The Lake Worth Drainage District (LWDD) 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 collect and 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 SFWMD permit. In this category, water from the LWDD canal system may not be used for irrigation or other purposes. An example of an independent user is a municipal water utility or residential community with retention ponds.
Dependent secondary users are incorporated into the LWDD’s permit. Their water use is calculated into the quantity of water allocated to the LWDD. Dependent users may be agricultural landowners or individual property owners who have historical water use rights. The LWDD’s main source of consumptive water use is allocated from Water Conservation Area 1 located within the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee Wildlife Refuge. During droughts, water allocation may be made from Lake Okeechobee under the guidance of the SFWMD.