Local flood control agencies prepare all year for heavy rain in the winter

Heavy rain in the Central Valley can create problems in the winter but throughout the year Fresno Metropolitan Flood Control District is prepared.

They have over 150 ponding basins in the Fresno/Clovis area.

"Many of them have an automated electrical pump. And so we can pump the water from basin to basin. If they are full enough in many of them we can just open a valve and we will gravity flow from one to another," said Alan Hofmann, general manager.

He said during this time of year each basin can handle three inches of rain from several storms.

The flow from each basin this rain season has been smooth but sometimes water on city streets from heavy downpours can slow down the process.

"It usually is an intensity problem and you just need to wait for some time but eventually it will all go down in the pipelines and end up in a ponding basin," said Hofmann.

The Fresno Metropolitan Flood Control District has a staff of 100 people to monitor and map out conditions for each basin. After the recent drought, they know any water is very valuable.

"Storm water you know get rid of it and keep it away from homes and so forth but it has become such a commodity that now we really need to look at it differently and hold on and capture as much as we can," said Hofmann.

Meanwhile, the water level at Millerton Lake is at 60% capacity.

The Bureau of Reclamation says there is room to handle runoff and snowmelt though out the rainy season from the Friant Dam down into the San Joaquin River.

"We try to balance what the irrigation and city demands can take. And then what they cannot handle we factor that into our flood control space and then we would put that water down the river," said Michael Jackson, Bureau of Reclamation Area Manager.
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