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Executive Director’s Annual Report to Landowners

Executive Director Tommy Strowd, P.E. presented the Annual Report at the Landowners meeting. Director Strowd highlighted the district’s achievements in 2023 and discussed the goals for 2024. Presentation can be found at www.lwdd.net/wp-content/uploads/2024/01/2024ReportToLandowners_Strowd_20230110.pdf

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Your Question Answered

Where can I find information about LWDD’s bidding process?

LWDD purchases goods and services from various vendors throughout the state. Our procurement practices promote fairness and encourage diversity and are consistent with applicable laws, policies, and procedures. LWDD encourages qualified vendors and contractors to respond to solicitations by submitting offers and proposals. LWDD is now posting its competitive solicitations using the online platform, DemandStar. The link can be found at www.lwdd.net/doing-business . Vendors are not required to pre-register with LWDD, however vendors may choose to sign up for email notifications when business opportunities are posted at www.lwdd.net/enotifications.

Equipment building the bank on a canal

Canal Restoration & Maintenance – What’s Next?

Nearly eight years ago, the Lake Worth Drainage District (LWDD) embarked on a large-scale Canal Rehabilitation Program. The Canal Rehabilitation Program includes removal of trees, vegetation, and structural encroachments located within the LWDD rights-of-way, as well as the restoration of canal banks to their original design to enhance drainage and provide adequate maintenance access.

The initial focus of the Canal Rehabilitation Program was removal of vegetation that threatened drainage and obscured right-of-way access. In 2024, LWDD will complete removal of vegetation from over 180 miles of canal rights-of-way. In the future, the rehabilitation program will shift focus to restoration of canal banks and removal of structural encroachments within the rights-of-way.

Over the decades, some areas of the canal system have experienced erosion or sloughing of soil materials from the canal side walls and/or the buildup of decomposing vegetation on the canal bottoms. These occurrences can modify the shape, location, and depth of the canal. The canal bank restoration projects will bring the affected canals back to optimum flood control function. Operational tasks may include dredging of the canal bottom, reshaping of the canal bank and realignment of the canal channel. Included in the project is the analysis of the LWDD’s canal system with computer-aided modeling. This data will assist water managers with planning for future water control and supply needs.

As seen in the diagram below, the typical design of an LWDD canal allows stormwater runoff to flow away from the canal channel. A proper canal bank design should direct stormwater runoff into the drainage system facilities of the neighborhood such as swales, street drains and stormwater ponds. Regional water management regulations do not permit stormwater to flow over the canal bank and into the canal channel directly. Community associations should note that poorly maintained grading of their property can create pooling or flooding issues during rain events. Additionally, failures in encroaching irrigation pipes, pool drains, or roof gutters may cause dangerous washouts in residential yards and on the LWDD rights-of-way. The association may be liable for damages resulting from the installation of unauthorized encroachments or lack of maintenance. It is in the best interest of the community to plan and budget for future repairs to property grading and the removal or relocation of encroachments.

LWDD looks forward to working with our community associations and residents as we take the next step toward enhanced flood control. For questions or to find out ways you can help with the Canal Rehabilitation Program, contact us at info@lwdd.net.

Graphic of canal design showing the rights of way and slop of canal banks

Australian Pine removal

That’s A Good Question

What are LWDD’s contingency plans for canal maintenance projects that are underway during hurricane season?

The Lake Worth Drainage District is always mindful of the potential effects of severe storms on project sites. Staff regularly monitor weather conditions for potential impacts. Each storm is unique, and the required preparation will be determined depending on the specific weather prediction and status of the project site.

person standing in muddy grassed area

Water VIP: Soil Saturation And Drainage

Many factors must be considered by the water managers at Lake Worth Drainage District (LWDD) when managing a rain event. One factor not often thought of by the average person is the varying water content in the soil which can have a significant impact on the drainage rate and flood control operations.

When dry soil is crushed in the hand, you can see how it is composed of all kinds of particles of different sizes. Most of these particles originate from the degradation of rocks; they are called mineral particles. Some originate from residues of plants or animals; these are called organic particles. The soil particles seem to touch each other, but a much closer look will show there are spaces in between the particles. These spaces are called pores. When the soil is “dry” the pores are mainly filled with air. After irrigation or rainfall, the pores are mainly filled with water.

When it rains, water is applied to the land, and it begins to seep into the soil. This process is called infiltration. The infiltration rate of a soil is the velocity at which water on the surface can seep into it. The rate of infiltration is affected by the texture of the soil. For example, the infiltration of water into a sandy soil is faster than into a clay soil because the texture of clay is much denser than the sandy soil. The infiltration rate of a soil also depends on the existing soil moisture content. The water infiltrates faster when the soil is dry, rather than when it is wet. You can see this when it has been raining for an extended period. Puddling or pooling of water will occur.

If all soil pores are filled with water the soil is said to be saturated and there is little to no air left between the soil particles. It is easy to determine if soil is saturated. If a handful of saturated soil is squeezed, some muddy water will run between your fingers. The period of saturation of the topsoil usually does not last long. After the rain has stopped, part of the water present in the larger pores at the top will move downward. This process is called drainage or percolation. In coarse textured sandy soils, drainage is completed within a period of a few hours. In fine textured clay soils, drainage may take 2-3 days.

The type of soil and degree of saturation is a consideration when managing  water. The flood control function is a balancing act. Water managers must provide adequate drainage for flood control while holding back water for future supply needs. The LWDD has over 100 years of experience in managing the flood control in southeastern Palm Beach County. For more information on water management visit our website at www.lwdd.net.