Recent Rains Highlight Nipomo’s Flooding Problems

According to KSBY weather reports, we have had rain every other day for over a month. They also reported that over the last 24 hours, approximately two inches of rain fell in Nipomo. As the photo from the Santa Maria Times below shows, parts of Olde Towne Nipomo suffers each and every time heavy rains like this hit Nipomo. This photo, taken by Ed Souza of the Santa Maria Times shows staff member Daniel Diaz walking through a flooded section of olde towne Nipomo on Monday, 3/3/06 in the alley behind Sea Street.

The Santa Maria times reported that parts of Nipomo Creek's runoff flooded Olde Towne culverts, backing up water on Mallagh Street that has had flooding problems for decades:

As rain fell Monday, parts of Nipomo Creek's runoff were flooding Olde Towne culverts and clogging drainage all along the 300 block of Mallagh Street.

Mallagh Street has particularly been earmarked for its share of $1.8 million in improvements recently authorized by the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors.

Among the projects planned are enlargements of the Mallagh Street culvert. However, the $1.8 million for that and other drainage work in Nipomo isn't budgeted until the fiscal year that begins in July.

Our current Supervisor, Katcho Achadjian, was instrumental in persuading the County Board of Supervisors to allocate the $1.8 million for the drainage work, so long over due in Olde Towne Nipomo:

Fourth District Supervisor Katcho Achadjian said although the money has been set aside for the projects, it will take some time before workers with heavy equipment begin the work.

“Public Works is in the process of getting to the permits needed to begin the job,” Achadjian said.

“As the rain falls, it's obviously a priority on our list, but we have no specific start dates as of yet,” he said. “As flooding continues, it's a constant reminder we need to begin.”

The Times Press Recorder earlier reported on these flood control projects here:

With a 4-1 vote Tuesday, the supervisors committed to allocating $3 million of the 2006-07 General Fund to 10 flood-control projects, with $1.81 million of the funding earmarked for Nipomo projects.

After the May 2001 floods, which caused extensive damage to the South County, especially Oceano and Nipomo, the Board of Supervisors authorized a $750,000 drainage and flood control study that examined Nipomo, Oceano, Cambria, Cayucos, Santa Margarita and San Miguel.

However, the projects have never been undertaken because no funding existed for implementation until now. The 10 flood control improvement projects were all identified in the county study.

“My desire is to start addressing the issues before the rains start … ,” said 4th District Supervisor Katcho Achadjian. “This is what I call preventive medicine.”

He added, “We’ll spend (the money) one way or another. Three million dollars three years from now is going to look very cheap.”

The flood-control projects slated for Nipomo include upsizing the Burton and Mallagh streets culverts and installing additional culverts at Tefft and Avocado streets, Thompson Avenue and Haystack culvert.

Additionally, new culverts will be constructed at Burton and Mallagh streets on Sea Street.

During the New Year’s weekend storm, homes on Burton and Mallagh streets were the hardest hit with flood waters and mud. Some residents were forced from their homes.

Flooding on Nipomo's east side is no surprise to many who have lived in Nipomo for several years. During periods of heavy rain, literal rivers form from the foothills east of Nipomo and stretch throughout the vast farm lands on either side of the 101 freeway. I will try to post shortly, some of the prior photos I have taken of serious flooding that has hit Nipomo's east side over the last several years. Meanwhile, if you know anyone over on the east side, ask them if they need any help with sandbags, or any other flood related issues.


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