Friday, April 27, 2007

Congressional Leader on Flood Control

Hopefully, the goal of achieving a 500 year level of flood protection—which the Auburn Dam would provide—will soon be embraced by public leadership as the soundest goal for our seriously threatened community, still ranked as the least protected of any major river city in the nation from disastrous flooding.

Doris O. Matsui: Bringing new vision to flood control
By Doris O. Matsui -
Published 12:00 am PDT Friday, April 27, 2007

This month the House of Representatives passed the Water Resources Development Act, providing the first opportunity in more than seven years for our country to put in place a national water resources policy.

While the legislation was long overdue and includes a new spillway project at Folsom Dam to provide vastly improved flood protection for Sacramento, it does only part of the job for our region.

The farm bill, which comes before Congress later this spring, could be another vehicle to take on our other major flood protection challenge -- the Sacramento River watershed. The farm bill gives us a chance to increase voluntary incentives for farmers in the Sacramento Valley and, where it makes sense, allow farmland to become part of new or expanded flood bypasses.

Locally, the value of the Water Resources Development Act cannot be underestimated. It includes the Folsom Dam Joint Federal Project -- a top priority of mine since taking office. When a new spillway is completed at Folsom in 2015, it will provide Sacramento and those communities along the American River with a 240-year level of protection. The project combines the resources and expertise of two federal agencies, the Army Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation, and solidifies it with strong state and local partnerships. This project will serve as an example of how government should work.

We experienced record floods in 1964, 1986 and again in 1997. And while our flood control system on the American and Sacramento rivers did its best to stave off a massive flood, I am convinced that nationally and regionally we must take a broader approach and create new partnerships to expand the flood protection infrastructure we dearly depend upon.