Recent rains swelling local canals, South Florida Water Management District releases water

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. - Recent rains are swelling local canals in Palm Beach County. The South Florida Water Management District is releasing the water, to help lower the levels.

Randy Smith of the SFWMD says the last thing we need right now, is a hurricane.

"I think without a doubt that would be problematic…to have a tropical storm or hurricane come through right now that's a heavy rain producer because we got a saturated regional system, " said Smith.


The West Palm Beach canal, or C-51, goes back past Wellington to the twenty-mile bend. It transports water from a 500,000 acre basin through a controlled spillway currently running at 660-thousand gallons per minute.

Then the water moves out into the Intracoastal and then into the ocean via the Boynton and Lake Worth inlets.

The C-51 is one of many canals in Palm Beach County that help transport inland rain water back to the coast, then out into the ocean. 

South Florida doesn't really have a place to store water, so the canal system is our only way to help prevent flooding in neighborhoods.

"I think we're in a situation where it's manageable at this point but it really would be nice to have a little extended dry time to let these canals settle down and get them back to levels where we prefer to see it during the wet season" Smith said.

So far, that's not what mother nature has had in mind. In fact, over the last week it has rained a good 3-5 inches county-wide.  

Smith says "This is the first time since 1997 that we've had 4 straight months of above average rainfall."  

That adds up to over a foot above average rainfall so far for the year.

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