Mayors of Utah Valley: Lehi continues learning from the past
While Lehi City has used the last few months to prepare for potential flooding from the abundance of snow that the valley received, we reflect on the lessons learned from the 2019 flooding. The flooding was due to an intense and prolonged period of heavy rainfall, as well as consistent debris.
The significant amount of precipitation over a short period overwhelmed the capacity of the drainage systems, causing water to accumulate rapidly. Dry Creek Park and Lehi Elementary School were the most affected areas. The city rallied together to help the homes that were devastated and made mitigating efforts to stop further damage.
As a community, we understand the value of learning from past challenges, such as flooding, to better prepare for the future. Rather than viewing these experiences as mere setbacks, we recognize them as valuable lessons that equip us with knowledge and insight.
By studying the impacts of past flooding events, we gained a deeper understanding of the vulnerabilities within our infrastructure, the effectiveness of our emergency response systems, and the importance of proactive measures.
The dry spell that fell over our state allowed Lehi to make much-needed improvements. We cleaned our channels and modified the Dry Creek reservoir. With the improvements, our Public Works Department have more capacity to handle run-off and can better regulate the discharge. Crews actively cleans out the dry creek and waste daily. Temporary flood control measures, including muscle walls, K-Rail and sandbags, have been put into place to contain and divert any flood water away.
Though we are still in the middle of the season, we have seen a great difference in the handling of the water flow in Lehi. We owe a great deal to the increased communication channels between our city departments, the residents, Utah County and other outside agencies.
The city continues to work closely with the Dry Creek Dam tender to make sure the high water flows remain as consistent as possible to avoid uncontrolled high flows. We have also had the pleasure of having volunteer dive teams come in to clear the reservoir grate of debris.
With most of the focus on run-off and preventing flooding from surface water, we want to remind residents of potential groundwater flooding that can come later in the season. Groundwater flooding can happen when water seeps into the ground and saturates the soil, causing it to rise above the basement or foundation floor.
We encourage residents to take the necessary measures if they feel their homes may be affected by surface or groundwater flooding. For more information, visit Lehi’s flood information and resource page at http://lehi-ut.gov/departments/public-works/flood-information/.
While the impacts of the 2019 flooding were devastating, the resilience and solidarity displayed by our residents served as a testament to their determination to rebuild and protect our community from future flood events. Lehi has given out over 56,000 sandbags to residents, churches, and organizations to help the community prepare for potential flooding. We are proud of all the efforts from City crews and staff, as well as our residents, in staying prepared.