E-3 Canal north of Linton Blvd. - blocked right-of-way

LWDD Cleans Up After Irma

Following Hurricane Irma, the Lake Worth Drainage District identified more than 350 sites along its 500-mile canal network which require debris removal. Nearly half of the sites identified included debris in the canal channels which could potentially threaten drainage by restricting water flow or creating blockages at water control structures.

District field crews were immediately mobilized after the storm passed to begin the clean-up process, focusing first on the most problematic areas that might affect drainage. To date, approximately half of these priority projects have been completed. Once canal channels are cleared of debris, District crews will begin removing downed trees and vegetation located on canal rights-of-way. All hurricane debris removal projects are expected to be complete within six weeks.

The impacts of Hurricane Irma highlight the importance of keeping canal rights-of-way free of trees, vegetation and other encumbrances. Last year, the Lake Worth Drainage District doubled its efforts to remove trees and encumbrances from canal rights-of-way to ensure effective drainage for its 750,000 customers in Palm Beach County. Prior to Hurricane Irma, crews completed the clearing of more than 25 miles of rights-of-way, removing exotic vegetation and structural encroachments such as fences and sheds.

“As a result of our accelerated efforts, we are in a much better position today than we would have been if this storm happened five years ago. It only takes one tree to obstruct water flow and create potential drainage issues for thousands of residents,” said Robert Brown, LWDD Executive Director.

Maintaining canal rights-of-way free of vegetation and encumbrances is a continual challenge for many water control districts. Florida’s tropical climate is ideal for the proliferation of exotic vegetation which must be continually treated or removed. Also, many residents that live adjacent to drainage canals identify the public rights-of-way as part of their backyards and often plant trees or construct fences that could ultimately end up in the canal channel during a storm event.

Following hurricane recovery efforts, the District will continue its program to clear an additional 100+ miles of encumbered canal rights-of-way with expected completion by 2021.

Click here for photos and videos of Hurricane Irma’s impacts and recovery efforts.

Lets Keep The Water Flowing

Email LWDD if maintenance in the canal system is needed

LWDD makes every effort to provide a well-maintained canal system and residents can help with this mission. Report issues  that may affect flood control such as: canal erosion, bank washouts, trash, unauthorized use of the right-of-way and improperly maintained access gates. Email the location, description of the issue, and photo if possible, to info@lwdd.net. LWDD staff will  prioritize and address issues based on the potential threat to effective flood control.

What Is A Bleed Down Orifice?

In stormwater retention ponds/lakes, a discharge control structure is used to regulate the flow rate of stormwater leaving a site. The bleed down orifice is an opening in the structure which is set at a designed elevation. As the water rises in the retention pond/lake, it discharges through the bleed down orifice until the designed elevation is achieved. Learn how to maintain these structure by watching our online video “Getting to Know Your Drainage System” at www.lwdd.net/resources/videos-publications


Its Raining! What should I Expect?

Knowing what to expect can help ease flooding anxiety

When lake elevations rise due to rain, stormwater will flow through the community’s discharge control structure and into a LWDD canal. Without human intervention, stormwater continually discharges from the community until the designed water elevation in the lake is achieved. During a severe storm, flooding in streets, sidewalks and driveways is expected. These low-lying areas are designed as secondary detention areas to protect homes from flooding. However, flood control does not mean “flood proof.” Even with quality flood control, homes can flood if rainfall exceeds the drainage design. The following is a description of the possible effects from heavy rainfall that property owners might expect within the boundaries of the District.

  • 5 to 6 inches of rainfall in a 24-hour period; expect standing water in yards, swales and ditches. Crowns of community roads should remain dry and passable.
  • 7 to 9 inches of rainfall in a 72-hour period; expect community swales, roads, lawns and driveways to flood as designed. Finished floors of homes should remain dry.
  • 15 to 23 inches or more of rainfall in a 72-hour period; expect some houses and businesses to experience finished floor flooding.


Don’t Waste Your Time & Money

Property owners who desire to connect to, place structures in or across, or make use of the District’s canal rights-of-way must submit the appropriate permit application. Staff will review individual applications to ensure projects meet the criteria set forth in the District’s Operating Policies and do not interfere with District access, operations or maintenance activities. Some permit applications may require additional approval by the District’s Board of Supervisors. It is always recommended to check with the District and review your survey to verify property lines before any construction project. Don’t waste your time and money, contact us at info@lwdd.net with your permitting questions or if you are unsure as to whether a permit is required for your project.