Village of Indiantown Council supports storage north of lake


INDIANTOWN  - Village of Indiantown Mayor Janet Hernandez has signed a letter to Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson in support of more water storage north of Lake Okeechobee.

On Feb. 1, the Village of Indiantown Council received a request from the City of Clewiston requesting support of the movement to expedite projects north of Lake Okeechobee, to "slow the flow," and capture and treat water before it enters Lake Okeechobee.

 At their Feb. 11 meeting, the council agreed the mayor should sign the letter.

The letter states: "Lake Okeechobee is a special place. It is the heart of our communities, which surround it, and it is the lifeblood of our economies, which heavily depend on it for jobs. For us and thousands of visitors every year, Lake Okeechobee means everything. It’s also where we fish, spend time with our family, and recreate on the weekends.
"We stand with the numerous community and business leaders calling for the Florida Legislature to fully fund and expedite projects at the mouth of Lake Okeechobee to “Slow the Flow” and capture and treat water before it enters the lake.
"Ninety-five plus percent of the water and nutrients in Lake Okeechobee originate in the basin north of it. We owe it to our communities and the millions of people in South Florida who want cleaner water in appropriate volumes to complete northern storage and treatment in a timely manner.
"Funding and completing northern storage has the added benefit of also helping to address the concerns of our coastal neighbors. Giving state and federal officials the ability to slow down water during the rainy season will help to prevent rapidly rising lake levels and significantly cut back on unwanted discharges from Lake Okeechobee to the coastal estuaries.
"Estimates have suggested storage and treatment north of Lake Okeechobee will help significantly reduce these discharges when completed. Respected scientific groups such as the University of Florida Water Institute have concluded northern storage is a viable option to reduce frequent high volume discharges from the lake.
"As you begin to determine priorities for the upcoming Legislative Session, we hope you will continue the progress that has been made on funding northern storage. We sincerely appreciate the $100 million that has been committed to northern storage to date, and look forward to additional funding that will help to make the completion of this vital project a reality.
"Working together, we can continue advocating for
solutions that address water quality while protecting our economy."
The mayors of LaBelle, Moore Haven, South Bay, Belle Glade, Pahokee and Okeechobee have also been asked to sign the letter.