From where does the water flowing into the everglades come?

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By Kristy Tolley

The Everglades

The Everglades is a unique wetland ecosystem located in the southern part of Florida. It is a vast network of interconnected rivers, marshes, and mangrove forests that stretches over 1.5 million acres. The Everglades is home to a diverse range of wildlife and plant species, including the American crocodile, the Florida panther, and the endangered Everglades snail kite.

The Importance of Water in the Everglades

Water is essential to the survival of the Everglades. It is the lifeblood of this vast wetland system, providing the necessary nutrients and habitat for the diverse range of plant and animal species that call it home. The water in the Everglades also helps to regulate the natural cycles of flooding and drought, which are crucial for maintaining the delicate balance of this unique ecosystem. Without water, the Everglades would be unable to support the incredible diversity of life that it does today.

The Sources of Water in the Everglades

The water in the Everglades comes from a variety of sources, including rainfall, surface water runoff, groundwater, and stored water in lakes and reservoirs. These sources of water are essential for maintaining the natural cycles of flooding and drying, which are crucial for the survival of the wetland ecosystem.

Surface Water: Rain and Runoff

Rainfall is a significant source of water for the Everglades. In an average year, the Everglades receives approximately 50 inches of rainfall. This rainfall is essential for maintaining the water levels in the wetland system and supporting the growth of the diverse range of plant species found in the Everglades. Additionally, surface water runoff from surrounding areas provides an additional source of water for the wetland ecosystem.

Groundwater: Aquifers and Springs

Groundwater is another vital source of water for the Everglades. Aquifers and springs located in the surrounding areas supply the Everglades with water during times of drought when rainfall is scarce. These underground water sources are also important for maintaining the water quality in the wetland system.

Lake Okeechobee: The Primary Source of Water

Lake Okeechobee is the primary source of water for the Everglades. It is a large freshwater lake located in the northern part of the wetland system. The lake is fed by rainfall, surface water runoff, and groundwater, making it an important source of water for the surrounding areas as well. The water from Lake Okeechobee is released into the Everglades through a series of canals and water control structures, which help to regulate the water levels in the wetland ecosystem.

The Kissimmee River: A Major Contributor

The Kissimmee River is another significant source of water for the Everglades. It is a meandering river that flows from Lake Kissimmee to Lake Okeechobee, supplying the wetland ecosystem with vital freshwater. The Kissimmee River was once straightened and channelized for flood control, but the restoration efforts have successfully returned the river to a more natural state, improving its ability to supply water to the Everglades.

Other Rivers and Canals that Feed the Everglades

In addition to Lake Okeechobee and the Kissimmee River, several other rivers and canals supply water to the Everglades. These include the Caloosahatchee River, the St. Lucie River, and the Miami Canal. The water from these sources is essential for maintaining the water levels in the wetland system and supporting the diverse range of plant and animal species that call the Everglades home.

Human Impacts on the Water Supply

Human activities have had a significant impact on the water supply to the Everglades. Drainage and development projects have altered the natural flow of water, reducing the amount of freshwater that reaches the wetland system. Additionally, pollution from agricultural runoff and urbanization has degraded the quality of water in the Everglades, putting the delicate ecosystem at risk.

Climate Change and the Future of Water in the Everglades

Climate change is expected to have a significant impact on the water supply to the Everglades. Rising sea levels and changes in precipitation patterns are expected to alter the natural flow of water, putting the wetland ecosystem at risk. Additionally, increased temperatures and prolonged droughts could further exacerbate the already stressed water resources in the Everglades.

Conclusion: Maintaining a Healthy Water Supply

The Everglades is a unique and fragile ecosystem that depends on a healthy and adequate supply of water. Protecting this vital resource is crucial to maintaining the diversity of life in the wetland system. Efforts to restore the natural flow of water and reduce pollution are necessary to ensure the long-term survival of this incredible ecosystem.

References and Further Reading

  • National Park Service. (2021). Everglades National Park. Retrieved from https://www.nps.gov/ever/index.htm
  • Florida Department of Environmental Protection. (2021). Water Supply Planning. Retrieved from
  • South Florida Water Management District. (2021). Everglades. Retrieved from
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Kristy Tolley

Kristy Tolley, an accomplished editor at TravelAsker, boasts a rich background in travel content creation. Before TravelAsker, she led editorial efforts at Red Ventures Puerto Rico, shaping content for Platea English. Kristy's extensive two-decade career spans writing and editing travel topics, from destinations to road trips. Her passion for travel and storytelling inspire readers to embark on their own journeys.

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