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New concerns over early Lake Okeechobee discharges

Posted at 6:57 PM, Feb 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-27 05:00:24-05

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — A plan to lower the water level in Lake Okeechobee is drawing concern from one Palm Beach County commissioner and West Palm Beach mayor.

“It would be a crisis for us environmentally, it would be a crisis for us economically,” says commissioner Gregg Weiss.

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The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is considering a plan to lower lake levels from 12 to about 10 feet above sea level to try and avoid algae problems and water releases in the summer.

Weiss says if South Florida experiences a drought then lake levels will sink faster, damaging the lake and diminishing the water supply for West Palm Beach, which relies on the lake as a secondary water source.

West Palm Beach mayor Jeri Muoio in a statement is concerned about a repeat of the 2011 drought.

“We’ve come too far to go backwards now,” Muoio says.

The Army Corps of Engineers plan to hear public opinions on the lake level issue Wednesday night at the South Florida Water Management headquarters.