Friday, April 13, 2007

West Sacramento Levees

They also provide less than 100 year protection…one wonders how so many got it so wrong for so long…and is thankful we didn’t have a major flood in the interim. It is also a stark reminder that Sacramento still has the worst flood protection of any major city in the country.

W. Sac voters get look at scope of levee work
By Deb Kollars - Bee Staff Writer
Published 12:00 am PDT Friday, April 13, 2007

While one flood tax election is nearing an end, another on the West Sacramento side of the Sacramento River began revving up Thursday as property owners got a deeper look at the heavy-duty levee work their community needs and what they may have to pay for it.

According to a "Draft Engineer's Report" released Thursday, West Sacramento faces the same deep underseepage and levee stability problems that took the Natomas area by surprise last year.

Although final geotechnical findings still were not available Thursday, the engineer's report marked the first time West Sacramento officially acknowledged its levees do not meet 100-year protection levels -- considered a minimal safety threshold by the federal government.

To address those deficiencies and raise protection to higher 200-year levels, West Sacramento is planning to take the same step as its neighbors to the east: hold a weighted mail ballot election asking property owners to tax themselves for greater flood protection.

"People are beginning to understand this is something we need to do," said Steve Patek, West Sacramento's director of community development.

On the east side of the river, 140,000 property owners have until next Thursday to turn in ballots in the mail election being run by the Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency, known as SAFCA.

The agency, which includes large portions of Sacramento County and the southern end of Sutter County, hopes to raise $326 million over 30 years from the new assessment district.

The money would help pay for $2.68 billion in levee improvements and work at Folsom Dam, with the bulk paid by state and federal sources.

The work would bring 200-year protection, meaning levees could handle massive storms with a 1 in 200 chance of occurring in any given year.

Right now, some areas of Sacramento don't even have 100-year protection.

Among major cities in America, none has greater flood risks than Sacramento.