Senate passes water bill
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Senate today, by a vote of 99-1, passed the 2018 Water Resources Development Act – legislation that includes numerous Florida projects, including authorization of a massive reservoir that will help to mitigate the state’s toxic algae problems.
The Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) reservoir, which Sens. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) advocated together to get included in the bill, is a water storage project south of Lake Okeechobee designed to take water from the lake and filter out toxins that contribute to toxic algal blooms. The project includes a 10,500-acre reservoir to store water and 6,500 acres of stormwater treatment areas to clean it. The 23-foot deep reservoir will hold about 240,000 acre-feet of water. It is estimated to cost about $1.3 billion, which will be split evenly between the federal government and the state.
“I’m glad to see this project that Sen. Rubio and I have worked so hard to advance has passed the Senate,” Nelson said. “This reservoir is particularly important right now to help mitigate the toxic algae crisis that’s sweeping the state, but it's also critical for our broader Everglades restoration effort.”
In addition to the reservoir, Nelson secured the authorization of two beach renourishment projects, one in St. Johns County and one in St. Lucie County. And the bill also directs the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to implement a five-year harmful algal bloom technology development program to identify and develop improved strategies for prevention and management techniques, early detection and procedures to reduce harmful algal blooms.
The bill now heads to the president’s desk for signature.
A .pdf of the bill can be found here.