Florida DEP funding to expand water storage capacity in Northern Everglades
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection recently announced a $3-million grant award for the South Florida Water Management District to support its thriving Dispersed Water Management Program.
NORTHERN EVERGLADES, FL, Dec. 4, 2014 -- The Florida Department of Environmental Protection recently announced a $3-million grant award for the South Florida Water Management District to support its thriving Dispersed Water Management Program (DWMP).
The program, which creates additional water storage on private and public lands, provides another tool to reduce the amount of water flowing into Lake Okeechobee and the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuaries during high-water conditions. The funds will cover service payments and operations and maintenance costs for the program.
Every summer, the South Florida region is at risk of experiencing high-water conditions due to seasonal spikes in rainfall. Initiated nearly 10 years ago, the DWMP aims to mitigate some of that risk by identifying, acquiring and using public and private lands to store excess surface water.
The program encompasses a coalition of public agencies, environmental organizations, ranchers, and researchers united in growing the region's storage capacity. Further, it encourages private property owners to retain water on their land rather than drain it, accept and detain regional runoff for storage, or employ some combination of both.
The program has stored an average annual volume of 86,257 acre-feet of water, or approximately 43,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools, which is in addition to the regional storage and treatment capacity provided by stormwater treatment areas, reservoirs and other regional facilities.
Of the 43 identified DWMP sites, 29 are operational, with the remaining sites being planned or under construction by the South Florida Water Management District. At the close of the 2014 rainy season, 28 of the 29 sites were full. The total possible retention capacity for all 43 sites is 93,372 acre-feet or approximately 29 billion gallons of water.