Saturday, October 13, 2018

Concerned about water releases into estuaries from Lake Okeechobee? Ever heard of the C-43 reservoir?

The C-43 (and another project in the works called the C-44) are two more tools in the toolbox to fix a problem: Reducing or eliminating flows from Lake Okeechobee by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers west into the Caloosahatachee River and east into the St. Lucie River.

Learn more about the C-43 reservoir below, a project to the west in Hendry County. Now to a reminder. . .

For everyone who thinks that constructing a new $1.5B reservoir in Palm Beach County is a higher priority than fortifying the Herbert Hoover Dike that keeps Lake Okeechobee in check:

The nightmare scenario south of Lake Okeechobee: the Herbert Hoover Dike failing.

Few want to even think about this possibility just because it is so horrifying. Critics in northern PBC and in Martin County using that old tired mantra ‘Send Water South’ want another reservoir constructed south of the lake to store water in emergencies. This is called the “Shoulda Coulda Woulda” scenario.

But there are cities and communities south of the lake too. And any future reservoir capable of storing so much water is far off from being operational (at minimum a decade) and will cost at a minimum $1 to 1.5B — that’s ‘B’ as in billion — and that’s just an educated guess. To read about the “nightmare scenario” and more information click on this link.

What follows is a blog post from yesterday, news about another reservoir here in South Florida, a project the press and news media should be educating and informing the public about.

A project that will actually work.

How much do you know about the C-43 water storage reservoir?

And why projects like this and others will make another reservoir in Palm Beach County completely unnecessary and a waste of public money.

The C-43 is just another in a line of projects first proposed many years ago that are finally coming to fruition that will provide relief in times of a water crisis like what happened this year and in 2016 as well. Some are projects that had to be shelved after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 when all dams, reservoirs, levees and water control structures needed to be inspected, brought up to modern standards, and new and future projects facing much stricter planning, more robust and stable methods of construction.

Along with all the projects north of Lake Okeechobee to store more water, deep injection wells, the fortifying of the Herbert Hoover Dike and pledges by those in Washington, D.C. to provide the funding and reduce the constraints in the system that stop water from moving south, well, there will be no need for that massive $1.5B reservoir in Palm Beach County that will need an additional $100M+ in maintenance every year as well.

All those who support another reservoir in PBC are hoping for other reasons as well. They are hoping the federal government will help pay for it, the so-called 50/50 split. Who will pay for the maintenance every year? No one knows. 

From page 111 of the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) agenda at the monthly meeting of the Governing Board held yesterday (Oct. 11th) is this information from “Resolution No. 2018-1017”:

District [SFWMD] desires to award a construction contract for the C-43 Reservoir; an earthfill dam with total perimeter length of approximately 16.3 miles and a separator dam of 2.8 miles in length separating the reservoir into two cells. The Reservoir will encompass approximately 10,000 acres and will store 170,000 acre-feet of water when full . . . This Resolution shall take effect immediately upon adoption. PASSED and ADOPTED this 11th day of October, 2018. 

The C-43 reservoir will be located in the
“Lower West Coast
” region.

Click on image to enlarge:

Question: How many of you reading this have ever heard about the C-44 reservoir in the press and news media? But more about that at a later time.

Learn more about the C-43 Reservoir project below. Unlike a reservoir proposed for Palm Beach County that may happen in a decade or so — might solve the problems such as blue-green algae in the St. Lucie River and estuary and a project some people hope will work — the C-43 reservoir is a project actually moving forward. See the memorandum below from the SFWMD meeting yesterday.

And please take note!

The message has changed. No more “bumper sticker” solutions to serious problems. The mantra ‘Send Water South’ has been replaced by words that actually mean something:

“Send Money South!”

A message that means send the funding south from Washington, D.C., addressing the bureaucratic constraints, and complete projects and fund others in the planning phase that will successfully move more water from north of Lake Okeechobee to the south and serve all sixteen counties and the waters that will then flow into tide at Florida Bay at the southern end of Everglades National Park.

Without further ado . . . to the memorandum from last Thursday’s meeting of the SFWMD Governing Board:


To: Governing Board Members

From: John P. Mitnik, Chief Engineer [from Executive Management; for “How We’re Organized” click on this link]

Date: October 11, 2018

Subject: C-43 Reservoir Package 4 Civil Works Prequalified Short-List Approval

Agenda Item Background:

As part of CERP [Central Everglades Restoration Plan], the Caloosahatchee (C-43) West Basin Storage Reservoir, located in Hendry County, will store 170,000 acre-feet of water when full. The District issued a 2-part solicitation to identify contractors qualified to construct the dam and specific major features of work. The first part of the solicitation requested statements of qualifications and bonding capacity. The District reviewed the qualifications submitted to determine whether the Respondents are responsive and responsible by verification of references from representative projects to confirm they have the minimum qualifications and experience as requested in this Solicitation. Upon completion of the contract specifications and drawings, short-listed firms will receive a request from the District to submit a price in the second step of this two-step solicitation process.

Core Mission and Strategic Priorities:

The C-43 Reservoir Package 4 Civil Works Project supports the District’s core mission of ecosystem restoration.

Funding Source:

The project will be funded through Save Our Everglades and Land Acquisition Trust Funds and is eligible for cost crediting by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers through the Project Partnership Agreement.

End of memorandum.

To learn more about the South Florida Water Management District and the other four (4) water management districts in Florida click on this link.

And remember, the mantra “Send Water South” has been replaced by “Send Money South!” from Washington, D.C. to fund projects already in progress and other projects that are actually in the planning phase.