The 2021 Flood Season: What to Expect and How to PreparePosted on Wednesday, March 3rd, 2021 by Jason Davis
In Stormwater, tagged in Tags: flood season, levee
Flood season formally begins April 1 and ends August 1 each year. Experts are predicting we can expect an average or below average runoff for the Missouri River Basin based on soil moisture conditions, plains snowpack, mountain snowpack, and long-term precipitation and temperature outlooks.
While some factors are outside of a levee operator’s control, proper maintenance is critical to upholding the integrity of the structure. Many levees are decades old and beginning to see wear and tear on components, like the gate wells, pump stations, and more. Staying on top of their conditions is critical to a successful flood season. We recommend conducting frequent inspections, as outlined in a levee’s Operations & Maintenance (O&M) Manual.
To prepare for flood season, you should:
- Follow your O&M Manual.
- Regularly check the levee’s features.
- Monitor your flood-fighting equipment and supplies inventory.
Even with preparation, repairs and fixes are common for aging infrastructure. Because they can be expensive, be sure to think ahead. We recommend including line items in your budget for future efforts. Having a plan and knowing how you will pay for unexpected projects is important.
Any maintenance should be performed in accordance with the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). With their oversight, levee operators can make certain work is being done correctly. If not, these fixes might be flagged at your annual inspection, which could result in paying for the repairs twice.
In addition to preserving the integrity of levees, operators are currently challenged by changing USACE guidance. The proposed guidance is currently being reviewed. Some levee sponsors are concerned that the proposed guidance would make them responsible for tasks over which they have no authority, such as road closures and evacuations. As it currently stands, these tasks are typically handled by whoever has jurisdiction. While the changes are up for review, nothing has been formally adopted.