ST. GEORGE – Three debris basins located near the Southern Parkway will be rebuilt to reduce the risk of flooding to hundreds of homes and businesses.
Warner Draw, Gypusm Wash and Stucki debris basins are operated and maintained by Washington City; all three will be rehabilitated because the dams do not meet current standards and pose a threat to life and property.
The basins are intended to catch runoff during flood events and slowly release that water downstream in a controlled way, U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service water resources coordinator Norm Evenstad said.
The dams were built in 1975 for flood protection and sediment retention. However, they were built to “moderate” standards to protect farmland.
Due to development in the area, they are now classified as “high hazard” structures because of the potential for residents to lose their lives should the normally dry debris basins fail in a flood event.
The projects will be funded by the Washington County Flood Control Authority, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service and the Utah Division of Water Resources.
The Utah Board of Water Resources approved funding grants for the Warner Draw and Stucki basins at a regular board meeting held Wednesday in St. George.
The division will pay 31.5 percent of the projects’ costs, the NRCS will fund 65 percent and the Washington County Flood Authority will pay 3.5 percent.
“These are high-hazard dams that are eligible for the grant money,” Assistant State Engineer for Dam Safety David Marble said.
The Washington County Flood Control Authority was formed in September 2011; it provides a pool of funding for flood control measures along the Virgin and Santa Clara rivers and for regional flood control facilities such as debris and detention basins.
The Flood Control Authority is composed of Washington County and the cities of St. George, Washington and Santa Clara, all of which are participating, voting members.
The flood authority is funded by a $1.50 charge on each stormwater account in the three cities, including residential and business property. Washington County contributes administrative assistance.
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