Where We Stand:
The C&SF Project was first authorized by Congress in 1948. It is a multi-purpose civil works project that provides flood control, supplies water for municipal, industrial, and agricultural uses, prevents saltwater intrusion, supplies water for Everglades National Park, and protects fish and wildlife resources. The primary system includes about 1,000 miles of levees, 720 miles of canals, and almost 200 water control structures. Local governments and the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) actively coordinate to support water management planning, operations, and investments.
The C&SF Project is now nearly 80 years beyond its original design, yet still serves as the central means for protecting the region’s 6 million residents from flooding. Meanwhile, the region is dealing with changes in the physical environment including increased rainfall and sea level rise. A 2009 analysis by the SFWMD noted that 18 flood control structures were already within 6 inches of their design capacity. Based on Army Corps projections and sea level rise to date, we expect to hit this threshold by 2035.
The challenge is not just limited to Southeast Florida, as vulnerabilities have been identified across the SFWMD’s operations in 16 counties, and include flooding, storm surge impacts, and exposed water supplies. A properly functioning C&SF Project is vital to our livelihood and way of life in South Florida and is the cornerstone around which all regional investments are calibrated.
The Section 216 Flood Risk Management Study of the C&SF flood control system was provided $500,000 in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 Omnibus federal spending package and has been recommended to receive an additional $475,000 in the USACE FY 2023 budget. The USACE and the SFWMD anticipate signing the cost-share agreement by September.
Unfortunately, given its limited authorization, the Section 216 Study will only investigate coastal salinity structures, not the inland flood control structures and resilience needs that are critical to the economic vitality of the region. Instead, a separate, more comprehensive study of the C&SF Flood Control System is required.
The C&SF Comprehensive Review Study is critical to assess the full extent of Florida’s aging flood control system given sea level rise and higher water table conditions to ensure its resilience. The proposed study is the highest ranked new study recommendation to come from the South Atlantic Coastal Study (SACS). The anticipated goal of the study is to minimize risks to community lifelines (safety and security, food, water, shelter, health and medical, energy, communications, transportation and hazardous materials) and to the overall quality of life of South Florida’s communities and their environment through the implementation of strategies to increase resilience in the region. The USACE and the SFWMD will each be responsible for 50% of the study cost.
Issues Team designees will advocate for the authorization of the C&SF Resiliency Comprehensive Study in the Water Resources and Development Act (WRDA) 2022. Additionally, Issues Team members should educate the Congressional delegation on the timeline for completion of the C&SF Resiliency Study that will ultimately lead to construction.
What We Want:
The Chamber urges Congress to maintain the authorizing language for the C&SF Comprehensive Resiliency Study in the House version of WRDA 2022 during conference negotiations. Additionally, the Chamber urges Congress to continue to appropriate $500,000 for the Section 216 Flood Risk Management Study of the C&SF in the FY 2023 budget.
For more information, contact:
- Dr. Jennifer Jurado, Broward County
- Dr. Alec Bogdanoff, Brizaga (Economic Resilience Chair)
- Devon West, Broward County
- Marty Cassini, Broward County