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Final Four
ELGL’s Best of Water

Using Data and Creativity to Reduce Flooding

Orlando, FL, USA
City of Orlando

Government Champion

Public Work's/Streets and Stormwater Division


15 Million USD
10 Thousand USD

Project Status

In Progress/Under Construction since 2017

At a Glance

The City of Orlando plans to upgrade Lake Monitoring stations as part of this project. These stations will communicate rain intensity.duration data to the cloud via wireless connectivity. This information will be used to create an Orlando Unit Hydrograph curve to model storm events within the Orlando watershed

Problem Addressed

The project will start in the Southeast Lakes Basin. The basin is approximately 4 square miles and encompasses 8 lakes. This basin is "land locked" and therefore relies on street and in-lake drainwells to control localized flooding. During and following Tropical Storm Gordon in 1994, an off-ramp from SR408 was closed for over a week due to flooding associated with Lake Lucerne. Due to the proximity to several hospitals, retirement high-rises and nursing homes, this route is extremely critical to emergency medical traffic. New storm sewers interconnecting these lakes, coupled with the enhanced computerized lake level monitoring, will address flooding concerns and will also greatly enhance the City's ability to manage low-water flows and levels during drought conditions. Furthermore, the project includes the recognition of the water quality component of street runoff entering the Upper Floridan Aquifer via these wells. We have implemented a requirement to upgrade each well intake to include nutrient separation baffle boxes.

City of Orlando used/is using technology and innovation to address this/these challenge(s).

Solution(s) Used

The implementation of the Lake Level Monitoring program will enable City staff to monitor the lakes in real-time and make adjustments before storm events to help mitigate flooding of critical infrastructure and significant residential communities. Currently the flood mitigation is managed through staff knowledge. This project will allow the City to capture the historical knowledge of the lake level/flood mitigation/water quality management expertise that currently resides in the hearts and minds of our long term staff. We will be able to track, measure and methodically adjust water levels to meet the ever changing weather patterns that are occurring in central Florida. This project will eventually tie into the National Weather Model for forecasting lake levels based on 2-3 day weather forecasting. The photos attached demonstrate what occurs during an extreme event and what the project will help to address more proactively - not the tree but the nutrients from the trees entering the system and causing flooding and algal blooms.


  1. Reduction in the amount of nutrients (total nitrogen and total phosphorous) entering the Upper Floridan Aquifer
  2. Reduce the number of flooding complaints within the basin
  3. Reduce the response time for emergency medical staff during intense storm events

Something Unique

Holistic approach to stormwater runoff - flood mitigation through the utilization of technology, staff expertise and stormwater modeling in conjunction with the National Water Model.

Who Should Consider?

All communities that have land-locked drainage basins that are struggling to meet their nutrient reduction requirements while addressing residential and commercial flooding.

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