Lake Okeechobee drain tops 10 billion gallons a day

Miami /
Feb.February 06, 2016 12:15 PM

After the rainiest January in more than 80 years, the Army Corps of Engineers is releasing more than 10 billion gallons of water a day from Lake Okeechobee to reduce pressure on a dike that protects South Florida from flooding.

The lake level increased in January by 1.5 feet above sea level and hit 16.25 feet last week.

That is well above the range of 12.5 feet to 15.5 feet that the Corps of Engineers tries to maintain to hold down pressure on the dike.

The dike is prone to erosion and ranks nationwide among dikes most vulnerable to failure.

Rainfall across all parts of South Florida since November has averaged 16.22 inches, about 10 inches above normal.

The Corps of Engineers last week increased its lake-draining volume to the maximum levels: 4.9 billion gallons a day into the St. Lucie River to the east, and 6 billion gallons a day into the Caloosahatchee River to the west.

Draining Lake Okeechobee can hurt lakeside tourism and damage the environment. Large lake discharges into salty estuaries can damage coastal fishing areas and spawn algae blooms that make swimming in coastal water hazardous.

But “right now, our main priority is public safety” from potential flooding, Jim Jeffords, chief of Army Corps of Engineers operations in Florida, told the Sun-Sentinel. [Sun-Sentinel] — Mike Seemuth


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
Brightline explores possible station sites in 4 Treasure Coast cities

Brightline explores possible station sites in 4 Treasure Coast cities

Brightline explores possible station sites in 4 Treasure Coast cities
Recurring algae bloom in Lake Okeechobee may again send green slime to both coasts

Recurring algae bloom in Lake Okeechobee may again send green slime to both coasts

Recurring algae bloom in Lake Okeechobee may again send green slime to both coasts
Treasure Coast loses another bid to stop Brightline extension to Orlando

Treasure Coast loses another bid to stop Brightline extension to Orlando

Treasure Coast loses another bid to stop Brightline extension to Orlando
Inspections of dike along Lake Okeechobee intensify

Inspections of dike along Lake Okeechobee intensify

Inspections of dike along Lake Okeechobee intensify
Seasonal algae outbreaks defy easy solutions

Seasonal algae outbreaks defy easy solutions

Seasonal algae outbreaks defy easy solutions
Vestiges of housing bust dot Treasure Coast

Vestiges of housing bust dot Treasure Coast

Vestiges of housing bust dot Treasure Coast
More development to follow land-use change in Palm Beach?

More development to follow land-use change in Palm Beach?

More development to follow land-use change in Palm Beach?
Placeholder image

South Florida disaster brims in Lake Okeechobee

South Florida disaster brims in Lake Okeechobee
arrow_forward_ios

The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

Loading...