President Donald Trump signed the America's Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 Tuesday.
The law included several provisions like authorizing federal funding for water infrastructure projects, expanding the country's water storage capabilities, upgrading wastewater, drinking and irrigation systems, as well as authorizing or reauthorizing water infrastructure projects and programs.
But the main thing impacting Floridians is a massive plan to create a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee, which many expect to greatly help the algae crisis in South Florida.
Even though many think this will solve Florida's water issues, it won't happen any time soon. This isn't a quick solution to a problem that has been plaguing Florida's water.
The plan is to build a 23-foot-deep reservoir to store water from Lake O and a 6,500-acre man-made marsh to clean the water before sending it south.
The total cost will be about $1.3 billion. This tab will be split between the federal and state governments. Approving this bill seemed easy but coming up with the funds to build this reservoir seems like it will be tough.
Phil Flood from the South Florida Water Management District said coming up with the funds from the federal government is the next big hurdle, "We’re really kind of on hold until the federal government appropriates funds.”
Phil said that once the reservoir is built, there should be an expected 63% reduction in discharges but that other projects have to be completed in order to start building the reservoir.
“There’s a number of projects in there that are going to increase the conveyances and send more water down to the south," said Phil. "The E.A.A. reservoir is a piece of that. We also have reservoirs on the east and west coast — we need to see those completed.”
The Florida water crisis is a huge issue and problems with Lake Okeechobee are only part of that.