Flood control progress alters floodplain maps

New Northeast floodplain maps reflect progress in flood control, public safety
Posted on 06/12/2018
Northeast Channel

Standing at the base of US-54 at Sun Valley, you will see the three-mile stretch of channel that has dramatically improved flood control for the surrounding area. By tripling the capacity of the Northeast Channel #2 and lining it with concrete, stormwater flows are more effectively controlled and have altered the floodplain.

As a result of El Paso Water's infrastructure improvements to Northeast Channel #2, which now works more effectively with the existing Northeast Channel #1 and Northeast Ponds, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has finalized new floodplain maps for parts of Northeast El Paso.

“This system of integrated flood control projects is a great example of the stormwater fee at work. The flood control improvements not only improve public safety but also will save money for many Northeast El Paso residents,” said EPWater CEO and President John Balliew.

Following a four-year review process, the new FEMA map becomes effective June 12, 2018. Infrastructure improvements that caused FEMA to change the map will also result in the removal of 5000± properties from the floodplain.

“(The improvements) are a complete change to the neighborhood. It’s now less costly to live in the area and it is easier for people to sell their homes,” said City of El Paso Floodplain Administrator Kareem Dallo. “This is success is the result of the wonderful collaboration between EPWater, the City and FEMA for the benefit of the entire El Paso community.”

The Stormwater Master Plan Advisory Committee prioritized the Northeast Channel #2 for improvements, and the $14.6 million project was completed by EPWater in 2012. The project lined the three-mile earthen channel with concrete and enlarged culverts. The system works to capture rushing waters and direct flows into the stormwater system rather than onto properties of nearby homes and businesses.

EPWater prioritizes projects that reduce flood risk and potentially save lives and protect private property. Since EPWater took over stormwater management from the City 10 years ago, flood control improvements have enabled the capture of 100 million gallons of stormwater that otherwise could have flooded I-10, city streets, neighborhoods, homes and businesses. This year, EPWater is expected to invest $51.5 million in flood control improvements and system maintenance citywide.

To see whether the revised floodplain map impacts your home, visit this site.

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