Amid the sawgrass marshes and the freshwater ponds of the Everglades, you may spot a tall communication tower on the horizon. Although these structures are often mistaken for cell phone towers, they are actually part of the South Florida Water Management District’s (SFWMD) vast data collection and technology network.
SFWMD maintains an extensive and complex system of microwave communication towers and scientific monitoring stations that can remotely operate water control structures and transmit environmental data.
This vast network – known as the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition Systems, or SCADA – includes 52 microwave towers and more than 1,200 monitoring stations that are strategically placed throughout the District’s 16-county region.
From Orlando to the Florida Keys, SCADA transmits real-time operation and hydro-meteorological data to District staff. Professional meteorologists, water managers, engineers, and control room staff monitor this real-time data 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
Rainfall totals, water levels, and other environmental data collected through the SCADA network area are used to guide important water management decisions that help keep our communities dry, support environmental restoration efforts, and provide water to South Florida.
The public can access SFWMD data online at https://www.sfwmd.gov/science-data/dbhydro