This Is our Village

Saturday, February 5, 2011


Hi all,
At the Delegate Assembly meeting of February 4, 2011 we were inflicted with a diatribe of mis-information regarding the water levels in our lakes and canals and the shoreline restoration project.

 This sea of mis-information designed to stir passions brought nothing to the table that contained one scintilla of light or accurate knowledge; it was simply noise!

For those who wish to become knowledgeable of the issues and contribute real ideas toward the solution of the problem, I commend the following paper, written by Dom Guarnagia. Those who wish to learn and help, please attend the Irrigation Committee meeting scheduled for February 8, 2011 at the UCO Office at 9:30AM - Noise makers please stay home!

Dave Israel

February 8, 2011

Facts and Frequently Asked Questions

South Florida Water Management District is charged with monitoring the water levels in Lake Okeechobee and for our purposes it is the Lake Worth Drainage District that monitors Century Village and sets the height of  our dam or sluiceway that controls the outflow or discharge of our waterways into the South Canal and becomes part of the drinking water in Clear Lake Reservoir, south of Interstate 1-95 .

Swimming Pools are built of concrete and gunite which creates an impervious, relatively waterproof container whose water level is easily maintained since it is affected only by evaporation.

Our waterways, all 62 Acres of Lakes, Lagoons and Canals are contained within 36,000 lineal feet (6.8 Miles) of shoreline. These bodies of water, unlike a swimming pool, are lined with a sandy-clay porous mixture through which groundwater percolates both upward and recedes downward as the rainfall and varying amounts of runoff from Lake O, governed by Nature, rises and falls with little effect from humans.

Additional water that Century Village manages. When built, Century Village drainage include the strip mall from the vacant Jennifer Convertibles store to the Family Dollar at the intersection of Okeechobee Blvd. and Haverhill Rd. as well as the 18 hole golf course and driving range. Runoff from the golf course, rich in nutrients, especially nitrogen, flowed under the roadway at Southampton A through a metal culvert into the South Canal and likewise between Golfs Edge under South Drive, between the Dover buildings and into Century Lake. That fertilizer was, in large part, responsible for the proliferation of grasses as well as nurturing other aquatic plants that required constant maintenance. Any runoff from the golf course now is devoid of those rich nutrients and plants that concealed the shoreline, no longer exist.

The water level, as we see it in our waterways, is the surface of the water table below the grade or surface upon which you are standing. Essentially, if you dig a hole anywhere in Century Village your feet will get wet less than three feet down in summer and in most cases, more than four feet in winter. This phenomenon is what has caused some concern, regarding the reconstruction ofthe shorelines.

Why can't we maintain the depth of water year round? Geologically speaking, we sit atop an aquifer! An aquifer is a water bearing stratum of permeable rock, sand or gravel deep below the surface. Our potable water for drinking, bathing and cooking is stored deep underground in that limestone deposit. The water, through leaching or percolation, is filtered through our sandy surfacial top soil and replenishes the water drawn to the surface by water management entities. When it rains the runoff fills the voids between sandy-clay particles and the water table is high. Without rainfall, that water recedes deeper into the ground until it reaches the aquifer where it has been cleansed through filterization and awaits reuse.

Purchased Reclaimed Water: Located at the northwest corner of Century Village (Northampton) is a large reinforced concrete tank that can hold over one million gallons of somewhat purified reclaimed, non-potable water (not fit for human consumption), serviced by a chemically altering purification system. Century Village has been fortunate to become a customer, early in the production process and as a result was initially promised "UP TO" a maximum of 750,000 gallons of water daily at a cost of $ .04 (four cents) per thousand gallons ofreclaimed water. That amounts to a sum of $30.00 (thirty dollars) per day. The cost to the County for treating the water is about $ 0.11 per 1,000 gallons, or $82.50 per day.

• How does this affect our water levels in the waterways? If we are fortunate enough to purchase the maximum water for four days per week, approximately three million gallons, it would raise the water level in an area of 62 acres, a mere two inches. For irrigational purposes, we pump two million gallons every week for lawns and landscaping. Another half inch, an astonishing 750,000 gallons or so, weekly, evaporates with the sun's heat. Since our water level is shared by adjacent communities such as Cypress Lakes and The Tennis Apartments as well as Villa Regina, purchased reclaimed water flowing into Century Village will seek its own level and
flow underground into those areas. Thus we are intrinsically part of the greater community and they are part ofus.

Why does the shoreline look like it does in January? Without rainfall replenishing the water table and water levels receding substantially, what was reflected as a beautiful and quite successful project, in early November with about 92% completion when the population was at its lowest, was at its best. This will be a recurring theme and it is not going unnoticed and a resolution is being sought. South Florida has entered a period of severe drought and a high wildfire index, a weather related phenomenon that begins December l and ends May 31. The wet, rainy or hurricane season begins on June 1 and ends November 30. With water in Lake O at a low of 12.57 Ft. Above Sea Level combined with reduced rainfall this rainy season, the water table has receded by some 3.5 Ft. already, which is evident here in Century Village. The mean allowable water level, regulated by the Lake Worth Drainage District is 13.00 Feet Above Sea Level, well below the flow from Lake O. this far from its outfall.

Is there a reasonable fix to remedy and prevent this occurrence in the future? The short term answer is NO! The situation of a fluctuating water table is permanent. Under study is the opportunity to introduce aquatic plants and / or a different specie of grass that is drought resistant and can survive when submerged for extended periods. Cost per Square Foot, amount of areas to be treated with plants vs. sod, maintenance including fertilizing as well as durability and performance are things being studied.

Who will pay for the resolution? A five (5) year plan was introduced in 2008 by which Association Fees would be increased from 2008 through 2012 for approximately $5.31 per unit, per month.

What is left to do to complete the shoreline restoration? While the study continues, the corridor along the West Canal from Northampton, through Camden and ending at Windsor at the South Canal remains incomplete. During the dry season sod production is at best inadequate since sod installation is minimized with most grasses being dormant and requiring less irrigation and mowing. However, sod production and natural irrigation are best during the rainy season. Paradoxically, when the water table is at its highest and sod production is prolific, shoreline restoration must deal with
placing and staking new sod on newly created shorelines with deeper water. Therein lays the difficulty of whether to use different specie of sod on the vertical areas of shoreline than that on the horizontal areas or to beautify some areas with aquatic plants.

• How are these newly created areas being irrigated? The sprinkler system that is in place has been extended as part ofthe reconstructed shoreline with new spray patterns and additional heads that have been added to adequately cover the newly formed areas. Irrigating those areas is part of the irrigation system that has been watering the rest ofyour association's land. Drainage has been to discharge runoff further out into the waterways.

• Will the new geotubes hold up to the sun's damaging rays? Anchor Marine, the contractor responsible for the work, has assured us that this identical system was used 34 years ago at PGA National Golf Course with no deterioration of the same geotube product.

• What should the individual associations do to maintain the new sod land or aquatic plants? Like our other grassy areas that receive fertilizer and pesticides as well as periodic mowing and maintenance, so will the new areas be treated through your maintenance contract? Irrigation will be performed as allowed by the South Florida Water Management District regarding intervals of watering through the posted water bans. The responsibility rests with each one of us since it is our monthly fee that pays for the shoreline restoration project. Its success requires vigilance but it also requires the understanding that the water table is a varying entity that results in a seasonal contrast coupled with a deeper understanding of that variation.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks again for this useful information. Again at the meeting on Friday last we had to listen to a diatribe of misinformation by someone who wanted the lime light with nothing useful to contribute. The north canal is also unfinished with the restoration.


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