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Irrigation improvements lead to less flooding throughout Delano

The City of Delano has worked hard for years to come up with a plan to divert water from the city in turn decreasing the risk of flooding
Posted at 6:20 PM, Feb 15, 2024
  • Video shows how the city of Delano has worked to protect their residents from flooding dangers.
  • Delano's last big flood affected major parts of the city, including Robert F. Kennedy's auditorium.

Have you ever been driving down the street and see something that resembles a ditch filled with water? Ever wonder what they are or why they're there? These additions to the city are what's attempting to make flooding an issue of the past — and so far, things are going well.

"We catch all the water and we divert it from the city and it goes into large dirt pools or reservoirs that we're familiar with and in turn that water will sit there and slowly seep back into the ground into our drinking water,” said Delano City Council Member Mario Nunez. “It benefits the city of Delano and our farmers around us.”

During the most recent flood in Delano, the Robert F. Kennedy Auditorium was impacted greatly
During the most recent flood in Delano, the Robert F. Kennedy Auditorium was impacted greatly.

Nunez says they look like rivers or maybe even streams — and they're all connected like a maze right underneath the city.

Trapping water, Nunez says it either soaks up into the ground, which can replenish ground water, or it flows down stream to a pond where the same process will eventually happen.

"It was pretty bad that our infrastructure got really really bad and it was flooding a lot of parts of our city,” said Nunez. “We were no different than pond, we had homes flooded, we even had Robert F. Kennedy their auditorium was flooded. Parents and students came out and they were building sand bags trying to save the auditorium."

Nunez says it was soon after these incidents that the city realized something needed to change.

He says these holding ponds have been incredibly promising when rain starts to come their way — with last year solidifying their successes with this plan.

"Last year with the heavy rains coming around it was our first full test and the city came out outstanding,” said Nunez. “We had some water that was pulling but they were able to move it fast enough before any damage was actually done.”

Nunez says these holding ponds can be found all over Delano, some are noticeable on the outskirts of the city near farm land and others are further in the city like the ones East of Cesar E. Chavez High School.

While these ponds have been very beneficial in preventing homes and streets from becoming flooded, Nunez says they also assist local farmers in their line of work.

"When we were having a lot of our drought issues a lot of the farmers were having to dig deeper and deeper wells and really tap deep into the water and a lot of wells were dried up,” said Nunez. “What it's doing, it's replenishing a lot of these areas that we took water out of our underground water, by us holding it and letting it sink back into the ground."

With these holding ponds acting as a game changer for flood prevention in Delano — the city is currently in the works of approving and installing more holding ponds with the goal of making flooding a smaller issue for the community.


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