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Flood water diversion concerns cross county lines in Southwest Florida

Posted at 10:48 PM, Jul 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-09 22:48:12-04

The South Florida Water Management District is working to figure out how to alleviate flooding in Bonita Springs, after torrential rains last summer left many streets underwater for days. But one commissioner in neighboring Collier County is concerned that a potential fix would divert stormwater south.

"We need to work together," said Andy Solis, chair of the Collier County Board of Commissioners. "We have the same concerns as Bonita Springs with flooding."

"The Palm River area in particular, that abuts the Cochatchee Canal, flooded during (Hurricane Irma,)" he added.

Bonita Springs Mayor Peter Simmons said that the idea of any stormwater diversion project is in the very early stages. But he agrees that Collier - and any other affected counties - should be involved in where the water should flow when south Lee County floods.

"It's certainly not a city or county issue - it's a regional issue," Simmons said. "Everybody involved wants flooding to be alleviated, and we look forward to working with everybody to help solve this problem."

He added that prior to human development in South Florida, the water did flow south naturally. 

Solis plans to ask the other four Collier County commissioners to support his position, and send a letter to the South Florida Water Management District, asking for full public outreach and involvement in any stormwater diversion project affecting Collier.