May 2017
Flood Control Does Not Equal Flood Proof
Flooding can occur if rainfall exceeds the drainage design
During most rain events, drainage systems do not require any human intervention. Since the mid-1970s, development standards for drainage systems have been regulated through design and permitting to ensure established flood control parameters. Average rainfall will flow through swales and drains into onsite stormwater retention ponds or lakes. During heavy rain events, flood control systems are designed to protect house floor pads from flooding. However, temporary flooding of streets, sidewalks and parking lots is expected. This type of flooding is temporary and in most cases will clear within 24 to 72 hours. Flooding of interior buildings can occur when an extreme volume of rain falls in a brief period of time and exceeds the flood control design. Flooding can also occur when culverts and storm drains are blocked with debris or are in need of repair. Year-round maintenance is key to quality flood control. For more information, visit our website at
The Community's Role In Flood Control
Know your role and be ready for severe weather
In South Florida, flood control is a shared responsibility and is achieved through an interconnected, three-tiered drainage system. This three-tiered system is made up of tertiary or neighborhood drainage systems 
operated by property owners or residential associations, secondary drainage systems which are operated by the District, county or municipalities, and the primary system is operated by the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD). These three systems work together to provide effective flood control.   

Water managers in charge of primary and secondary systems are continually monitoring the weather and canal levels to proactively respond to changes in canal elevations. In anticipation of a storm or heavy rainfall event, water managers will make operational adjustments to maintain appropriate water elevations for flood control. Additionally throughout the year, routine canal maintenance is conducted to provide unobstructed flow of water and clear access to canal rights-of- way.

Property owners and residential associations have a similar role. They must maintain their drainage infrastructure to ensure that inlets, pipes and discharge control structures are free of potential blockages and working as designed thus maintaining the flow of stormwater. Annual inspection of drainage infrastructure should be made and repairs should be completed before the start of storm season.

The public also plays a key role in emergency response. Unauthorized enhancements on canal rights-of-way such as landscaping, fences, swing-sets and patio furniture, can severely hinder the District's ability to access its water control structures and canals. Vegetation and other encroachments along the canals may cause blockages, slow the progression of drainage and reduce response time in an emergency event. Visit our website at and try to identify all the encroachments pictured.
Neighborhood Discharge Control Structures 
Understanding your neighborhood discharge control structure
Most modern-day communities utilize a control structure to regulate their rate of stormwater discharge. Excess stormwater from neighborhood drainage systems will continually discharge into District canals through the control structure until the designed water elevation is achieved in the retention lakes and ponds.There are two types of discharge control structures; fixed and operable. An operable structure has a plate, wooden board or weir that can be opened to manually release excess stormwater. A fixed structure cannot be adjusted to discharge additional stormwater. 

It is very important that neighborhood control structures are not opened during storm events. This is to prevent canal water from back-flowing into community lakes. Authorization to open neighborhood control structures must be obtained by the District and will only be given during emergency situations and only before or after a severe rainfall event. The individual responsible for the operation of the discharge control structures should register with the District to ensure they are receiving important news and weather alerts. Registration can be completed 
through our website at

The Atlantic Hurricane Season begins June 1. Now is the time to inspect and make needed repairs to community drainage systems. Don't wait until a storm is approaching before taking action.
H2O Fun Fact

Water expands by 9% when it freezes. Frozen water (ice) is lighter than water, which is why ice floats. 

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Board of Supervisors Workshop

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Picture This!

Removal of potentially dangerous vegetation on canal right-of-way

That's a Good Question

Why not keep the canal water elevations lower throughout the Hurricane Season?

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Contact Us
Lake Worth Drainage District
13081 S. Military Trail
Delray Beach, FL 33484
Phone: (561) 498-5363
Fax: (561) 495-9694
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