The Linwood ponding basin in Visalia sits dry now, but back in December 2010 record rainfall caused it to overflow and bring major floods to dozens of Visalia neighborhoods. Visalia officials say the city has gotten bigger, with nearly 800 miles of pipelines and 45 miles of creeks. Storm drain and waste maintenance crews are finding it more difficult to keep the passages clear.
Adam Ennis, City Engineer, said "So what's happened is our frequency of maintenance has gotten further and further apart. We're out to two or three years every time, by the time we get back to a part of the system to do the maintenance work."
Ennis says fixing the problem could be as easy as continuing a 48-cent fee on your water bill. This week, ballots will be mailed out asking Visalia residents to approve new use of the fee, which was previously used to pay for the Kaweah Lake Enlargement project. Now that the loan is paid off- the city wants to continue the fee to help improve maintenance of storm drains and ponding basins, all to prevent future flooding. 43-cents of it will go towards flooding prevention, the other 5 cents will still be used towards maintenance of Kaweah Lake.
Ennis said, "Our intention would be to add a few more folks to our storm drain, waste collection crews."
Extending the fee could help out people who live on Damsen Street in Visalia. The neighborhood gets inundated with water after every big storm. Sand bags still sit around a storm drain on Damsen in preparation for any rain that could come its way. Patricia Humphrey says she'd like to see people approve the fee extension.
Patricia Humphrey says, "We used to get hit really bad. It used to come all the way up to my house and it would stay that way until they sucked it out. So, it was bad and I do worry about it."