Roadway storm drain blocked by fallen leaves

Leaves Can Cause Flooding

See how a few leaves caused local street flooding in one South Florida neighborhood. Click the link to watch this incredible video

man picking up trash from storm drain

Adopt A Storm Drain

Debris blocking storm drains can be a local flooding hazard. Even an average afternoon rainstorm can cause local street flooding if the water has nowhere to go. Just a small amount of debris and trash on top of a drain grate can reduce drainage capacity. By keeping the storm drain clear of debris, it can function as designed allowing storm water to flow away from your home and discharge into flood control canals.

Some helpful tools for cleaning a storm drain include: a broom, a rake, a trash grabber, gloves, an orange cone and/or safety vest, a shovel or dustpan and a pail or yard waste bag. Never remove the grate or otherwise attempt to clean inside the catch basin. Clean only the surface of the storm drains grate and the area around it. If the drain appears to be plugged or have any problems, contact your community board/property manager or local municipality to address the issue.

Adopting a storm drain only takes a small amount of time. Let friends and neighbors know about your commitment and invite them to adopt a storm drain too.

Hurricane Season sign

Only A Month Away

Florida’s hurricane season begins on June 1 and ends November 30. 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 crucial step is the pre-storm inspection and maintenance of drainage infrastructure. Drainage infrastructure can include inlets, discharge control structures, connecting pipes and ponds. Proper maintenance of these facilities will ensure unobstructed flow of stormwater away from homes and fully operational equipment.

Secondly, residential communities and businesses with operable discharge control structures can request authorization from the Lake Worth Drainage District (LWDD) to open these structures prior to the storm. Lowering pond levels before the hurricane arrives can provide additional storage for excess stormwater. LWDD recommends the 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 one or more individuals like board members, residents and/or property managers. All members of the Drainage committee should register with LWDD on its website at This registration process ensures the LWDD knows who to contact and where to send important weather alerts and instructions.

During the storm event, follow emergency management instructions via local news and take appropriate actions to keep yourself, family and property safe. For safety reasons most emergency personnel will not be deployed during a weather event. Only when winds have subsided will response operations begin.

Depending on the volume and duration of rainfall, expect streets, sidewalks, driveways and lawns to flood. These areas are designed to function 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. During the storm event LWDD personnel will be monitoring canal elevations and making operational adjustments to major flood control structures. This work can be conducted during the storm via wireless mobile devices and provides 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. Do not drive on flooded roadways as 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 life-threatening accidents can occur.

No system, no matter how well designed, is 100% flood proof. The likelihood of flooding depends on several variables such as rainfall volume, ground saturation and local terrain. But collaborating closely with communities, businesses and other water management agencies, LWDD can help keep you and your property safe from flooding.

Bird on the canal bank

You Question Answered

What is the purpose of the canal right-of-way?

The canal rights-of-way are public property. The primary purpose of canal banks and channels is for providing flood control. LWDD requires clear unencumbered access for regular maintenance and emergencies. Response time is critical when trying to prevent flooding. It may appear that the District right-of-way is wider than it needs to be. This may be true if all the District did in this area was to mow the ground vegetation from the canal berms and the channel side slopes.  However, from time to time the District also needs access for much larger equipment for canal dredging and erosion repairs, and, more importantly, access to the channel for clean-up of debris during and after storm events.

Your Question Answered

When do I need a permit from LWDD?

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. Contact us at info@lwdd.netwith your permitting questions or if you are unsure as to whether a permit is required for your project.