Why doesn’t the Lake Worth Drainage District (LWDD) keep the canal water elevations lower in preparation for the storm season? Seems like a good idea, but the LWDD network of canals does more than provide drainage for flood control. LWDD’s water management system helps to protect regional water supplies for all the residents, businesses and agricultural land within its boundary.
During normal operations, canal water levels are maintained to hold water higher than sea level to prevent saltwater from encroaching and polluting existing freshwater wells for numerous municipal water utilities. Once polluted with saltwater the well can no longer be used for drinking water supplies and alternative sources will be needed.
LWDD’s water managers are continually monitoring weather systems and canal levels to proactively respond to heavy rainfall events. In anticipation of a heavy rainfall event, the LWDD water control structures are opened to maintain appropriate water levels in the system for flood control. However, this operation must consider the potential environmental risks. As control structure gates are opened, water is discharged to the ocean and cannot be recovered for water supply. These freshwater discharges may also adversely impact environmentally sensitive areas such as the Lake Worth Lagoon.
For these reasons, drainage is often referred to as a balancing act between flood control protection and supply needs. LWDD has over 100 years of experience in the operation of stormwater management within our boundary. To learn more about LWDD’s water management function, visit our website at www.lwdd.net.