The costs for clean water in South Florida keep coming. Taxpayers have spent billions on Lake Okeechobee and the Everglades water system to store, move and clean water before it flows off to the sea. The problem is the bill never gets fully paid. The dike rimming the big lake, the canals, pumps and filter marshes all need to be maintained. And then there’s money and work needed to restore all the ecological damage that’s piled up over the last century or so. The state budget for managing water and planning and building water control and quality structures is just under $727 million for 2017. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is in the middle of a $1.6 billion Herbert Hoover Dike repair that’s expected to better protect the 40,000 or so people who live in rural farming communities south of Lake Okeechobee.
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