City ready for more rain
Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
The Fresno River flows strong under the Granada Drive bridge on Friday.
All the work Madera City Manager Arnoldo Rodriguez has done to make sure roadways were clear and drainage systems work properly has paid off in the last couple of weeks with the amount of rain the city has seen.
“We’ve had a lot of water coming through the city for the past three of four weeks, especially in the last week,” he said. “On a city-wide level, we haven’t experienced tremendous flooding. We’ve had localized flooding. We’ve had small issues. There are pockets that have issues. We have not had anywhere near the issues of communities around us.”
Rodriguez points out the work the city Public Works and Parks departments have done to help keep the city from experiencing many issues cities have seen with the amount of rain that has fallen.
“Our team has done a remarkable job, both our public works and parks teams,” he said. “We have been cleaning inlets, making sure roadways are clear and taking care of fallen trees. We try to address them as soon as possible. We have the right people in the right position. I’m proud of the job our guys have done.”
People driving by Madera South High School have seen the ponding basin fill up, as well as other ponding basins around the city.
“Our ponding basins have been able to accommodate all the water,” Rodriguez said. “We drained some of the basin at Madera South, across the street to a drain outlet. No ponding basin has caused us extreme concern. If something were to occur, we have the ability to re-direct the water to the Fresno River.”
Over the summer, Rodriguez was able to find the funds to clean out the Fresno River with debris, overgrown brush and dead vegetation. It turned out to be an omen.
“We are very fortunate to have cleaned out the Fresno River over the summer,” he said. “If we had not cleaned it, the nerves would be restless, right now. It would have caused a lot of concern for all of us because there was tons of debris, as well as overgrown and dead brush. I suspect it would have clogged the river. Knowing how much we pulled out of the river and how much we cleaned it, I’m convinced we did the right thing. It looks a lot better. I think the community appreciates it.”
Now that the Army Corps of Engineering is releasing more water from Hensley Lake, the Fresno River is now flowing.
“The Fresno River looks awesome,” he said. “It looks good. I was on the phone with the Madera Irrigation District. The Army Corps of Engineers were releasing 1,000 cubic feet per second of water from Hensley Lake. It’s at 50 percent capacity, which is up from 25 percent last week. They will release 2,000-2,500 cubic feet. We should see that soon. The water level in the river will increase.”
Because of the excess water, the city was able to allocate more water to the golf course and help recharge the land.
“We’re capturing a lot of the storm water,” he said. “We aren’t accepting any more water. We feel very good about our ponding basins. If necessary, we can move some of the water.”
Although there may be some flooding in the city, Rodriguez says that come back a couple of hours later and there won’t be flooding. He says the city is ready for the rain.
“The community will experience some localized flooding,” he said. “A lot of the situations are isolated for a short period of time. The water is going down. It’s simply of the matter of water that is coming down in a short period. We do have some challenge areas. If you look at the city, as a whole, we’ve done a remarkable job. The challenge we are going to have is, while the rain is great, it causes damage to our roadways. That’s our next challenge, but we’re not done with the rain season, yet.”