Water-Related News

$600M project underway to improve water quality in the Caloosahatchee

HENDRY COUNTY – A half-billion-dollar project is underway in Southwest Florida to improve water quality and cut down on the murky water flowing into the Caloosahatchee River.

The C-43 Reservoir is just off State Road 80 in Hendry County.

Jim Bernardini is taking a break from a hard day of cycling to take in a scenic view of the Caloosahatchee River at the Franklin Locks. But it’s plagued with brown freshwater from runoff and Lake Okeechobee water release.

"I see it all the time and how it affects my back yard because I'm on the river," Bernardini said. "And it's gotten horrendous."

But a fix is on the way via large mounds of dirt piled 12 miles away and 50 feet high.It’s 20 square miles of an old citrus grove meant to hold water pumped out of the Caloosahatchee River before it reaches the Gulf of Mexico.

"We will have a dam approximately 35 feet in height that will go around the perimeter of the reservoir,” Phill Flood with the South Florida Water Management District said.

The agency is overseeing construction of the first phase of the $600 million project. By the time it is finished and the water fills the flat land, it will end up being at least 15 to 25 feet deep.