Colorado

Jan 18, 2013 9:04 PM by Siera Santos, ssantos@koaa.com

Colorado fights for flood funding

Colorado is asking the federal government for $19.6-million to help repair damaged watersheds.

But so far, the state has been unsuccessful.

The House of Representatives passed disaster recovery legislation for Hurricane Sandy in December and Colorado lawmakers are hoping to get a portion of that funding.

The aftermath of last year's wildfires continue to burden the state, and post-wildfire hazards are already evident. Significant flooding shut down Highway 24 on July 30.

"We don't want to repeat that so it's much better for us to put a fence at the top of the cliff than an ambulance at the bottom," said El Paso County Commissioner Sallie Clark.

Clark said 70-percent of the Colorado Springs' water system is jeopardy; even people not living in flood plains will be at risk during heavy rains.

With spring around the corner, flash floods, road washouts and dirty drinking water are soon to follow.

Gary Bostrom with the City of Colorado Springs said Colorado Springs utilities has over $10-million worth of costs to repair the existing system and to implement preventative measures to avoid future flooding. Other "critical projects" have been put on hold because the city first needs to address the watershed issue.

Multiple agencies are working together to secure funding that will be vital in the upcoming months.

"The need really brings us together because we have a common need, making sure our communities are protected and our water supplies are protected," Bostrom said.

The money would go toward to the local area affected by the Waldo Canyon Fire and also to Larimer County and the region damaged by the High Park Fire.

 

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