I think one of the most difficult parts of the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon/Lake Okeechobee problem is to understand how much Lake Okeechobee water we are talking about….
I recently asked Deb Drum of Martin County, Dr Gary Goforth and my technology-wiz brother, Todd, the following question:
“Do you know how many acre feet of water came just from S-308, (Lake Okeechobee), into the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon? ”
I got great information from all. Deb Drum from Martin County summarized most simply:
“From January – October 2016, SLE has received about 630,000 acre feet of water (1 foot of water over 630,000 acres)…”
In an ideal world the St Lucie River would receive NO discharges from Lake Okeechobee as there was no natural connection to the lake or its watershed.
The Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council EAA map I have been using for my series, “Who Owns the Land? Mapping Out Florida’s Water Future,” shows us the 700,000 acres that comprise the Everglades Agricultural Area south of Lake Okeechobee.
Now picture this…
If all the water that was discharged into the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon in calendar year 2016 were to have gone instead into the Everglades Agricultural Area, 630,000 acres of its 700,000 acres would be covered in one foot of water….
That’s a lot of water! In fact, almost all of the EAA would be completely covered in water. And this of course is not taking into account the Caloosahatchee that receives about three times as much water.