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Assessment of Lake System Deficiencies for Low Water Levels
Danforth Creek Subdivision, Palm City, FL

The Danforth Creek subdivision is located in Palm City, Florida and its stormwater management system consists of four (4) interconnected lakes, inlets along streets and in open areas and two outfalls with control structures. The primary outfall discharges to the South Fork St. Lucie River via the Pipers landing Slough conveyance system (CS1). A secondary outfall discharges excess runoff to Danforth Creek (CS2).

Problem: Lake levels in the Danforth Creek subdivision dropped significantly. Irrigation intake pipes were exposed as the lake levels receded well below the lake shoreline.

Solution: WRMA was tasked with assessing this extreme low lake stage condition and recommending alternative strategies for lake management.

WRMA performed an annualized water budget analysis of the interconnected lake system using a hydrodynamic computer model to determine the impact that water withdrawals (from the lakes for irrigation of lawns) were having on lake levels as a function of current rainfall (drought) conditions vs. historical normal rainfall patterns. WRMA assessed the lake system behavior during a typical normal (1964) rainfall year and a dry (1988) rainfall year using historical rainfall data from SFWMD nearby meteorological station S-80. The analysis indicated that lake levels dropped approximately one foot when pumping of common areas and private lots is implemented per the current schedule (Twice a week). WRMA concluded that the low lake levels experienced in 2006 were caused by a combination of a very dry rainfall year and pumping for irrigation without lake recharge from groundwater for half of the year. WRMA also performed a modification of the SFWMD consumptive water use permit, as the permit was currently expired. A 20-year permit renewal was secured.

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