Ridge Lakes Recovery Options

The Ridge Lakes area is in the Southern Water Use Caution Area (SWUCA), a region of the District where groundwater withdrawals have caused adverse impacts to the water resources.

The District is identifying and prioritizing recovery options for Lake Wailes, which is an impacted waterbody in the Ridge Lakes area that does not meet its adopted Minimum Flows and Levels.

Staff is working with stakeholders to identify opportunities to recover the lake. Specific project options may include, but are not limited to:

  • Implementing conservation and best management practices to reduce groundwater withdrawal effects
  • Shifting withdrawals away from impacted lakes
  • Deepening nearby wells
  • Replacing existing groundwater withdrawals with alternative water supplies
  • Augmenting impacted lakes or the surrounding water table using treated surface water and/or reclaimed water

This project is part of the District’s SWUCA Recovery Strategy and the Central Florida Water Initiative. One of the goals of the SWUCA Recovery Strategy is to restore minimum levels of nine of the 10 priority lakes in the Lake Wales Ridge area.

If effective, the process developed for Lake Wailes will be applied to the other Ridge lakes not meeting adopted minimum levels.

The Process

Phase I: The District will be working with stakeholders, including the water use permit holders, to identify and prioritize project options for Lake Wailes in Polk County.

Phase II: Conduct technical feasibility of the identified options.

Phase III: Provide conceptual-level design and cost analyses of options.

Phase IV: Coordinate with project partners to develop and initiate a project implementation plan.