As the hot Florida summer continues, most water entering Lake Okeechobee is from direct rainfall into the 730 square mile lake surface. Most water leaving the lake is due to evapotranspiration.
Lake Okeechobee rose July 11-17, thanks to direct rainfall into the lake, according to the July 20 Ecological Conditions Report from the South Florida Water Management District.
North of the lake, no water has been released from the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes to the Kissimmee River since June 22. Water flowing down the river is from direct rainfall into the river and basin runoff. Average daily inflows (excluding direct rainfall) totaled 8,940 acre feet or about 2.5 billion gallons of water. Water backflowing into the lake from the C-44 at Port Mayaca totalled 2,970 acre feet or about 831 million gallons.
Rainfall that fell directly into the big lake totaled 92,470 acre feet, or about 25.89 billion gallons (around 2 inches on Lake O.)
No water was released east to the Calooshatchee River, July 11-17. Very little water has been released to the Caloosahatchee since the wet season started. The target flow for the river is measured at the Franklin Lock which is more than 40 miles from the lake. If the local basin runoff is sufficient to meet the target, no water is released from the Lake through the Julian Keen Jr. Lock at Moore Haven. The current target is 750 cubic feet per second. The average flow at the Franklin Lock for the seven-day period ending July 19 was 1,424 cfs, all from local basin runoff.
No water from the lake has been released to the St. Lucie River since April 2021.
Flow south from Lake Okeechobee July 11-17 was also zero. Rainfall south of the lake has been sufficient to water the crops in the Everglades Agricultural Area and hydrate the water conservation areas and the Everglades. Water continues to move from the water conservation areas under the Tamiami Trail to Everglades National Park and Florida Bay.
Evapotranspiration (a combination of evaporation and plant transpiration) for July 11-17 was 28,460 acre feet, or 7.97 billion gallons of water.
One inch on Lake Okeechobee equals about 12 billion gallons.