New partnership hopes to mitigate flooding threat in Belen
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BELEN, N.M. — The Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District and the city of Belen have teamed up to tackle serious flooding concerns in the area.
Belen Mayor Robert Noblin said they’re excited to have a mitigation plan in place now.
“Ultimately, we know the long term solution for flooding and bland would be a diversionary channel around the city that can contain and move out all runoff and rainwater from these heavy rains that we’re starting to experience pretty frequently. The cost after today’s call last probably nearly $100 million,” he said.
That’s out of the city’s budget right now, instead the newly approved project will control the amount of water that’s let in to the Belen Highline Canal. Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District said this canal is meant for irrigation not flood control.
Jason Casuga, CEO and chief engineer at MRGCD, said the project will allow a way to manage the flow of water.
“These ponds are going to sit up on the mesa and then the Belen Highline Canal sits to the east of these will sit to the east of these and so there has to be engineering done to, once the water starts flowing into these ponds, it needs to be routed in a controlled way. “
MRGCD said it’s glad to see first steps toward a possible Valencia County Flood Control, and the mayor said after months of planning he’s excited to get the ball rolling.
“We’ve been working with the conservancy and coming up with an MOU for several months and this final MOU came in front of the Belen City Council Monday, “
The plans are similar to flood mitigation that’s been done in Bernalillo County, and the mayor said it’ll be at least a year until the project starts because right now, they’re hoping for funds at the next state legislative session.