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FL - Legislative Package Expediting Storage North of Lake Okeechobee Introduced in Florida Senate

Over the past two years, $100 million has been committed to the project.

A plan that would boost water storage projects north of Lake Okeechobee, a key priority of Senate President Wilton Simpson, has been introduced in the Florida Senate.

Senate Bill 94, sponsored by Senator Jason Brodeur, would require the South Florida Water Management District to request the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to seek congressional approval by a certain date and expedite the construction of aquifer storage and recovery wells along with the implementation of a science plan to accompany the project.

The project was originally developed as part of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) approved bipartisanly by Congress and with the support of environmental groups in 2000.

Aquifer storage recovery wells, which are used throughout the state of Florida, would play a critical role in storing the water instead of allowing it to flow unfiltered into Lake Okeechobee.

The project, according to Simpson, would address high water volumes at its source and help to reduce discharges from Lake Okeechobee.

“The 494,000 acre-feet of northern storage the LOWRP [northern storage project] provides will be used to keep lake levels from rising too high in the wet season and make water available for release in the dry season,” according to Simpson. “This creates the operational flexibility necessary to help maintain lake levels that are ideal for the lake’s ecology and helps ensure adequate water supply for users around the lake.”

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