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Historical data details Gotha flooding problem

Residents say issue has never been worse

GOTHA, Fla. – Satellite images give us a better look at flooding problems in the Gotha community over the years.

Residents first brought the issue to News 6 last week when the website Gotha Floods was created.

Some residents said they believe new nearby housing developments and interstate expansion are to blame.

Florida's Turnpike Enterprise responded to these concerns, saying:

"During the past year, our engineers have met with some of the Gotha residents who reached out to us about their concerns. We are not aware of any recent complaints specifically related to Lake Nally Woods Drive. But we are always working with our partners, including Orange County and the St. Johns River Water Control District, regarding nearby residents' concerns. As always, Turnpike projects are designed to meet FDOT and water management district criteria. This particular project included floodplain compensation and a design that did not increase roadway runoff to any adjacent roads, homes or developments."

Orange County District 1 Commissioner Betsy VanderLey said: "We understand and share concern with the residents regarding water levels in Gotha. As you can imagine it's a very complex issue. There is a history of flooding in this closed basin which has been exacerbated by record rainfalls last year in the area - (15.42 inches above average in 2018). 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." Satellite images show the growth around Gotha from 1990 to 2018, with hundreds of homes built and new ramps put in for the Florida Turnpike.

1990 satellite image
1990 satellite image

The image above shows 1990 water levels.

[SATELLITE IMAGES: Gotha water levels 1990-present]

This is not the first time these lakes have flooded. News 6 obtained complaints to the county about flooding that date as far back as 1998. "This is unprecedented flooding on Lake Nally and other lakes in Gotha," Theresa Schretzmann-Myers, vice president of Nehrling Gardens, told News 6. "Dr. Nehrling came here in the 1880s and he planted those bamboos well above the 100-year flood plain. But now they are being flooded out and we're going to lose them quickly if we don't resolve the situation."

2018 satellite image
2018 satellite image

The image above shows 2018 water levels. News 6 has tried several times to talk on camera with a representative from the Orange County Public Works Department. Orange County leaders previously said Lake Nally is a private, not a public, water body. “The county is amenable to discussing options for the homeowners to undertake to alleviate any flooding on Lake Nally Woods Drive,” leaders said. Scrolls through the gallery below to see the area lake water levels through the years.


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