July 2017
Reflecting On 102 Years Of Flood Control
Orrin Randolph's idea forever changed our landscape
Dredging of C. Stanley Weaver Canal
The District was established on June 15, 1915 with the mission of reclaiming lands within its boundary. Before 1915, a considerable amount of drainage work had been completed by the State, devel opers,  private landowners a nd farmers. Although small drainage systems had been created, a cohesive long-term drainage plan was needed for the expansion of the area we now know as southeastern Palm Beach County.
 
In the spring of 1916, Orrin Randolph, Chief Engineer for the newly created Lake Worth Drainage District, presented his first report to the Board of Supervisors. This report contained 127 pages detailing  the characteristics of the District and the means and methods for draining lands within its boundary. At that time, the District consisted of 129,317 acres of land and 3,400 acres of water. It was rectangular in shape and extended 26 miles in length and 8 miles in width. Population records of 1916 reported there were 6,500 owners of property within the District making the average land ownership equal to 20 acres per capita. Approximately  400 farmers were cultivating an estimated 5,000 acres. 
 
Pineapple Farmers
Identified in the report were areas that could not be relied upon for agricultural uses. Randolph wrote,
"Provisions for artificial drainage would absolutely be necessary in order to provide a run-off rapid enough to prevent the destruction of crops as a result of accumulated excess water on the land." The report proceeded to outline an extensive interconnected system of canals that would provide the drainage needed for future development. Thus, Randolph's report was adopted by the Board of Supervisors as the "Plan of Reclamation" with the understanding that the implementation of such a plan would forever change the landscape of this area.
Managing Water For Homeowners And Farmers
The past and future of flood control within the District
Farm in Delray Beach, FL
In the early years, agriculture dominated the area. However, rapid urbanization of the region began in the 1950's and has continued to the present day. The change in land use increased the quantity of rainfall runoff directed into the drainage system during wet periods. The State of Florida created regional water management districts and implemented regulations to manage stormwater. Today, new development projects are required to construct lakes and ponds to collect stormwater associated with rainfall. These practices enhance flood control efforts and avoid inundating local drainage networks.
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LWDD Control Structure No. 3
In the 1960's through the 1980's, water supply pumping stations were added to the water resource system of the District. These pumps work to maintain groundwater recharge to support both agriculture and urban supplemental irrigation demands. This same system also recharges the aquifers that serve several municipal well fields in the region. The need for quality flood control and adequate water supply must be balanced effectively. While excess water must be discharged for flood control, some water must be held back in storage to recharge the groundwater supply during dry periods
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Farming and development co-exist
While agriculture and development are sometimes at odds over land use policy or management practices, 
these two groups share a respect for each other and an appreciation for the lifestyle their co-existence fosters. For example, the term 'farm to table' is widely used in the restaurant industry increasing the market share for locally grown food and the ability to shop at a neighborhood farmer's market is an amenity coveted by many homebuyers. Living and working side by side, these two groups have created this highly desirable community we enjoy.
Blast From The Past
Watch the 12 part video series, "LWDD Centennial Moment"
Discover the origins of the LWDD. Through photos and narratives, viewers will learn how the District developed into one of the largest drainage districts in the State of Florida and discover its important water management mission. Visit our website and begin your journey through 100 years of LWDD history at www.lwdd.net/resources/videos-publications#toggle-id-2.
H2O Fun Fact
The average person's breath is about 4% water by volume. That amounts to about 20ml of water vapor per breath. If we average 20 breaths per minute, and 8 hours of sleep, that would come to 20ml x 20 breaths per minute x 60 minutes per hour x 8 hours = 192 liters of water lost during the night!
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Lake Worth Drainage District
13081 S. Military Trail
Delray Beach, FL 33484
Phone: (561) 498-5363
Fax: (561) 495-9694
Email: info@lwdd.net
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