A reservoir the size of Naples is coming to Hendry County to help Florida’s water woes

Published: August 25, 2021 5:11 PM EDT
Updated: August 26, 2021 12:49 PM EDT

What used to be a citrus grove will one day be a massive reservoir.

The goal is to keep water cleaner and with less blue-green algae.

Between too much water in the wet season and not enough in the dry season, Southwest Florida is no stranger to water woes.

The C-43 Reservoir project is happening in Hendry County, west of LaBelle. Part of the solution will come from the more than 10,000-acre C-43 reservoir. The reservoir will be about the size of the City of Naples. It’s expected to be completed in 2023 but will start taking wet season flows in 2024.

The price tag for the project is $1 billion, which will come from both state and federal funds.

“The C-43 reservoir is supposed to catch the wet season flows from Lake Okeechobee and the basin and C-43, store them and then discharge them back to the river in the dry season,” said Shawn Waldeck, site manager at the C-43 reservoir project.

The site will store 55 billion gallons of water when it’s full, divided into two cells.

It’s so big, the dam surrounding the reservoir will be the tallest point in Hendry County.

“We’re planning a water quality treatment facility associated with the reservoir by injecting an alum chemical to reduce the nutrient loads as well as to polish that flow on the discharge back to the river,” Waldeck said.

Once it’s done, visitors will be able to take in the view of the massive water body.

“So the reservoir has boat ramps for public access to each cell, to each 5000-acre cell. We have lots of canoeing and hiking and equestrian facilities planned as well,” Waldeck said.