As I looked through the window of my television at the East Coast flooding caused by Hurricane Isabel, I remembered fighting the Flood on the Flint in 1994.
A hurricane came out of the Gulf of Mexico through Mobile, Ala.
and progressed to middle Georgia west of Columbus.
Then it stopped and stayed put while dropping 22 inches of rain in one day.
The headwaters of the Flint River received all that rain and sent it down stream through Albany where I was working.
The city of 80,000 was partially under water for a week or 10 days.
I took pictures of water several feet deep in a homeowner's family room with the water steadily rising on the stairs where I sat.
Most of the staff at the Albany Herald could not get to work because all the bridges across the Flint River were closed through Albany and points north.
My route home flooded for a couple of days and I drove 100 miles out of the way to get the 40 miles to the farm.
It was a major story that brought President Bill Clinton and Jesse Jackson to South Georgia.
The heavy August rain in Kingman was just as much of a disaster for those in the fairgrounds area who had homes damaged--again.
Major damage was isolated to a relatively small number of homes.
Those people have experienced similar flood problems with each major rain in Kingman.
We tend to forget flood control here because we have such long periods between any kind of shower.
Yet, when the rains come, someone suffers.
Flood control in the desert west has always been a "manana" kind of thing.
We cannot do anything to stop flooding during a flood and we forget soon after the rains stop.
The city received complaints of construction dust problems within a few days of the flood.
The new flood retention basin at Eastern Street and Southern Avenue did reduce flooding in the fairgrounds area.
All the water that filled the pond to three to four feet was not released until the following day.
For some reason, the outlet was plugged during the rain.
The released water runs north on Adams Street to the railroad tracks and goes under the tracks and Denny's well past the fairgrounds area.
Before that basin was built, the water went under the tracks and across Andy Devine Avenue to drain down Main Street and Fairgrounds Boulevard.
A diversion channel has been engineered to take all the water along the east side of the tracks to near Thompson Avenue before channeling back into the Mohave Wash.
The price tag has gone up to $8 million.
No way can city residents pay for that item.
But, there are things that can be done.
Kingman zoning and building permit regulations require commercial buildings to handle water on the property and some that drains into the area.
Notice all the small retention areas around the Kingman Regional Medical Center.
Colorado Ford built a good-sized pond to hold water coming down behind the facility.
A large cost item for the proposed Wal-Mart is for drainage coming down Sycamore Avenue.
Mohave Wash is being channelized with state, county and city money because the first step in flood control is usually done at the bottom of the hill to carry the water away
But what about those folks that get flooded all the time now?
Much of the water comes off the hills where residential development has channelized drainage.
Why can't city zoning and building permits require residential developments to keep their water on site like commercial construction is required to do?
If I have an acre or half-acre lot, why not have a retention area to keep the water on my land and let it drain slowly after the rain?
Flooding of homes on Airfield Avenue east of the fairgrounds was controlled with some city changes in the cubs and streets.
The people who flood regularly in the Main Street and Fairgrounds Boulevard area deserve some help and cannot wait years for the $8 million railroad diversion channel.
The city should do something besides feel for the people, even if that means the city has to buy a few houses and move the people out.
Grass and trees keep water where it falls.
Pavement for streets and gravel in yards let the water run off as it falls.
We need small retention ponds even in residential areas.
We would do well to learn from the years of experience of the U.S.
Soil Conservation Service and build many small areas up stream to keep the water from running in channels down the hill.
But, it will be a long time before we see another rain.
Why worry now?
The next rain could fall on the other side of town and flood some one else.
Besides, I live near the top of the hill.