Levee Over Troubled Waters

Levee Over Troubled Waters

Paying for repairs just got harder

It’s a calm, clear day on West Sacramento’s South River Road, a meandering two-lane route that runs atop a levee buffering houses and farmland from the placid Sacramento River. It’s hard to envision the chaos that would ensue if the great dirt barrier were to burst, pouring millions of gallons of water into adjacent homes and businesses, but that nightmare scenario just got harder to prevent.

For decades, state and local flood agencies have been able to start construction on approved flood prevention projects and then request reimbursement from the federal government after the fact. But in 2011, Assistant Secretary of the Army Jo-Ellen Darcy put an end to that policy nationwide, pointing a finger at the Yuba County Water Agency, which she claimed was abusing the system by filing excessive claims.

As a result, Capital Region communities, and West Sacramento in particular, are now wondering how they’re going to pay for necessary levee improvement projects that stretch into the tens of millions of dollars. (click to continue reading)

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