In case you have not seen it, managers at the South Florida Water Management District have created a wonderful new website entitled “Moving Water South.”
This website shows the incredible “work-around” the District performs to send water through the Everglades Agricultural Area, (EAA), to get water to flow south. The EAA, of course, is one of the nation’s richest agricultural areas and completely blocks the flow of water from Lake Okeechobee to the Everglades. Since the 1920s, the EAA has been the primary reason for the Army Corp of Engineers building canals C-43 and C-44 for the “overflow” waters of Lake Okeechobee. These excess waters are then dumped into our precious estuaries of the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon and Caloosahatchee. This destroys them.
If you go to the link above and view the website you will see a combination of ten different structures, (S); stormwater treatment areas, (STA); and water conservation areas (WC) that either basically send, clean, or hold water in its journey south.
They are as follows: Lake Okeechobee; S-354; S-351; S-352; C10A; WC1; WC2; WC3; STA3/4; and STA 2.
I really think this is a great site and as a former 8th and 9th grade teacher, I appreciate that it is something that can be visually shared with young people so that they can easily understand why our estuaries are periodically destroyed; the value, but difficulty of the EAA’s location; and why our Everglades are being starved of the amount of water they originally received.
My greatest hope with tools like this is that future generations will be able to figure out a way for us all “to have our cake and eat it too–” allowing enough water to go south so as not to destroy our estuaries, and allow the state’s long time best friend, historic “Ag” to do what it does, make money and feed people….
I definitiely commend the SFWMD for the transparency of the web-site; let’s take a look at what they are reporting today.
From Nov. 1, 2013, through Oct. 31, 2014, South Florida Water Management District operations moved approximately 339 billion gallons of water from Lake Okeechobee – that’s the same as 782,367 football fields filled with 1 foot of water or about 2.2 feet of water depth of Lake Okeechobee.
Holy Toledo! 339 billion gallons of water. Hmmm? How much is that?
After the 2013 Lost Summer and looking at the ACOE’s website for so long, I understand acre feet better….so how do we convert gallons to acre feet? (An acre foot is one foot of water standing on one acre of land…)
Thankfully, I have friends who can help me answer this question.
My friend, Dr Goforth, (garygoforth.net), a former long time employee of the SFWMD and designer of the Storm Water Treatment Areas told me:
“To convert from gallons to acre feet, divide by 325,872.”
I can’t get those numbers on my calculator, but it must be more than 273,188 acre feet as I have this number from a prior post on the subject for water south May -October 2014 as reported by Dr Goforth…. 🙂 (http://jacquithurlowlippisch.com/2014/11/10/i-can-see-the-light-moving-water-south-slrirl/)
All joking aside, thank you SFWMD for the website. By the way, it is important to recognize that the ACOE and SFWMD have “moved more water south” in 2014 than at least since 1995. Bravo!
In conclusion, in conferring with Dr Goforth, he thought it was a great site too, but mentioned it would be nice if the site explained how much water “made it to Everglades,” as this is a tremendous part of the overall goal.
Below is Dr Goforth’s chart showing water to Everglades among other complicated transactions. Like I said, thank God there are people who can read this stuff and do the numbers; all I really know is that sometimes there is an ocean of water coming into our estuaries and it needs to go somewhere else!
*Thank you to Ted Guy for calling the Move Water South site to my attention!
12-20-14: After completing the above post, I am adding the chart below of Dr Goforth’s showing how much water by year comparatively moved south into the STAs from 1995 to 2014. I think it is a helpful visual and now I can reference this photo in Comments of this blog post.
I am also adding this Option Lands Map as it too is referred to in the comments on this blog post as a way to send even more water south and create a type of flow way in the future….