High Water Conditions in Lake Okeechobee and the Everglades
People, wildlife and the environment all depend on the right balance of water levels in South Florida, especially in Lake Okeechobee and the Water Conservation Areas. SFWMD is working to balance the water levels across South Florida and continue to deliver on its mission to protect water resources, provide flood protection and meet the region’s water needs.
Current Operations (Updated Jan. 15, 2021)
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers finished its transition into dry season operations on Lake Okeechobee and is now targeting a low-level release of 1,000 cfs to the Caloosahatchee Estuary, while ceasing releases east to the St. Lucie Estuary. The SFWMD continues to take every opportunity to help reduce the need for harmful discharges to the northern estuaries. Learn more about the latest operational updates from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers here and view the Lake Okeechobee Net Flows here. The South Florida Water Management District, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and other partners will continue to assess the situation throughout the dry season.
The Water Conservation Areas, sometimes called the “Central Everglades,” are managed by the South Florida Water Management District and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. They are important wetlands that help move water south. The current high-water levels in the flooded Water Conservation Areas impact wildlife habitat and people who depend on the right water levels in these wetlands.
The Data Below are for Jan. 14, 2021, and the Flow Data are Based on a Daily Average
Data can be found in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Daily Report
Water Levels in WCA 2A and 3A:
- WCA 2A: 13.13 ft, 1.86 ft above normal conditions
- WCA 3A: 11.12 ft, 0.71 ft above normal conditions
Total Inflows: 1,360 cfs (880 million gallons a day)
Inflows represent the amount of water entering Lake Okeechobee. Inflows may vary based on weather conditions and other factors.
- Surface Water Inflows: 1,090 cfs (700 million gallons a day)
- Rainfall: 270 cfs (175 million gallons a day)
Total Outflows: 2,260 cfs (1.5 billion gallons a day)
Outflows represent the amount of water leaving Lake Okeechobee. Outflows may vary based on capacity, weather conditions, and other factors.
Outflow East/West - Controlled by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
- S-308 flows: 0 cfs
- S-77 flows: 650 cfs (420 million gallons a day)
Evapotranspiration: 1,580 cfs (1 billion gallons a day)
Net Outflow: 900 cfs (580 million gallons a day)
A net outflow means that more water is leaving the lake than entering it.
Lake Okeechobee Level - Daily Change
0.00' change in lake level.
Preventing Water from Entering Lake Okeechobee from the North
SFWMD is reducing flows from Lake Kissimmee to the Kissimmee River. Operational changes include dynamically operating canals at higher levels, near the top of their operating ranges, to hold back water; using Brighton Valley and West Water Hole Dispersed Water Management Project in Highlands County; and encouraging drainage system operators that discharge into SFWMD’s system to hold back water. Storing and reducing the flow of water helps better manage water levels in Lake Okeechobee.
Capturing Discharges of Lake Okeechobee Water to the Northern Estuaries
We are working to capture water discharged from Lake Okeechobee to the northern estuaries. We are maximizing all available water storage projects.
Current Lake Okeechobee Conditions
There are currently no reported algal blooms near the discharge structures on Lake Okeechobee. Residents can report any algal bloom sightings to the algal bloom hotline at 1-855-305-3903 or online at ReportAlgalBloom.com.
To view the latest Cyanobacteria Algal Bloom Satellite imagery from NOAA, click here.
Why Does Lake Okeechobee Have Discharges?
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers manages Lake Okeechobee water levels for five purposes: flood control, water supply, navigation, recreation and the preservation of fish and wildlife resources. At times, releases of water called “discharges” from Lake Okeechobee are required to manage the lake’s water levels and balance these five purposes. The South Florida Water Management District also manages water management infrastructure like gates and locks along Lake Okeechobee that can help manage lake levels.
How is Water Managed in South Florida?
South Florida Water Management District works with federal, state, and local agencies to manage our region’s water resources. Everglades restoration projects coupled with smart management help protect our water resources and improve how the water flows in the southern portion of the state with benefits for people and the environment. Learn more in this video below.
All data provided on this page are provisional and subject to quality assurance and quality control review. Unless otherwise noted, data are for the previous day and flow data are based on daily averages. Data are from the following structures: WCA 2A: S7 Pumps, G436, S7 Gates, G335; WCA 3A: S8 Pumps, S8 Gates, S9 Pumps, S140 Pumps, S140 Gates, S190, S150, G404; Coastal Outflows: S38, S31, S34E; South/West Outflows: S12A, S12B, S12C, S12D, S-333, S-333N, S-344, S-343A, S-343B.