When it rains, it pours. Especially in smaller Northwest Arkansas communities. Most simply aren’t prepared to handle flood waters, which is why Northwest Regional Planning is stepping in.
It’s a potential partnership between cities in NWA to fight flooding. Some towns can’t handle an influx of rain and Mother Nature leaves behind destruction that’s not simple, or cheap, to fix.
Jane Maginot, University of Arkansas Research and Extension, “In the last 10 years we have had some significant flood events occurring so the idea is how can we stop and mitigate that problem.”
People representing multiple cities, counties, and agencies felt a meeting was needed to see what the community could do about flooding in Northwest Arkansas. A dozen people were anticipated. Nearly four dozen showed up.
Don Marr, Chief of Staff, Fayetteville, “I am optimistic that everyone knows it’s a problem and wants to get a solution.”
The runoff from NWA’s infrastructure is redirecting to different areas and flooding smaller towns. After all, water doesn’t stop at city limits.
“As we continue to develop and we start making impervious surfaces, which means the water can not soak in, it’s going to flow off you are actually creating more run off,” said Maginot.
“We can’t just be reactive. During the event is needed but ultimately you want to try to prevent these things from happening when we have significant events,” said Marr.
After just one meeting the group identified a few main problems that have to be worked out.
“When engineers and planners were working on this our population was a lot less so a lot of our infrastructure is older so we need to get that old infrastructure updated to modern numbers,” said Maginot.
Fixing older infrastructure solves some of the issues, but educating people so they can be prepared for the flooding would go a long way.
“I am optimistic that something is going to happen. It needs to happen. It’s got to happen. We are having flood issues and people are going to get tired of getting flooded,” said Maginot.
The group wants to continuing gathering information. Another meeting is possible but Northwest Regional planning has not nailed down a specific date or location.