A water storage project in Hendry County recently broke ground after more than a decade of planning. Water managers are clearing land for the Caloosahatchee River West Basin Storage Reservoir project, or C-43 reservoir. This project is meant to keep the Caloosahatchee Estuary healthy.
The C-43 reservoir is planned along the Caloosahatchee River. It’s designed to grab and store water from the estuary when too much flows in during the rainy season. Then it will send some water back during dry season. Phil Flood is with the South Florida Water Management District, heading up this project. He said this is needed for the estuary’s water quality and habitat.
"The sole purpose of this project is to try to get the water right," said Flood. "It's all about trying to get the balance the salinity levels in the estuary and making sure that we have a productive and healthy estuary for the community."
He said the C-43 reservoir will hold up to 55 billion gallons of water above ground. It’s part of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan. This component was developed by the state and federal government. Flood said the project will cost about $550 million. The state will likely front the initial cost, he said. But the feds will eventually share half the price. The water management district expects the reservoir to be operational by 2020.