trees with wind

Before, During & After The Storm

Florida’s hurricane season begins on June 1 and ends November 30. Based on historical weather records dating back to the 1950s, a typical season will average 12 tropical storms with sustained winds of at least 39 miles per hour, of which six may turn into hurricanes with winds of 74 miles per hour or more. In addition to high winds, hurricanes and tropical storms can bring torrential rainfall. These severe weather events can produce localized flooding that can be exacerbated by improperly maintained drainage systems.

Residential communities and businesses can help mitigate the impacts from severe storms with a few simple steps. One of the most important steps is the regular inspection and maintenance of drainage infrastructure. Drainage infrastructure can include inlets, discharge control structures, connecting pipes and lakes. Proper maintenance of these facilities will ensure unobstructed flow of stormwater and fully operational equipment. Secondly, residential communities and businesses with operable discharge control structures can request authorization from the Lake Worth Drainage District to open these structures prior to the storm. Lowering lake levels provides additional storage for excess stormwater. The Lake Worth Drainage District recommends establishment of a Drainage Committee whose role is to provide for the maintenance and operation of the community or business’ drainage system. Drainage Committees may consist of board members, residents and/or property managers. All members of the Drainage Committee should register with the Lake Worth Drainage District on its website at www.lwdd.net. This registration process ensures the Lake Worth Drainage District knows who to contact and where to send important weather alerts and instructions.

During the storm event, follow emergency management instructions via the television or radio and take appropriate actions to keep yourself, family and property safe. In most circumstances, emergency personnel will not be deployed during the weather event. Depending on the volume and duration of rainfall, expect streets, sidewalks, driveways and lawns to flood. These areas are designed to act as secondary detention areas and help to keep water away from homes and businesses. This flooding is temporary and will begin to recede after an event has passed. Using its SCADA Automated System, District personnel will be monitoring canal elevations and making operational adjustments to major flood control structures as needed. This work can be conducted during the storm via wireless mobile devices and provide instantaneous response to changes in water elevations.

It may be tempting to explore outside but stay indoors after the storm. For your safety and to keep roadways clear for emergency response vehicles stay inside until told otherwise by authorities. Do not attempt to walk in flooded areas. Flood water may be unsanitary and there may be downed power lines or other hazards that are not visible. Also, do not attempt to drive through flooded areas. Vehicles can become unstable and float in as little as a few inches of water. Additionally, canal banks may fail and roadways may be affected by sinkholes. The location of roads and sidewalks may not be discernible from canals and lakes and life-threatening accidents can occur.

While weather predictions are becoming more sophisticated, forecasters are still unable to predict exactly where a storm will make landfall. The likelihood of flooding depends on several variables such as rainfall volume, ground moisture and local terrain. No system, no matter how well designed, is 100% flood proof. The Lake Worth Drainage District works closely with residential associations, businesses and other water management agencies to help keep you and your property safe from potential flooding.

GIS Snap Shot

Got Maps?

GIS data and various maps are available to the public on our online GIS Mapping Portal located on the top menu bar under the tab Resources. On the portal you will find maps and information on LWDD’s boundaries, canals, water control structures, permits and maintenance activities. If you cannot find what you are looking for, contact us at 561-498-5363 or email info@lwdd.net.

Control Structure

LWDD’s Role In Water Conservation

Florida is fortunate to receive over 50 inches of rainfall a year on average. Most of that amount is concentrated during the six-month rainy season (May through October). While some of the runoff from these rains is discharged to the ocean to avoid flooding, a significant amount soaks into the ground and recharges the freshwater aquifers that supply our drinking water wellfields, lakes and wetlands.

For large populations of people to live safely in south Florida, a massive regional water management system is required to balance the water supply needs of urban areas and water uses of agriculture against the requirement to maintain flood protection. If we did not provide adequate drainage to the region, human health and safety would be jeopardized and extensive property damage could occur. Similarly, if regional groundwater levels were not properly maintained, wellfields would be unable to deliver water to our homes and businesses, or worse yet, the underground inland migration of salt water from the ocean could permanently contaminate the drinking water supply rendering it unsafe for potable uses.

Water conservation efforts by the LWDD help mitigate some of the water supply issues our region experiences. The large network of LWDD canals plays a critical role in conservation by maintaining groundwater levels which in turn supports the water levels in lakes, ponds and wetlands across the region. During dry periods, groundwater levels tend to slowly fall in response to low rain and high evaporation. When this occurs, water managers in the region look to large regional storage areas like the Water Conservation Areas in the Everglades or to Lake Okeechobee as a source of supplemental water. Water from these sources is released into the canal network to raise the level of water in the canals. This water in turn seeps through the sandy soils to recharge the groundwater and returns the water table to its normal elevation thus helping to protect drinking water supplies.

The LWDD’s efforts, to manage drainage canals at appropriate elevations to balance water supply needs and avoid ocean discharges when possible, plays a key role in comprehensive water conservation for South Florida.

Employee photo

LWDD’s Employee Of The Year

Employee awarded for excellence

Vickie Demerski has been chosen by her peers as the Employee of the Year for 2017. Ms. Demerski has been with the District for 30 years and currently holds the position of Executive Assistant in the Field Operations Department.

During normal District operations, Ms. Demerski tracks maintenance requests and complaints from the public. She documents each call and transmits the information to the appropriate staff for investigation. Upon completion, she closes the service request and documents the outcome, ensuring that the public’s concerns are addressed. Ms. Demerski often deals with anxious or disgruntled callers, but treats all callers with respect, patience and a little bit of humor. Many residents have expressed how friendly and helpful she is, even if they did not get the answer they were hoping for.

Ms. Demerski also plays an important role in emergency response. During major storm events, she takes calls from the public notifying the District of potential flood hazards.  If needed, she willingly works after business hours answering calls and providing critical information to field crews.

Ms. Demerski possesses an extensive knowledge of the District’s canal system and demonstrates a willingness to help her co-workers whenever needed. Her excellent interaction with residents assists not only staff members in the Field Operations Department but other departments such as Public Outreach and Right-of-Way Compliance.