Santa Fe prioritizing drainage system improvements after recent storms | KOB 4
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Santa Fe prioritizing drainage system improvements after recent storms

Brittany Costello
August 10, 2018 05:38 PM

SANTA FE, N.M. – Santa Fe is still cleaning up from a record-breaking downpour last month that damaged streets and dozens of homes. 

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City leaders say they hope the next time that much rain falls on the state capital, they'll be better equipped to handle it.

Public works officials have spent the last year gathering data and identifying flood-prone areas for a new stormwater management plan.

Those changes can't come soon enough for residents like Patricia Michaels, a fashion designer with several pieces that were ruined by flooding.

“Today, like you'll see right here, I'm doing silk and painted scarves,” Michaels said on Friday. “So this we're saving.”

Michaels is a Taos native-turned project runway contestant. Her designs, patterns and fabric were piled in her small Santa Fe studio.

But the flood destroyed much of what she'd been working on—pieces for fashion shows and markets.

“I don't know what I’m going to do,” she said. “The Indian Market was supposed to be the time you allow yourself to then survive for the winter and have your investments finished, and it's not just me, but the food that was taken off other peoples' tables.”

Behind her studio, her landlord says the rain even knocked down a brick fence. He blames failed drainage infrastructure.

“It's not adequate, especially in today’s day.”

City officials agree. For the past year, Melissa McDonald has been combing through data and documents to help create a new stormwater management plan.

“We particularly are looking at an infiltration model,” McDonald said. “You need to infiltrate the water. You slow it, flow it and grow it."

The new bike trail under Cerrillos and St. Francis, she said, is a good example of that. Instead of the water pooling in drainage systems, it’s diverted into different areas.

City officials said during the flood it worked as planned.

Public Work Director Regina Wheeler said they plan on presenting project infrastructure recommendations to the council.

“It'll have recommendations for projects," Wheeler said. "We used intelligence from the storm as well as the model to decide where we should really make some investments."

They will present their findings and recommendations to the Santa Fe City Council in 30 to 45 days. The hope is to get some sort of construction started this winter.

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Brittany Costello

Copyright 2018 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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