Tuesday, October 22, 2013

South Florida switches from flooding fears to water supply worries - Sun Sentinel

Turning the spigot on and turning the spigot off. That's what water management is about in south Florida. Click title for link to a Sun-Sentinel article. Here's a bit - reminds us what we've been hearing all past summer.
To protect the dike, the Army Corps of Engineers has dumped nearly 500 billion gallons of lake water into the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie rivers and out to sea.
While that draining is good for protecting the dike, the deluge of lake water had damaging environmental effects on coastal waterways — killing fishing grounds and making water in some areas unsafe for swimming.
As Lake Okeechobee water levels dropped closer to normal ranges, the Army Corps of Engineers on Monday stopped dumping lake water into the hard-hit St. Lucie River and greatly reduced discharges into the Caloosahatchee River.
"It has really devastated the [marine] habitat," Mark Perry, executive director of the Florida Oceanographic Society in Stuart, said about coastal pollution from lake discharges. "People are still wondering, 'Is it OK to go out in the boat?'"
The Lake Okeechobee draining also wasted water that could otherwise have been used in future droughts to boost South Florida water supplies.