The Lake Worth Drainage District was created on June 15, 1915, under Chapter 6458 of the 1913 General Drainage Laws of Florida. Currently, the District operates as an independent special district under Chapter 2009-258, Laws of Florida, and under Chapters 189 and 298, Florida Statutes.
The Lake Worth Drainage District was created for the purposes of:
- Reclaiming, draining, and irrigating the lands within its boundary
- Providing water control and water supply
- Protecting the lands within its boundary from the effects of water by means of the construction and maintenance of canals, ditches, levees, dikes, pumping stations, and other works
- Providing improvements for the purpose of making the area habitable for both settlement and agriculture
In 2015, the District celebrated its centennial with the creation of a 12 part video series of historical moments. You can view these videos at http://www.lwdd.net/resources/videos-publications.
Agricultural Land and Settlement
The Lake Worth Drainage District has a rich history with the agricultural community. The establishment of the Lake Worth Drainage District in 1915 provided water management to drain lands for the migration of habitats but also revealed fruitful lands for food production. Though the agricultural production of early settlers was just enough to feed themselves, it marked the beginning of a booming industry that would grow into a billion dollar economy and ultimately support staggering population growth.
Since 1879, when the first tomato field was planted in the area now known as Lake Worth, Palm Beach County has become known as the Winter Vegetable Capital of the United States. Two very different areas produce 26 major crops. The western area, often referred to as the “Glades” because the land was once part of the Everglades, hosts nutrient-rich muck soil famous for its sugar and rice production. In the eastern portion of the county mostly in or near Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Boca Raton, Wellington, Jupiter, and Loxahatchee Groves, the sandy soil is excellent for growing vegetables and landscape vegetation.
Agriculture in our area no longer exists to only feed the local inhabitants, and the migration of people continues to increase annually. The Lake Worth Drainage District has modified its mission over the century to meet the new demands of these two diversified communities. Much of the District’s emphasis today is on residential flood protection. Although meeting the needs of agriculture and settlement can bring many challenges, it is because they co-exist that makes living and working in our community desirable.