USA. Department of Water Resourses to evaluate 350 miles of urban levees from Lathrop to Marysville

Thursday, 23 November 2006

Next week, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) will begin an ambitious $35 million project to evaluate 350 miles of levees that protect urban communities. DWR and its contractors will perform exploration, testing and analysis on state/federal levees that stretch from Lathrop to Marysville.

"Under the Governor's leadership, we have successfully completed repairs to many levees with visible damage," said DWR Director Lester Snow. "But we know there are also hidden defects in levees that we need to address in order to better protect the public and communities in the Central Valley."

One of the goals of the levee evaluation program is to identify "urban levees" that provide less than a 200-year level of flood protection. An urban levee designation refers to levees that protect communities of at least 10,000 people. DWR will also identify or prepare preliminary designs of projects that will bring these levees up to the 200-year standard.

Funding will come from Assembly Bill 142, which Governor Schwarzenegger signed into law last May. It appropriates $500 million from the General Fund to DWR for levee evaluation and repair along with other flood control system improvements.

In February, Governor Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency, launching an unprecedented effort to improve the state’s flood control system. State and federal agencies subsequently identified and have now repaired 29 severely damaged levees. Voter approval of Proposition IE and Proposition 84, both of which were supported by the Governor, will provide nearly $5 billion in new funding for further essential improvements and repairs to the state’s flood control facilities.

DWR’s levee exploration program will look primarily for conditions of underseepage. Under these conditions, water passes beneath and/or through a levee, causing weakening or erosion of a levee that otherwise appears perfectly sound.

URS Corporation, a leading environmental and engineering consulting firm, will serve as the primary contractor on the levee evaluation program.

Initial test drilling will take place in the Marysville and West Sacramento areas. DWR will host the news media at one of the drilling sites at a future date and time to be determined.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 23 November 2006 )