Ongoing funding for state flood management grant program passes legislative committee

Program previously required annual approval
Published: Mar. 29, 2021 at 11:25 PM MDT
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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — In 2017, historic flooding in Idaho led to millions in damage. A state flood management grant program has since provided funding for projects that aim to limit these consequences in the future.

“There are three aspects of flood management: what you do before the flood or flood risk reduction, what you do during the flood and what you do afterwards or flood recovery,” said Daniel Steenson, an attorney with Sawtooth Law Offices who represents Flood Control District No.10.

If there was one thing reinforced by those record-breaking floods, it was that local entities were not built to handle an event of that magnitude.

“There was so much water and there wasn’t a place for that water to go,” said Idaho Water Users Association Executive Director Paul Arrington.

These grants not only fund projects that help minimize flood damage but ones that help water quality, as well.

“The sheeting of water across land will pick up sediment and whatever is in its way will potentially carry that to the river,” Arrington said.

These grants have helped fund projects in Twin Falls and the Wood River Valley.

The program previously required annual passage, but the Idaho Joint Finance Appropriations Committee approved ongoing funding from the Idaho Department of Water Resources’ budget, thus providing a more stable source of funding.

Full House and Senate approval is still required in order for this change to take place, but supporters believe consistent funding will allow the project to further expand.

“As interest in the program has expanded, demand for the program has exceeded the supply,” Steenson said. “I think now people will realize this is a secure, ongoing program and it will continue to grow.”

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