Cornerstone of City Water Management Plan Completed
City Can Now Access Billions of Additional Gallons if Needed
April 23, 2013
(West Palm Beach, FL) – What has been called the most important feature of the City of West Palm Beach Drought Management Plan has just been completed.
In 2011, Palm Beach County experienced the worst drought ever recorded in the 88 years of record keeping by the South Florida Water Management District. As a result, the water levels in Clear Lake, the large body of water located along Australian Avenue, significantly dropped. Clear Lake is where the City draws water for its residents. Water makes its way to Clear Lake via an extensive network of canals and storage areas including the city’s Grassy Waters Preserve area.
In 2011, Clear Lake water levels dropped below the City’s ability to draw water from the lake. It was the result of what experts called a 1 in 100 year drought. As a temporary measure, the city installed equipment to be able to access the water at low levels.
Following the drought of 2011, and as a major component of the City’s response to the water situation, the City began construction on a permanent facility that would allow access to Clear Lake water even when the levels drop during extremely dry conditions.
The permanent facility, called the Clear Lake Divide Structure and Pump Station is now up and running.
“This facility has the ability to provide us with billions of gallons of additional water if we need it,” said West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio. “To put that in perspective, our entire city uses approximately 25 million gallons of water per day. So if it never rained, this new facility will give us access to enough additional water to last almost three months”
Fortunately, current water levels are nowhere near drought levels. In fact, right now there is enough water already in the city’s system to last an entire year, and those levels don’t include any rain that falls during the upcoming summer months which are traditionally the wet season.
The new structure allows the city to access water approximately 20 feet lower than it could before. It cost $5.3 million dollars to construct.