About Montecito Ponds/Lakes
During the creation of the ponds, underground equalizer pipes were placed which interconnect them. The purpose of the equalizer pipes is to keep the water in the ponds at the same level.
Water enters the ponds in two ways: rainwater runoff (via the storm sewers on the streets) and by two underground artesian wells, one emptying into pond number 2 (well #2) and one emptying into pond number 3 (well #3). Water leaves the ponds by evaporation and by pumping for irrigation. Irrigation pumps are located on pond number 2 and pond number 3.
When the ponds were created, it was anticipated that rainfall would be the primary source of water to maintain adequate levels. The volume of water which enters the ponds from the wells is regulated by the Saint Johns River Water Management District and limits on it are specified in the consumptive use permit (CUP) that is issued by this government agency. The initial CUP was issued on 10 May 2006 and was transferred to Montecito CDD on 21 October 2009.
With the exception of a prolonged drought, the permit limits the addition of well water to the ponds (from all sources combined) to a volume of 30 gallons per minute. Importantly, the CUP mandates regular monitoring and reporting of both the levels and chemical composition of the water in the ponds. Notably, the volume of water that can be added to the ponds from the wells is small and alone would not be expected to keep the water levels adequately high to serve our irrigation needs on an ongoing basis.
The water in our ponds is brackish. That is, it contains some salt (sodium chloride). As such, it cannot be used for drinking but, as long as the sodium chloride concentration is not too high (<1,100 mg/L), it can be used to irrigate our lawns and flora. If the salt concentration in the pond water exceeds 1,100 mg/L, it may damage and/or kill the grass and other vegetation if used for irrigation.
On 12 July 2017, the chloride concentrations (mg/liter) in our well water and pond water were as follows:
- Well #2 — 1,250, Pond #2 – 700,
- Well #3 — 1,700, Pond #3 — 1,000.
- First, we must receive adequate rainfall to maintain adequate water levels in our ponds.
- Second, the sodium chloride concentration of our ponds, is very close to making the water unusable for irrigation without the risk of damaging or killing the vegetation.
- Third, we cannot just increase the well water inflow to compensate for the lack of natural precipitation that we may experience due of the high sodium chloride concentration in the well water.
- Fourth, there will be challenges obtaining adequate water to irrigate the additional common areas and private lawns being created in the phase 2C townhomes development, which is ongoing presently.
Pond Sizes & Engineering
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