The South Florida Water Management District operates hundreds of structures and thousands of miles of canals/levees all to move water and support flood control in South Florida. But it’s not just our agency that moves water in our region. Did you know: South Florida has an interconnected drainage system, and flood control in South Florida is a shared responsibility between the District, county and city governments, local drainage districts, homeowners’ associations (HOAs) and residents?
The South Florida Water Management District houses its own specialized Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and Control Room located in West Palm Beach. The Control Room is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year to ensure we provide vital water management services to the people of South Florida.
Our professional technicians in the Control Room work closely with our water managers to open and close structures and move water through a vast system of canals. We also conduct year-round testing and inspections to make sure our well-engineered system is working appropriately.
For storms like Tropical Storm Elsa, the EOC is activated and professionals at the water management district focus their efforts on preparing for and responding to the impacts of heavy rain and wind. They take a range of steps to ensure the primary system, operated by the South Florida Water Management District, can receive rainwater from local drainage systems. You may see canals or lakes lower than normal before storms as water managers temporarily “draw down” the system to create more room for anticipated stormwater. Since local governments, drainage districts, and HOAs are primarily responsible for drainage in your community, we also encourage them to ensure their pumps and systems are routinely tested and ready to handle storm events.
Supporting flood control is a shared responsibility, and residents can do their part too. You can help by:
- Ensuring neighborhood drains are clear from debris,
- Bringing in items that may blow away during a storm, including lawn clippings and recently trimmed limbs,
- Being prepared to see water flowing through streets, ditches, and drains during storm events, and
- Knowing who to call if you experience flooding. Type in your address and look up your local drainage operator at SFWMD.gov/FloodControl.
Water is in our blood. Hundreds of hard-working employees throughout our 16-county area are on the job to maintain our water management infrastructure that helps keep communities dry, supports our environmental restoration efforts, and provides water to South Florida communities.