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Federal Government Approves Money for Lake Okeechobee Reservoir

Governor Rick Scott announced Tuesday on Twitter that the federal government approved the money needed to build a new reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee.

It’s not 100 percent finalized and the Senate still has to vote, but this was a major hurdle.

“This is more than 10,000 acres of storage, and then another 6,000 acres that will actually clean up that water before ultimately being sent south to the Everglades,” Brian Hamman, Lee County Commissioner, said.

The reservoir is a huge deal. The project will send 120 billion gallons of water south every year. It will cut the water sent east and west by more than 60 percent.

All of this will have an impact on the blue-green algae you’ve been seeing in the news. Less of it will flow out of the lake towards the coasts if this project is completed.

The reservoir is part of the Water Resources Development Act, or WRDA, which is a massive funding bill with dozens of projects all over the country.

Members of Congress put a place holder for the project while they waited to hear back on decisions from the Army Corps of Engineers and OMB. The Army Corp gave it two thumbs up last month. OMB approved the money yesterday.

The House passed WRDA on June 6. That means the bill just needs to pass the Senate and then the president needs to sign it.

The project is expected to cost $1.6 billion. And the costs will be split 50/50 between the federal government and Florida.

The earliest estimates for this project to be completed is at least seven years.

RELATED: Proposed Lake Okeechobee dam to bring more water to the Everglades