Low water levels in Cape Coral’s freshwater canals causing concern, safety issues

Reporter: Zach Oliveri Writer: Matthew Seaver
Published: Updated:
Low water levels in a Cape Coral canal. (Credit: WINK News)

The water in freshwater canals in Southwest Florida is extremely low. Those canal levels affect homeowners and boaters and when they drop, it becomes a safety issue.

The canals do more than provide water for irrigation. They also supply water for some fire hydrants. There is not a lot of water in the freshwater canals leaving those living on them frustrated and concerned.

Boats are on the ground, and you can see just as much grass as water in some places. You can also see a line showing where the water in the canals used to be in Cape Coral.

“Like a bank account, if you just withdraw, you don’t deposit what’s going to happen haha you’re broke,” said Cape Coral resident Robert Gosselin.

For almost twenty years, Gosselin has enjoyed walking back to the canal behind his home
to feed the animals as they swim by. Now, the ducks don’t have much water to work with

“This is the worst I’ve ever seen it in years. Wildlife has just taken a bad beating. Fish birds plus you get a stench out of here that’s just unbearable,” said Gosselin.

Cape Coral resident Dennis Blankowitsch agrees that the water levels have never been this bad. “If you want to buy a house where you can go and have mud baths, this would be the place,” said Blankowitsch.

To fix the problem, the City of Cape Coral is working to pump water in from the Southwest Aggregates Reservoir in Charlotte County. A step the city has taken during the previous two dry seasons.

“There has about one and a half billion gallons in that reservoir that we could potentially pump out of. But it’s not going to immediately make the canals go higher,” said Cape Coral Utilities Director Jeff Pearson.

While the city waits for that and permits to be approved by the Florida Department of Transportation to start pumping, it is cracking down on watering violations.

WINK News went with code enforcement Tuesday as it cited people not following the mandatory two-day schedule.

“I just use my regular freshwater tap water. I pay for it. So it’s like, you know what, I don’t want to empty the canal,” said Gosselin.

“I don’t think anyone would want this kind of a water problem,” said Blankowitsch.

Neighbors said they want rain and a solution to the low water levels. “Hopefully, they can do something immediately, as you can see right now. It looks like trash,” said Gosselin.

A spokesperson with the city said if people watered during the appropriate times, the supply and pressures would be adequate. The city has projects like Caloosahatchee Connect to alleviate these canal water level problems in the future.

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