Flood Watch 2023: How City officials have prepared for severe Spring runoff
A new resident expressed concern after reading about the historic 1983 flooding in Lehi. While flooding in Lehi at that time was severe and created danger for some of Lehi’s residents,the City has prepared in many ways to mitigate flooding of that magnitude again.
According to Lorin Powell, Lehi City Head Engineer and a former Lehi resident, “We’ve done a lot to prepare for possible flooding. We have replaced much of the old infrastructure in the last several decades. We have rebuilt the culverts on 5th West and 2nd West. We have opened Main Street, built new structures, and rebuilt structures on both sides of Dry Creek and the waste ditch.”
“Probably the most consequential improvement in preventing flooding is the dredging of the Jordan River and the building of Jordanelle Reservoir.” When asked about the Dry Creek Reservoir, Powell said city officials haven’t been able to test it because we haven’t had the water. “We have a few problems, but these are being solved. I don’t think it will help that much in reducing the flow out of American Fork Canyon this year,” said Powell.
Powell mentioned flooding in some parts of Lehi in recent years. Residents may remember in 2019 when several homes flooded near Center Street and 100 West (near Lehi Elementary School.) One house had severe flood damage and its owners sold their property to the City. The City created a floodplain to control water flow in the future. “We haven’t had much of a problem with flooding since,” said Powell. “We are hoping there will be a gradual increase in temperature this Spring. This will be a great thing in preventing a run-off similar to the one in 1983.”
Lehi City’s long-time employee and experienced water expert, Greg Allred, heads Lehi’s water system development, culinary and PI (pressurized system), sewer, and drainage.
“Our team meets weekly to prepare for any water issues. We offer sandbags and sand to any Lehi resident who feels they need them. We have already handed out 12,000 bags in the last three months,” said Allred.
Sandbags are available at the water facility on 2538 North 300 West in Lehi. Two locations have sand available to fill the bags. One area is near the power shop on Glen Carter Drive, and another is on the north side of the Lehi Cemetery. The bags and sand are free to locals.
When asked about flooding this year, Allred said, “It depends on the run-off. Some outlying areas could be affected, but the vast majority of Lehi will be OK. We have spent all winter cleaning Dry Creek Canal and the waste ditch. I think our preparation will save some low-lying areas.”