A strange phenomenon is causing lakes in the Orlando region of Florida to rise and flow over adjacent properties. At least three residents have been forced out of their homes in Gotha, a small community about ten miles from Orlando’s downtown district.
The nearby Lake Nally and Fischer Lake have been steadily rising for the past few seasons with no signs of draining back to their original levels. Locals are concerned that the rising water levels will threaten more than just the handful of homes they currently do if nothing is done about this.
Why is the Water Rising?
Ponds and lakes are a common sighting in Florida, so it’s no surprise there are several around Orlando. Some of the residents of Gotha have some educated guesses about why the lakes near their homes are rising so rapidly without falling.
The first is that drought conditions were the norm in the region for the last two decades, and, recently, rainfall has returned to pre-drought levels. Locals have pointed out that during the rainy season, the lakes rise about six feet, but when the rain stops, they don’t fall to their original levels.
The second theory is that recent construction of new subdivisions at higher elevations and the presence of nearby elevated roadways has led to lots of water table runoff. This, in turn, has begun to overload the nearby lakes, the locals surmise.
What is Being Done About This?
After Gotha residents reached out to Orange County officials, they were told that the situation was complex and couldn’t be easily resolved. For one thing, Lake Nally is private property, and thus, not the government’s responsibility.
Ironically, the lake is jointly owned by several organizations, including the Orange County Board of County Commissioners. Residents whose homes have been destroyed by the rising water would then have no recourse but to file suit against the lake’s owners for not addressing the rising water levels themselves.
“We understand and share concern with the residents regarding water levels in Gotha. As you can imagine, it’s a very complex issue,” stated one such county commissioner, Betsy VanderLey. “There is no magic bullet to solve this, but we have been engaged in this issue for quite some time and we continue to work with county staff to assist.”