Water Woes

South Florida Water Management District's Merritt Pump Station

South Florida Water Management District officials have been working non-stop since May to effectively and efficiently move massive amounts of the precious resource. Photo courtesy of SFWMD

From terrible red tides, to awful algal blooms, South Florida’s water woes continue to make headlines. The pressure is certainly on for water managers. And despite slightly below average rainfall for the region in July, the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) has been working 24/7 to lower water levels in conservation areas to create capacity for sending additional Lake Okeechobee water south. The concerted efforts are all to help alleviate South Florida’s high-water emergency. The good news is that progress is being made.

Since record rainfall in May, SFWMD has been playing catch-up as the deluge 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, historic precipitation flooded the water conservation areas, causing them to rise considerably above their regulation schedules.

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SFWMD Chief Engineer John Mitnik provided the latest update on the District’s operations through the agency’s new weekly video series.

The wet season runs traditionally from May 15 to Oct. 15. The Atlantic hurricane season, which has been relatively quiet so far, continues through the end of November.