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WEST PALM BEACH (CBSMiami) – With above-average rain predicted for winter, the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) is continuing to move water south to help achieve a desirable water level in Lake Okeechobee.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, using the available science and data provided by its staff and partners like SFWMD, is responsible for managing the Lake’s levels based on a regulation schedule.

“The goal is to favorably position Lake Okeechobee’s water level before the 2015 rainy season starts, balancing the needs of many water users while helping to protect the coastal estuaries next summer,” said Jeff Kivett, SFWMD Division Director of Operations, Engineering and Construction. “With the likelihood of increased rainfall in the next few months, our enhanced operations are essential to this process.”

The district’s region, which totals at 16 counties, averaged less than an inch of rain in December, which is one of South Florida’s drier months historically.

The SFWMD moved approximately 69.37 billion gallons of water, the same volume as 161,269 football fields with one foot of water, from the Lake in November and December.

In accordance with the regulation schedule, and at the request of the Corps, the SFWMD is able to move water south out of the lake through four large water control structures into five major canals.

Water moves from these canals to various destinations: the Everglades Agricultural Area for water supply; to tide for flood control; and through water-cleaning Stormwater Treatment Areas (STAs) to the Everglades Water Conservation Areas for storage.

Direct rainfall and local storm water runoff also add to these volumes of water.

The District provides an operational “water tracker” map to tell the story of how much water SFWMD moves from Lake Okeechobee and where it goes. The map is updated weekly. Click here for more information.

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