The South Florida Water Management District took a step forward in approving the use of a reservoir known as C-43 which lies along the banks of the Caloosahatchee River. The reservoir is built to hold 170,000 acre feet or 55 billion gallons of water that will be pumped out the Caloosahatchee into the reservoir where it will be filtered by plants and organisms to remove pollutants before it is sent back into the river. The water will be pumped into the reservoir only during rainy periods when rainwater from nearby properties along the river carries pollutants into the river which results in nutrient overloads which then causes poor water quality. The poor water quality fouling our beaches and waterways is blamed from this water runoff from land surrounding the Calooshatchee or its watershed. Fresh water releases from Lake Okeechobee are also blamed for the problems of water pollution to the river but the reservoir will not be used to collect fresh water releases from the lake. Residents and government leaders from coastal areas in Lee County have complained about the quality of water coming from the Caloosahatchee River and blame them on the algae blooms and murky water-color that has plagued our beaches, bays and canals in Lee County. The approval of the SFWMD is only the first step in making the C-43 reservoir operational. There is still a public hearing to take place probably in April and a second vote in June before the project is finally approved. The South Florida Water Management District has a lot of good information about the state and federal efforts to collect polluted water before it reaches our estuaries and beaches.
This news was reported in the Ft. Myers News Press Friday, Feb. 14,th 2014 on the front page.