Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Flood Bills

Some state legislators are reintroducing talk about water storage and one assumes that they mean putting dams on the flood protection discussion table, which would indicate sound public leadership as dams are the single best flood protection technology, also providing cheap and clean hydroelectric power as a by product.

High tide for flood bills
Valley lawmakers dust off some old proposals and offer new ones as the rainy season nears.
By Judy Lin - Bee Capitol BureauPublished 12:00 am PST Tuesday, December 5, 2006

With the rainy season about to begin, Central Valley lawmakers are once again introducing various flood protection bills that could change building standards for new and established communities.

On Monday, the first day of the new legislative session, Sen. Mike Machado introduced a bill that would order the state Department of Water Resources to update its flood control plan.

Machado, D-Linden, said he wants the state to take a comprehensive look at the role of state and local governments, as well as developers and property owners.

"One of the problems of doing things serially is you could affect one part of a community -- or parts of a community -- and leave old parts or other communities unprotected," Machado said.
"Then you have a New Orleans-type situation, and that's what I'm so very much concerned about."

Machado said his bill, Senate Bill 5, directs the Department of Water Resources to clarify the roles of the state, local flood agencies, city and county governments, and private property owners and developers. The bill authorizes the state to implement projects providing 500-year flood protection to urban areas.

Meanwhile, Assemblywoman Lois Wolk of Davis resurrected a failed bill from last session that would have required local flood-protection planning before building new homes…

…Besides flood protection planning, state leaders are moving ahead with doling out flood-protection bond money that voters approved in November.

The Department of Water Resources has identified three projects in the Sacramento area that could receive flood control money, in addition to 90 weak spots in existing levees.
The projects include:

• Raising the Folsom Dam to improve flood risk throughout the Sacramento region;
• Widening the levee in Yuba City at the confluence of the Feather and Sacramento rivers by building a new setback;
• Repairing the half-century-old Sutter Weir on the Sacramento River, north of the Sacramento International Airport. Currently, the gates on the weir, a removable dam, have to be opened by hand.

Meanwhile, Republicans have expressed an interest in developing a water storage plan. Senate Minority Leader Dick Ackerman, R-Irvine, said the idea of preserving a supply of fresh water in dry times was something that was left out of the flood control bonds -- Proposition 1E and 84 -- during the November election.