FORT MYERS, Fla. – A new 38-foot dam could be the answer to stopping billions of gallons of water being released into the Caloosahatchee River, local officials said Thursday.
The dam is part of the C-43 West Basin Storage Reservoir project located on nearly 11,000 acres of land near the Hendry County line.
The reservoir project will also maintain Southwest Florida ecosystems, Philip Flood of the South Florida Water Management District said.
“The purpose of the reservoir is to capture excess runoff and lake releases and store them here and then during dry season release that water to the Caloosahatchee river to help sustain the estuary,” Flood said.
Construction is expected to begin soon for the reservoir, which at 55 billion gallons of water, will hold less than half of the water that needs to be stored.
Lee County Commissioner Frank Mann said the reservoir and dam are crucial to the environment.
“It is the long term solution part of it to getting us where we need to be,” Mann said. “It’s critically important to the big picture of reestablishing what mother nature used to do here for 100,000 years before we wrecked it.”