Water-Related News

Dry October brings some relief to Lake O and WCAs

OSCEOLA COUNTY – South Florida’s dry season started Oct. 1.

Lake Okeechobee is slowly receding, edging down below 16 feet above sea level, thanks to evapotranspiration and a reduction in flow from the north.

At the Nov. 9 meeting of the South Florida Water Management District, Chief District Engineer John Mitnik said the district received only about half of normal rainfall in October.

He said Lake Kissimmee has seen a dramatic drop due to the decrease in rainfall. As a result, SFWMD reduced the flow from the lake to the Kissimmee River from 1,400 cubic feet per second (cfs) to 1,100 cfs.

“As conditions progress, we’ll look to manage the river flows somewhere between 500 and 1200 cubic feet per second,” Mitnik said.

The reduction in flow will impact the restored portion of the river’s floodplain.

Director of Water Resources Lawrence Glenn said that at 1,400 cfs, the restored portion of the floodplain is inundated with water. With lower flows, the floodplain dries out.

Mitnik said if the El Niño forecast brings the expected increase in rainfall this winter, the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes water levels should recover.