The Lake Worth Drainage District (District) is considered a ‘Diversion & Impoundment’ water management system under the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) rule for consumptive water use. A diversion and impoundment system will divert surface water through a pump or water control structure, or a combination of surface and groundwater to a conveyance canal which the owner has legal control to operate and maintain for the purposes of providing for the reasonable and beneficial demands of secondary users.
There are two categories of secondary users, independent and dependent. The distinction between these two categories is related to the way the secondary user attains its consumptive water use right. Unless exempt, independent secondary users must obtain a consumptive water use right through their own South Florida Water Management District permit. Dependent secondary users may be incorporated into the Lake Worth Drainage District’s permit. An example of an independent user is a municipal water utility or residential community with retention ponds/lakes. Dependent users may be agricultural landowners or individual property owners who have historical water use rights.
The District’s main source of consumptive water use is allocated from SFMWD canals and Water Conservation Area 1. Because the water within the District’s canal system is used to recharge the surficial aquifer and some municipal wellfields, it is important to keep water levels in the canals at beneficial elevations to protect drinking water supplies.