C-43 storage reservoir being built to improve water quality in SWFL

Reporter: Stephanie Byrne Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
Credit: WINK News.

With too much water during the rainy season and not enough during the dry season, a massive reservoir under construction could solve some of the state’s water woes.

In June, we showed you the work going on west of Lake Okeechobee at the Caloosahatchee River West Basin Storage Reservoir (C-43) in Hendry County.

We returned to C-43 Monday to find out how the public can get in on the plans going on at Lake O.

The reservoir will catch excess runoff and Lake O releases to manage freshwater flowing to the Caloosahatchee estuary. It will also maintain water supplies for farmers around the reservoir.

The C-43 reservoir is being designed to contain 55 billion gallons of water, but the next concern is making sure that water is clean once it’s released.

“What we’re doing is we’re putting in a water quality treatment component, which we didn’t have in it initially,” said Chauncey Goss, chairman of the South Florida Water Management District governing board.

The SFWMD also wants to hear recommendations from community members about whether to clean water before, after or while it’s in the reservoir.

“The biggest challenge is we had not planned for a water quality component,” Goss said. “So the construction of C-43 reservoir is ongoing right now, so we’re sort of putting the cart before the horse.”

The public meeting for C-43 will be held 2 to 4 p.m. Friday, Jan. 10, 2020 at the Hendry County UF/IFAS Extension office in Labelle. Visit the SFWMD website for more details.

As the SFWMD works to maintain the quantity and quality of our state’s water, they hope others will give their two cents to make a difference. The project completion is expect in 2023.

“The idea is we’ll find a mechanism where we can treat the water, remove the nutrients out of it and have cleaner water leaving the reservoir, going out into the estuaries,” said Phil Flood, who is the regional representative for SFWMD in Lee County.

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