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SFWMD Helping to Ease the Flooding in Central Florida

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SFWMD Executive Director Drew Bartlett says they’re working with Osceola County to ease the flooding in central Florida by moving water down through the upper Kissimmee Chain of Lakes.
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SFWMD
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Florida - Tuesday October 4, 2022: The South Florida Water Management District continues to work in partnership with Osceola County and Orange County to reduce flows of water into the regional lake system and provide relief to impacted communities.

SFWMD Executive Director Drew Bartlett says they’re working with Osceola County to ease the flooding in central Florida by moving water down through the upper Kissimmee Chain of Lakes.

“We’re trying to strategically move water, south, out of those lakes, away from those communities, down towards Lake Okeechobee," he said.

To do that Bartlett said 11 large high volume pumps are already operating in strategic locations and 5 more are being deployed. “Our focus is heavily on lakes Toho, East Lake Toho, and the Alligator Chain, where we’re working with Orange County to curtail flows into those lakes while we use pumps, open locks, to move water out of those lakes, in order to best control those lake levels, and lower lake levels.”

Bartlett urges all boaters along Kissimmee chain of lakes to go slow and leave no wake in order to prevent additional flooding to homes and roadways along the lake and river shores.

"Our public lands north and west of Lake Okeechobee remain closed. Our lock system up the Kissimmee River also remains closed to public access because we are using them to move water south out of the Upper Kissimmee Chain of Lakes.”

The South Florida Water Management District Emergency Operations Center remains at the highest level 1, and will remain that way until the flooding has subsided.

Actions Taken by SFWMD include:

• Continuing to work in partnership with Osceola County and Orange County to reduce flows of water into the regional lake system and provide relief to impacted communities.

• Deploying high volume pumps at very strategic locations and many more pumps are being staged and getting ready for operation.

• Continuing to work with Lee County to remove debris out of the drainage system.

• Continuing to coordinate with our local, state and federal partners including FEMA to support local recovery efforts.

• Re-opened six navigational boat locks in Glades, Hendry, Martin and Okeechobee counties.

• Using water control structures and other navigational locks at full capacity to move water away from communities.

• Re-opened SFWMD-Managed Lands in Hendry, St. Lucie, Martin, Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade Counties today at 5:00 pm. All other SFWMD-Managed Lands will remain closed for safety purposes.

• Keeping the SFWMD's Emergency Operations Center at Level 1, Full Activation.

Residents in Southwest and Central Florida are reminded to avoid floodwaters. If you see floodwaters, turn around and find an alternate route.