Lets take a look at water storage types and how they may work in tandem to help reduce harmful discharges to the costal estuaries, keep Lake Okeechobee at a safe level, provide fresh water to water supply to users and the Everglades. (See: 2015 University of Florida Water Institute Study)
Storage Options identified in the LOWP* :
1. ASR Wells (Aquifer Storage and Recovery)
2. DWI Wells (Deep Well Injection)
(*LOWP- Lake Okeechobee watershed Project, a joint effort between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and SFWMD)
NORTHERN WATER STORAGE PROJECTS ARE VITAL
Too much nutrient polluted water is flowing into Lake Okeechobee. SFWMD research shows that more than 95% of the water and the nutrients originate from areas to the north of the lake. In heavy rain events, water flows into Lake Okeechobee six times faster than it can be drained via canals!
This untreated lake water is then discharged to the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries when Lake Okeechobee levels get too high. The costal estuaries require a unique balance of saltwater and fresh water. Too much or too little freshwater from the lake causes the estuary ecosystem to suffer.
Capturing water north, before it enters the lake, is paramount. If water is collected, cleaned and stored north of the lake, it can then be released into the system during dry times. Northern storage will benefit Lake Okeechobee, the costal estuaries, the Everglades, and water supply users. Water managers and scientists put together this fact sheet to stress the importance of water storage projects north of Lake Okeechobee.