Flooding can have many benefits, such as replenishing groundwater and irrigating natural areas. It is essential to maintenance of our aquifer and, therefore, our drinking water supply. Yet, water, especially sea water, has tremendous power and erosive and corrosive effects. During major flood events, such as the hurricane-generated months-long flooding of 1947, and the 2012 storm surge that destroyed a portion of State Road A1A, we saw how wave action and fast flowing water can move a beach or remove a building’s foundation. Given the projections for sea level rise, the risk and effects of flooding are increasing, and more than ever we must be ready.
While we enjoy a natural abundance of water, we need to control its flow to protect the urban environment. The porous nature of our land and the lush tropical plants that thrive here, are the foundations of a natural system that absorbs routine rains and tides. But that same porous land will also let sea water through from below. Rivers, lakes and the Everglades naturally manage flow, but development over a century engineered the flow through canals and other measures. Recent legislation, better urban planning, and targeted construction above and below ground are now restoring it. In the past, this was a matter of life and property preservation; it is now more broadly a matter of livability, resiliency and sustainability.
Our goal is to maintain the delicate balance between preserving waterways, marine habitats and the ecosystem, and protecting the man-made infrastructure which supports our quality of life and economy. To that end, the City of Fort Lauderdale is planning and constructing a stormwater system that can handle nine inches of rainfall in a 24-hour period.
One of the most effective strategies we can employ to mitigating the risk of flood is to partner in keeping our stormwater system working. The City’s role is to adhere to all Federal, State and regional regulations and guidelines for constructing and maintaining our stormwater system, to keep apprised of and implement a variety of control strategies and tools, to respond to flood events, and to keep our neighbors informed. We ask you to learn as much as you can, to let us know if you see flooding or activity that could damage our stormwater management system, and to do your part to keep key parts of it, like storm drains and swales, free from debris and pollutants.