Falling Kissimmee Lake Levels May Force S-61 Lock Closure
May 9, 2018
Kissimmee, FL – As levels in the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes continue to fall due to lack of rain and high evapotranspiration rates, the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) plans to stop operation of the S-61 (Southport) navigation lock on the south shore of Lake Tohopekaliga once the downstream water level falls to 48.5 feet above mean sea level.
The water level immediately downstream of the S-61 lock is currently at 49 feet above mean sea level and could be at 48.5 feet within several days if dry conditions persist.
SFWMD water managers will work to lessen the decline in Lake Kissimmee while maintaining enough flow to the historic Kissimmee River to protect aquatic organisms, including fish. However, reductions in flow from Lake Kissimmee will also result in declining water levels in the Kissimmee River.
With water levels declining, boaters should exercise caution in lakes, canals and the Kissimmee River.