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Preparation Helps Visalia Weather Storm

Thanks to the actions of Visalia voters almost 4 years ago, increased maintenance of the City storm system has reduced the potential for localized flooding and calls for service during rain events.

“The voters of 2013 approved local flood protection by continuing the Kaweah Dam enlargement fee and making a portion of the fee available for maintenance of the storm system, and thanks to that we’ve been able to better maintain and repair local waterways,” says Adam Ennis, City of Visalia Public Works Director.

The enlargement fee of $0.48 a parcel, per month, was continued by voters allowing an increase in local flood protection through needed City storm system maintenance and repair. Overall, it’s improved the efficiency of the local drainage system without increasing any fees.

“During the winters of 2005-2006 and 2010-2011, the City’s drain system was really s tested by 50-year and 25-year storms,” shares Ennis. “We saw flooding of streets and some buildings. It’s easy to forget that localized flooding at multiple areas within the City can be just as devastating as100-yearr flooding.”

The City’s storm system includes storm drain inlets, piping, manholes, basins and a creek system. Public Works crews work year-round on preparing for storm season by maintaining the the storm drain system, creeks, and basins to maximize the capacity for drainage and storage of storm runoff. Ultimately, un-maintained channels combined with long duration and/or intense storms causes water to back up in the storm system and potentially flood into residences and businesses.

While not addressing capital replacement, the assessment provides much-needed maintenance funding to increase flood protection as it allows one crew to address pipe system maintenance, while another crew performs creek and basin maintenance.

“Large storms can come in with only a few days’ notice, not allowing enough time to prepare if routine maintenance has not been performed,” adds Ennis. “Before 2013, we would have a storm roll through and a crew would be working through the weekend and around the clock. This past weekend, we had a handful of calls come in and we were able to address the situations immediately with only regularly scheduled on-call staffing.”

For more information on the City of Visalia Public Works Department, to see a complete storm drain system map, or for information on storm preparedness, visit www.visalia.city

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