DeSantis says emergency order unnecessary over water quality, funds already available

Reporter: Stephanie Byrne
Published: Updated:
Governor DeSantis speaks on water quality from the Edison and Ford Winter Estates in Fort Myers. (Credit:

Gov. Ron DeSantis spoke Wednesday from the Edison and Ford Winter Estates in Fort Myers.

The Estates sit along the Caloosahatchee River which has seen visible blue-green algae in recent weeks, primarily upriver and in Lake Okeechobee.

During his press conference, DeSantis claimed the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is not managing Lake Okeechobee very well right now.

DeSantis said, “The way this lake is managed is causing problems, it caused a lot of problems in Southwest Florida in 2018 and it’s caused problems on the East Coast as well in the past.” He said the lake needs to be managed better during the dry season to prepare for the rainy season by releasing water in the winter months.

The governor said he previously told the South Florida Water Management District to send as much water as they can south. Something they’re now doing.

When asked about any potential state of emergency order, DeSantis said no order is needed, “[an] emergency order would just let you access funds, but I already have access to the funds.” Adding that an order would only “spook a lot of people.”

A state emergency order would also not change the Army Corps’ lake operation.

However, he said a new Lake Operations Manual could dictate how the Lake Okeechobee level is managed. The tentative new manual should be ready by summer.

Watch the full news conference in the player below or click here.

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