Public Meetings Planned For Upper Haven Chain Structure Operations

The issue of how much water to keep or release from lakes Fannie, Hamilton, Henry and Smart and upper portions of the Peace Creek Drainage Canal will be the topic of upcoming meetings conducted by the Southwest Florida Water Management District.

The meetings will be from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Feb. 8 and 6 to 8:30 p.m. Feb. 13 at the Chain of Lakes Complex Poolside Room.

The issue arose several years ago over disagreements among Lake Henry residents over those who wanted the lake level lower to drain a low-lying development on one side of the lake and those on higher ground who complained the lake level drop affected navigation.

More recently there has been a proposal to divert water from Lake Henry when its level rose high enough to supplement the level of Lake Eva in Haines City. The proposal was to move the water from farmland along U.S. 27 to an old drainage canal connected to Lake Eva.

Before the meetings, Swiftmud officials plan to meet with Polk County, Winter Haven and Haines City technical staff to get input on the presentation.

One of the interesting questions in this whole exercise is a review of what the rationale is for the entire network of structures in this part of the Peace River Basin and whether their operation and presence still make sense.

That is relevant because there have been times when the rationale for the existence of some Swiftmud structures were that they continued decisions for structure-driven water management by long-defunct drainage districts. That sounds a lot like “Because.”