The flooding happening in the Manhattan community this year has been heartbreaking. Kansas has seen some of the wettest weather in recorded history this year, and Manhattan is especially vulnerable because of the three main waterways nearby – the Kansas River, Big Blue River, and Wildcat Creek. Thankfully, we escaped major flooding this spring by a matter of just a few inches, but damage to homes and neighborhoods has been significant nonetheless.
City Engineers have $70 - $100 million in stormwater projects planned for the next several years to help mitigate flooding when large rains hit. In the next year, improved stormwater infrastructure will capture overflow stormwater from along Poyntz Avenue and direct it south along 5th/6th Streets and discharge near 4th Street and Pottawatomie Avenue, and we are working on plans for the Wildcat Creek watershed as well.
Funding for the projects will come in the form of increased storm water rates, which began in July 2018 and will be fully phased over the next several years. Storm water rates charge business and property owners based on the square footage of impermeable space on their property. It will take time to raise the money to complete the projects, but work will begin as soon as possible. Flooding in basements and flash flooding caused by severe storms is something that will always be a problem, unfortunately. Reaching out to neighbors, investigating flood insurance options, and participating in flood buyout programs are the best answers for people whose homes are frequently impacted.
Please stay alert to changing weather conditions this weekend, as additional rainfall is possible on Saturday. If you haven’t already done so, you can sign up for emergency alerts in Riley County and Pottawatomie County using the links below.