Water-Related News

SFWMD unveils optimized EAA storage reservoir plan

Alternative plan reduces harmful discharges to the northern estuaries, delivers CERP goal for clean water to the Everglades

WEST PALM BEACH – The South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) at its Governing Board meeting today unveiled a cost-effective alternative that optimizes the benefits of the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) Storage Reservoir. SFWMD's team of modelers, professional engineers, scientists, planners and water managers worked to optimize the two best buy alternatives presented to the SFWMD Governing Board, Florida House Natural Resources and Public Lands Subcommittee and Florida Senate Appropriations Committee in January.

Optimized Alternative C240A, unveiled to the public at SFWMD's Governing Board meeting in Orlando, borrows aspects of the previous five alternatives and combines them into a project that will meet one of the goals of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) by sending an annual average of approximately 300,000 more acre-feet of clean water south to the Everglades. The District is committed to delivering the environmental benefits of this project. The additional flows to the Everglades will be protected by rule or reservation and achieve state water quality standards to comply with state and federal laws. The project will also reduce the number of discharge events from Lake Okeechobee to the northern estuaries, when used in conjunction with authorized projects, by 63 percent.

Alternative C240A would meet state water quality standards by utilizing a new 6,500-acre Stormwater Treatment Area (STA) in combination with existing STAs and Flow Equalization Basins (FEBs), such as the A-1 FEB. The new reservoir would store 240,000 acre-feet of water on the 10,100-acre site comprised of the District-owned A-2 parcel and lands to the west as identified in Senate Bill 10. C240A would work in conjunction with Gov. Rick Scott's Restoration Strategies for a total of 350,000 acre-feet of above-ground storage south of Lake Okeechobee.

This optimized alternative would cost approximately $1.34 billion to build in addition to the costs already included in the congressionally authorized Central Everglades Planning Project (CEPP).

For modeling data and more information on the previously held meetings, including agendas and presentations, visit www.sfwmd.gov/eaareservoir.