Tulare County RMA bumps up project to preserve Strathmore homes

By Paul Myers @PaulM_SGN

STRATHMORE – Waters receded in the small residential area that was afflicted by flooding in Strathmore earlier this month. But now that the water is gone, the County is pushing up a permanent solution to make sure it doesn’t happen in the next rainy season.

Tulare County Resource Management Agency (RMA) is taking a hard look at the area near the canal where 11 homes were affected by flooding. And even though it has been a few weeks, they are still waiting on the last of the rainy whether to pass to confirm the cause of the flooding.

During the atmospheric river that sent water rushing through the town, the Friant Water Authority (FWA) and RMA believe an old plug from under the canal failed to keep water from siphoning into the now residential area. According to an FWA press release, Strathmore Creek in Strathmore flows downstream toward Highway 65 and Ave. 196. It then pools at the toe of the FKC. The release says the water is then pumped by two Tulare County pumps over the top of Ave. 196 bridge and sent downstream to a holding pond near Highway 65.

Before the pumps were installed, the creek would drain past the canal through other mechanisms, including some pathways called “undershoots”, that would allow the creek to flow under the canal into the flooding basin. But when housing development began Tulare County plugged the pathway, and then the pumps were installed.

“Our understanding is that one of those plugs failed on [March 8] and allowed the water from Frazier Creek to flow through the undershoot and drain into what was historically a flood basin on the other side of the canal, but now includes residences,” the release stated.

Chief Engineer of RMA Ross Miller says the County has been working on a permanent solution for some years and now that flooding has hit the area they are bumping their solution higher on the list.

“We were working on a permanent solution before this and we are trying to expedite that project now,” Miller said.

RMA’s permanent solution to fix the situation is to run a pipe through the system that had flooded and connect it to the storm drain system. Mill says they want to install the pipe this dry season, definitely. But as for definitively deciding the cause of the flooding Miller says they have every confidence it was a failed plug, but still needs to dig up the area to be sure while also installing the pipe to connect to the storm drain system.

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