New Lee County pipeline to benefit Fort Myers, Cape Coral during dry season

Reporter: Asha Patel Writer: Joey Pellegrino
Published: Updated:
Osprey perched over the Caloosahatchee River. Credit: WINK News

Cape Coral is under a water emergency: If it doesn’t rain soon, you may only be able to water your lawn one day a week, down from the current two days. But a pipeline connecting water from Fort Myers to Cape Coral could help ease those problems.

The Caloosahatchee Connect Project was initially scheduled to start last Monday, but material delays are pushing construction back. Once construction does begin, the pipeline will benefit both Fort Myers and Cape Coral: Fort Myers gets to pass on surplus reclaimed water in an environmentally friendly way—reducing the need to discharge into the Caloosahatchee River—and Cape Coral gets to use the additional reclaimed water to provide water for irrigation and fire protection.

“The pipeline will definitely help with regards to our drought season, it will; during the dry season, it will save about a billion gallons of water that would normally be taken from the canals and used as irrigation water,” Said Melissa Mickey, spokeswoman for the City of Cape Coral. “Once it’s complete, that project will really help mitigate a lot of the issues that we have sometimes with regards to conserving water during our dry season.”

Water restrictions would still be required year-round throughout Florida, though. Mickey says that, although the Caloosahatchee Connect Pipeline will help mitigate a lot of issues Cape Coral has regarding water conservation during the dry season, using your water wisely will still be crucial.

“That could mean still watering twice a week, but maybe shortening the amount of time that the irrigation system is running,” Mickey said. “It could mean, if you feel like you can just get away with watering once a week, you can do that, but it’s not a requirement right now.”

Once construction does begin, the pipeline is expected to be finished by the middle of 2023.

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