Sacramento's Hazardous Levees Demand Attention
SacTV.com "video of the day" review by
Alex Cosper on Jan. 4, 2012
Here's an information video from The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Sacramento District that warns about
the potential levee hazards in Sacramento. Local, state and Corps experts discuss why levees are
dangerous surrounding the Natomas, North Sacramento and Greater Sacramento Basin districts, which
form low level areas between the Sacramento River and Folsom Lake. If levees were to break, massive
flooding would occur in Sacramento. The USACE explains how the only thing holding the water back from
the rivers is a weak 42 mile levee system.
If the levee system were to fail it could mean most of Sacramento would end up underwater.
"Imagine a wall of water 15, 20 feet high being unleashed against your house .. the house is going to
disintegrate," warns USACE Project Manager Dan Tibbits, who also says people living near levees should
always be concerned about flood risk. Tibbits says the levees are constantly patrolled but recalls how the Sutter Bypass
levee failure of 1997 was due to problems going unnoticed. Executive Director Rick Johnson of the Sacramento
Area Flood Control Agency (SAFCA) says the levees around Natomas were built in the early 1900s to protect agriculture, before the area
The USACE initiated a plan in 2007 to fix the levees, seeking federal funds authorized
by Congress. SAFCA began reconstruction on the worst areas of the levee that needed the most attention,
without federal funding, but instead with state funds. Eighteen of the 42 miles of levee surrounding Natomas
have been improved by SAFCA with the remainder to be handled by The USACE, according to this video, which estimates
the cost of fixing the levees to be over $1 Billion. The USACE recommends
that Sacramento residents prepare with an evactuation plan and know where to go in case of flooding.