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Lake Okeechobee water releases into Caloosahatchee River being drastically reduced

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Posted at 1:53 PM, Dec 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-28 13:53:49-05

LEE COUNTY, Fla. -- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says they are drastically reducing the amount of water flowing from Lake Okeechobee into the Caloosahatchee River over the coming weeks.

The water level in the lake reached a peak of 17.2 feet back in October, forcing the corps to begin dumping large amounts of water into the Caloosahatchee to the west, and the St. Lucie River to the east.  Over 6,500 cubic feet per second of water was the peak amount being released westward.

Now, the lake is down to 15.56 feet, and the corps is further reducing the water flows.

On Friday the water rates to the Caloosahatchee will be reduced from 2,000 cfs to 1,500.  The rate will be further reduced on January 5th to 650 cfs.

Water rates into the St. Lucie will be reduced from 500 cfs to zero.

"Drier weather conditions have made it possible for us to reduce water releases from the lake, and current forecasts indicate that this trend will continue," said said Lt. Col. Jennifer Reynolds, Jacksonville District Deputy Commander for South Florida.