Jan 25, 2018

Lake Okeechobee Reservoir Design Choices Released

The South Florida reservoir aims to protect the Everglades and Florida Bay from Lake Okeechobee discharges

Lake Okeechobee reservoir designs released

The South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) released five design choices for a water reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee, Fla. The cost of the designs, ranging from $1.34 billion to $1.74 billion, will be split between state and federal entities. The SFWMD’s reservoir project aims to create more water storage, reduce Lake Okeechobee discharges into the St. Lucie Estuary, and provide more clean water to the Everglades National Park and Florida Bay.

SFWMD reported favors two design choices: one design for a reservoir 10,100 acres long and 23 ft deet, and another design 19,700 acres long and 18 ft deep. Officials and environmentalists alike worry the project could take seven to nine years to complete, as the timeline is partially dependent on federal collaboration with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The Everglades Coalition, a group of 62 environmental organizations, sent a letter to Gov. Rick Scott arguing the reservoir plans were not large enough to protect the Everglades and Florida Bay. The district is working to buy out land from local farmers surrounding the area as they hope to expand the scope of the project.