The SFWMD Governing Board approved one of the proposed models for the EAA Reservoir. The tentatively selected plan will hold 240,000 acre feet of water on a 10,000 acre site. Water sent south to the Everglades will be treated in a new 6,500 acre STA (stormwater treatment area) in conjunction with other STAs and flow equalization basins.
Ready for the Feds
With this approval, the plan is handed off to the Army Corps of Engineers. An "independent review" will be conducted, with the hope of gaining a final approval and a federal commitment to share the cost of the reservoir.
Is Something Better than Nothing?
The approved version of the EAA Reservoir is a far cry from what was discussed last year when SB10 (the bill expediting the planning process) was being hammered out. The historical discussion of the ideal reservoir built on 60,000 acres is a faint memory.
The SFWMD, while directed to design the "optimal configuration" for the reservoir, chose instead to design models based on one footprint of state owned land. We question this process and wonder, "What if?"
What if the SFWMD had dug in, knocked on doors, tracked down landowners and tackled the problem of designing a reservoir that could do everything we all hoped it would do: STOP discharges from Lake Okeechobee and deliver a reliable dynamic flow of clean water to the Bay when needed on a footprint of land that was really big enough to do the job?
What if politics didn't have a stranglehold on EAA reservoir planning to the point of choking the life out of the potential for a $1.4 billion dollar reservoir to actually be fully effective.
What if we didn't have to play games like this and we could all just take a step back and admit what we all know to be true: without thriving, vibrant coastal communities, no one would live and work in Florida.
Finally, what if all the people who get a yay or nay vote, stamp the approvals, work for reelections and write misleading press releases could just get outside of themselves for one minute to look at the bigger picture and do the next right thing for the one thing that sustains the Florida economy.
Well, if this fantasy scenario played out, we would definitely not be looking at this crippled reservoir model that was just sent off to the Feds.