Tag Archives: Drying Up West; While We Waste Fresh Water of Lake Okeechobee

Water-starved West ~Wasted Water of Lake Okeechobee, SLR/IRL

I walked out of the hotel and asked the staff person by the door if he could point me in the direction of the Santa Fe River.

“It’s just on the other side of the road,” he said pointing to Alameda Street.

The man’s name was Ben, and he told me he grew up in the area. “When I was a kid the river was higher and flowed, but now it’s not much more than a trickle.”

I asked him if there was any wildlife in the river. He looked down. “No, not since long ago when they dammed it creating a reservoir back in the 1943.”

Before Ed and I left Santa Fe, New Mexico we decided to drive up and see the reservoir located near the Randall Davey Audubon Center at 1800 Canyon Road. When we got there it was closed, and had been since 1932, in order to protect this precious watershed.

When I pulled up information on the Nichols Reservoir, it said the City of Santa Fe through the Nichols Reservoir and the McClure Reservoir, further up the Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range, have the right to store up to 4000 acre-feet combined for their city’s use. However, the Rio Grand Compact controls 2,939 acre-feet of the capacity depending on the water levels in the Elephant Butte Reservoir…so if Butte is low, the city is obligated to release water from the Nichols Reservoir to supply Colorado and Texas…

http://www.santafedia.org/wiki/index.php?title=File:Nichols_storage.png

I turned to Ed and said, “if I’m not mistaken, over many years the Army Corp has easily discharged over up to 5000 cubic feet per second and that is that is over 9000 acre feet a day- for months at a time- of fresh water Lake Okeechobee discharges into the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon.  In 2013, it was over 5700 cubic feet per second for weeks and weeks, and S-80 can release up to 16,900 CFS or 33,520 acre feet per day if necessary.”

What a waste! And those people in New Mexico are fighting over “crumbs.”

Thurlow & Thurlow S-80 Lake O conversion water chart: http://www.thurlowpa.com/C44RealTimeData.htm

There has to be a better way than killing the St Lucie and wasting Florida’s  fresh water…we will start with the #EAAReservoir….