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Putnam: Full Funding for Lake Okeechobee Dike Repairs Will Be Tough


September 13, 2013 | WMFE - Florida lawmakers have agreed to spend $2.8 million to improve the quality of water flowing from Lake Okeechobee into South Florida rivers. But state Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam says it will take much more to repair the lake's aging dike.

[Photo: Lake Okeechobee]

A legislative budget committee approved the expenditure Thursday.

Lawmakers want to reduce pressure on the Lake Okeechobee dike and send more water south rather than east and west through the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers.

But at a summit Thursday for state political leaders in Orlando, Putnam said it will be tough to get full funding from Congress to repair the dike.

"The day that it goes from being one of the top 10 most dangerous dikes or dams in America to being the 11th most dangerous dike or dam in America funding will go away."

Record rainfalls this summer put pressure on the dike, forcing water releases into the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers and damaging the environment.

 

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