Why clear access on the right-of-way is important to you
Hurricanes, tropical depressions and sudden thunder storms are some of the severe weather events the District must be prepared to deal with at any given moment. Managing over 500 miles of drainage canals and 1,000 miles of associated rights-of-way is a monumental task that requires experienced staff working daily to maintain the free flow of water in the canal channel and unencumbered access along the canal banks.
Often mistakenly perceiving the District’s rights-of-way as part of their backyard, property owners often seek to enhance these properties with items like trees, fences, sheds or patio decks. These enhancements, or encroachments, can jeopardize public safety during severe weather. Trees and shrubs can fall into the canal, slowing the progression of drainage or cause blockages at major flood control structures. Additionally, structures placed on the right-of-way, like fences or sheds, can obscure sightlines for visual inspections and impede access for maintenance and emergency response by District staff.
To combat this problem, the District has undertaken a comprehensive Canal Rehabilitation Program. The rehabilitation process includes the removal of encroachments and, if needed, reconstruction of canal banks. Last year, the District doubled its efforts to remove trees and encumbrances from its canal rights-of-way to ensure effective drainage for its 750,000 customers in Palm Beach County. Through the District’s Canal Rehabilitation Program, crews have completed the clearing of more than 40 miles of rights-of-way, removing exotic vegetation and structural encroachments such as fences and sheds.