‘We’re hoping for smaller storms’; County Commission advancing Dammeron Valley flood prevention project

In this file photo, water rushes close to homes following a heavy rainstorm in Dammeron Valley, Utah, July 14, 2018 | Photo courtesy of Dallin Spackman, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Workers have dug thousands of meters of storm drainage ditches around the community of Dammeron Valley in an effort to stop another flash flood from ravaging the community.

Many of the plans for the drainage ditches required the county to obtain about 15 easements from landowners in Dammeron Valley, including four that were approved by the Washington County Commission Tuesday.

In this file photo, Washington County engineer Todd Edwards presents a map that shows areas where water flooded into Dammeron Valley last month, Washington County, Utah, Aug. 13, 2018 | Photo by Spencer Ricks, St. George News

While the current effort in digging the ditches will not be enough to prevent flooding from a storm the size of the one in July that affected 200 homes in the area, it is a good start, county engineer Todd Edwards told St. George News.

Getting the easements from landowners without needing to pay any them has been one of the biggest reasons the county has been able to move forward with the flood prevention project smoothly, Edwards said.

“These easements will allow us to go in and put in drainages in case we have another storm like the one we had this past summer,” commissioner Dean Cox said in Tuesday’s County Commission meeting. “Hopefully the water will be able to run somewhere.”

Read more: County officials meet with Dammeron Valley residents to find solutions after ‘100-year flood’

Edwards estimated the length of the ditches to be nearly a mile long since they started the project in August. Of the $100,000 allotted to the project from the county, “we’ve used about half of that,” he said.

The county is hoping to receive additional funding from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, which is a program run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that can provide financial assistance for projects to reduce flooding around the nation. Once funding from the NRCS comes to the county, Edwards said he hopes to start construction on four detention basins on the east side of the community to hold water coming down from the mountains. The detention basins are estimated to cost between $500,000 and $1 million each.

The application process to request funding from the NRCS is time-extensive, Edwards said, adding that it may take “quite some time” to get the necessary funding.

“If we get another storm like the one we had last summer, we’re in trouble” commissioner Victor Iverson said. “We’re hoping for smaller storms until we can get that NRCS approval.”

Read more: Thunder cell moves through Dammeron Valley ‘with a vengeance’; 200 homes affected

Washington County commissioner Dean Cox snaps of photo of commission chairman Zachary Renstrom in the driver’s seat of the new fire engine for the Hurricane Valley Fire special service district, St. George, Utah, Oct. 16, 2018 | Photo by Spencer Ricks, St. George News

Immediately following the county commission meeting Tuesday, the commissioners moved outside the Washington County Administration Building to admire the new fire engine for the Hurricane Valley Fire special service district.

The fire engine, which was recently purchased by the county, will be poised to help respond to emergencies near Rockville and Springdale.

Tom Kuhlmann, the Hurricane Valley Fire Chief, drove to the County Commission meeting in the fire engine to show off the new vehicle to county officials.

Email: sricks@stgnews.com

Twitter:  @STGnews | @SpencerRicks

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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3 Comments

  • tcrider October 17, 2018 at 8:35 am

    (“If we get another storm like the one we had last summer, we’re in trouble” commissioner Victor Iverson said. “We’re hoping for smaller storms until we can get that NRCS approval.”)

    This is a form of denial that climate change is happening, talk about burying your heads in the sand, personal prediction, the sheep are going to get soaked.

  • Carpe Diem October 17, 2018 at 11:25 am

    Climate change means major drought and no rain, but if it happens to rain, better have built an ark.

  • xbcmc059 October 17, 2018 at 3:24 pm

    “Hopefully the water will be able to run somewhere.” Nothing short of buffoonery. Now, let’s think about, “We’re hoping for smaller storms until we can get that NRCS approval.” REALLY! This is so typical of the planners, engineers, and builders in Utah. It’s like the whole State is just one big roll of duct tape.

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