FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --Nearly 160 ponding basins in the Fresno and Clovis area are ready to handle anywhere from three to six inches of rain from the storms forecasted to hit the valley this week. Officials expect the water to flow without any problems.
You can call it the calm before the storms. The pumps are quiet at ponding basins run by the Fresno Metropolitan Flood Control District but officials said they will be running at full speed once the rain starts to fall. "The key is how big of hole in the ground do you have, and how much water is coming in from the rain event, and can you move it out fast enough ready to accommodate the new storms," said Alan Hofmann, Metropolitan Flood Control District.
Hofmann is the general manager of the Flood Control District. He has a staff of 70 employees ready to monitor 160 ponding basins. For several weeks now nearly 80 pumps have been moving water from one ponding basin to another in anticipation of heavy rain and any flooding. "We want to try to hold on to as much water as we can only because of the drought and try to build our ground water table and out basins are a key element in that."
Hofmann expects water to flow just fine because the biggest concern with the flood control district happened during the first storm of the season-- that's when leaves and trash pile up in drains after a long and dry period. "That's one of the biggest worries is leaves clogging pipelines. So at this point, thank heavens most of the leaves hopefully are picked up and have been disposed of."
But now the focus is on when and what to expect from El Nino over the next few months. "The key really is a sequence of storms. How quickly do they come in-- day after day-- or if you have a break. We like to see a couple day break in between so we can move a lot of water out of one basin to make it ready again."
Hofmann adds, a basin at Highway 168 and Ashlan recently expanded to handle more rainfall, and 15 portable pumps are ready to go where any flooding occurs to move that water to a nearby basin.