This Is our Village

Saturday, April 30, 2011


Thanks to explanations by Dave Israel and Dom Guarnagia, I’ve become a lot clearer about how our lakes and canals and irrigation systems work. We get RECLAIMED (partially purified, not potable) water from that water tower at a bargain rate to augment what is in our lakes. We get it at a bargain rate for us because it costs the Palm Beach Water Utilities Department (PBCWUD) more to produce the water than what they sell it to us for. Our contract with them allows them to sell it to us up to a certain amount, but they don’t have to sell us any. And yet I read recently that they have been selling us BEYOND what the contract calls for. This is very nice, but why are they so generous, I wondered.
I may have gotten my answer this morning in talking with a man who works for the PBCWU at breakfast. He said, first of all, that the law requires them to fill the water tank. It is a part of the reserves of water the PBCWUD has. IT CANNOT JUST SIT THERE, HOWEVER. It must be discharged either to a facility that can use it (such as Century Village) or discharged back into the aquifer underground. It costs the PBCWUD more to discharge it back into the aquifer than it does to sell it to us.
The man told me more than this, and it was fascinating. Some it I remember and some of it I don’t. I think I’ve got the above right, but Dave or Dom (or anyone else knowledgeable about this) can correct me if I’m wrong. The man made the same point that Dave and Dom have made repeatedly and which doesn’t seem to be understood in the Village by some: WATER DISCHARGED INTO OUR LAKES WILL ONLY AFFECT THE WATER LEVEL SLIGHTLY, AND A GOOD DEAL OF IT WILL BE LOST TO US BECAUSE WATER IN THE LAKES PERCOLATES DOWNWARD INTO THE AQUIFER, WHERE IT GETS SHARED WITH NEARBY DEVELOPMENTS THAT MAY NOT BE PAYING ANYTHING FOR SUCH EXTRA WATER.
The PBCWUD (and other water companies) are required by law to save reclaimed water, my friend said. They save it in tanks, but sometimes also save it by “injecting” it into the SALT WATER AQUIFER, which is located much nearer the land surface than is the pure water aquifer. Somehow this reclaimed water, when injected into the salt water aquifer, stays pretty much (though not 100%) intact, so it can be pumped back out when needed and be in pretty good shape.

It’s pretty amazing what’s going all around and under us, isn’t it?


  1. I meant Palm Beach COUNTY Water Utilities Department, the company that bills us for drinking water.

  2. Speaking of water, can someone explain why the Association across the street gets their lawn watered every night while our lawn is parched and dying of thirst?

  3. There is a strict two day a week water restriction imposed by the county. Anyone exceeding that is doing so in violation.

  4. I might add that anyone tampering with their irrigation time clocks is not very bright. Nothing like having the lushest, greenest lawn in the neighborhood to call attention to say. "HEY EVERYONE, I'M WATERING MY LAWN ILLEGALLY ... LOOK AT ME!"

  5. In reply to mllwpbfl, I can say that over the past several years our association has had problems on several occasions with our timer and equipment. That's when our management company needs to be on the ball, and sometimes (as condo president) I need to prod them. Their men may set the clock incorrectly, or, as in one instance, there may be a failure of a mechanical part in the ground by the mechanical room. When this part failed, it produced an error message in the timer, which stopped everything. The maintenance people need to be getting to the bottom of such problems, not treating them superficially or guessing.

    But the problem may lie elsewhere. It may be that the Village pump that services your association (and not the one across the street) is down for some reason. Or it may be that the water level in our lakes is so low that no water can be pumped.

    There is a timer not only in the association's mechanical room, but also on pumps that service the associations, I believe. BOTH timers must be calling for water, for you to get water. The maintenance people need to be on top of this.

    Day watering is not as good as night watering because in the daytime some of the sprinkled water evaporates and doesn't seep into the ground. That is why the clocks are set to water at night. But if you are not getting water at night for whatever reason and have been prodding your management company about the problem, they may well be able to arrange for some daytime watering for you.

    These have been my experiences, at any rate. I submit any of the above to correction or clarification by those who understand these things better. We certainly need rain!

  6. Lanny, true on all accounts. May I add that no matter how well a lawn is irrigated, nothing is more effective than a good soaking rain.

  7. Thank you Lanny Howe and L7218 for your knowledgeable explanations. Yea, the lawn across the street is yelling: "Look, I'm green and I get watered every dawn. Lucky me,"
    while our lawn is just about as dead as Bin Laden...

  8. mllwpbfl please find out which management company is so helpful to your neighbors' greenery. My grass is browner straw than yours. The mango tree dropped most of its fruit, The avocado tree is dying. The rabbit left and reported us to the ASPCR. I call the management company daily, no sign of them yet (some of our sprinklers are blocked, but it is not the overall low water problem).

  9. Hi Elaine,
    I am sorry to hear about your grass and especially the rabbit. Perhaps today rain has helped. It has helped our brown grass. It looks greener already.

    I have forgotten what management company you have. I think it was Seacrest. We now have Gallagher and Phil G., the boss, is pretty responsive. You deal directly with him, which is nice.

    Previously we had Seacrest, and although I got to know and like a lot of their guys, there were times when the response was poor. Their follow-up (if any) was poor, too. In time, knowing I would not abuse the privilege, some of the Seacrest guys gave me their cell phone numbers, so I could contact them directly instead of going through the Seacrest switchboard operator and the whole chain of command. This helped.

    What really worked was to contact Diana Evans, boss over Seacrest operations in the Village. I would only do this when I had to. Usually I e-mailed her so there were no misunderstandings of the details (plus this gave me a paper trail). I think I was reasonable with her, and she certainly was with me. She would light a fire under the guys and we'd get action. I sometimes thought her job must be constantly putting out fires!

    I always made it a point to COMPLIMENT the Seacrest folk when they did well, and I let Diana know when this one or that one had done an especially good job.

    If you run into the rabbit, you might tell him the grass is good across the street from mllwpbfl's. He might appreciate the tip.


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