Massive projects underway to try to reduce flooding across Kansa - KCTV5

Massive projects underway to try to reduce flooding across Kansas City area

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A series of massive, multi-million dollars projects is underway to try to reduce flooding across the metro. (KCTV5) A series of massive, multi-million dollars projects is underway to try to reduce flooding across the metro. (KCTV5)
Experts tell KCTV5 this summer’s flooding was second only to the great flood of 1951. For the groups responsible for mitigating the problem, it was a learning experience. (KCTV5) Experts tell KCTV5 this summer’s flooding was second only to the great flood of 1951. For the groups responsible for mitigating the problem, it was a learning experience. (KCTV5)
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

A series of massive, multi-million dollars projects is underway to try to reduce flooding across the metro.

Experts tell KCTV5 this summer’s flooding was second only to the great flood of 1951. For the groups responsible for mitigating the problem, it was a learning experience.

“We do both computer models and build physical models of the flooded areas and we try to identify how much rainfall came into the system and how fast it fell. Then we try to see if we can calibrate that to a model,” said Tom Kimes, Stormwater Utility Engineering Manager for KC Water.

Those models lead to engineered “fixes”, meant to reduce the flood risk. They are implemented slowly over the years as funding becomes available.

Turkey Creek has caused big problems for businesses along Southwest Boulevard. The last phase of a long term, $151 million project will be complete by 2021.

“The flood threat is out of sight, out of mind until you get a flood,” said John Grothaus, Chief of Planning for the Kansas City Army Corps of Engineers.

Grothaus said the work they’ve done on the creek is preventing the bad flooding they used to see on Southwest Boulevard during the 1990s.

Tom Poer is the president of the Missouri and Associated Rivers Coalition, or MOARC, which advocates for good use of water resources and has helped secure funding for various flood projects. He said he’s pleased with the progress that’s being made, especially along 60 miles of the Missouri and Kansas Rivers.

“The Kansas City Levees project protects over $20 billion in investment behind those levees, 90,000 jobs, and 20,000 residents,” said Poer.

The Blue River has work scheduled as well. The flood project for the Dodson Industrial Area will begin in 2018 and cost about $50 million.

The Swope Park Industrial Area project along the Blue River will cost about $33 million total. It is nearly complete, but according to the Kansas City Army Corps of Engineers, it needs more federal funding.

Experts tell KCTV5 the estimated maximum rainfall the metro could get is about 30 inches, which is highly unlikely.

“That is not something that is economical to design for,” said Poer.

The challenge is to prepare for what’s reasonable and prioritize based on cost-benefit.

“We usually design for what we call the 500-year storm. So, if you had a three-hour storm - if you had seven inches in that amount of time - it would cause massive flooding,” said Kimes.

The true test of the work is when those rains fall, and when it comes to Turkey Creek, engineers tell us its working thanks to efforts by the many entities involved.

“Watersheds don’t follow political boundaries. They don’t follow state boundaries,” said Kimes.

It’s a group effort to literally move rivers and keep the floodgates closed.

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