Water-Related News

SJRWMD Approves Temporary Change in Discharges on Harris Chain

After a temporary reduction in discharges on the Harris Chain of Lakes in late 2010 and early 2011 helped increase lake water levels by 6 inches, the St. Johns River Water Management District's Governing Board today approved taking similar actions this winter.

The Board approved temporarily reducing or eliminating discharges through the Apopka-Beauclair, Burrell and Moss Bluff locks and dams in Lake and Marion counties.

In December 2010, the Board approved a five-month test to measure the effect of reducing discharges during the early stages of a drought during a winter with a forecast for lower-than-average rainfall. This year, the forecast again is for a winter with less-than-average rainfall.

The temporary action not only protects water levels on the Harris Chain of Lakes and Lake Apopka, it also helps to protect water quality, particularly on Lake Apopka.

"Had we not made the reduction in discharges last winter, water levels on the Harris Chain would be lower than they are today," said Dave Walker, basin program manager for the District. "We expect the reduction in discharges to help again this year."

The Board approved eliminating the discharges out of the Apopka and Burrell structures and reducing the Moss Bluff discharge to 10 cubic feet per second starting Dec. 8. The temporary changes would end no later than April 30, 2012, and could end sooner depending on winter rainfall.