By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Pitch for $110M to fight floods
State funds would help protect Lathrop, Manteca
A cross-levee south of Manteca that is targeted for upgrading. - photo by HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

Lathrop and Manteca have already done the preliminary work to ensure they’re in compliance with the state’s 200-year-flood levee improvement project.

And now State Senator Cathleen Galgiani is following through herself by securing as much as $110 million of the $145 million endeavor that will secure communities that exist within a mapped area that would likely be underwater in the wake of a massive flood.

In a press release issued Tuesday, Galgiani announced that she was introducing legislation that would appropriate $110 million of the money the state received when voters passed Proposition 1E – which provided $3 billion for flood protection upgrades in portions of California that need it – to conduct the pricey work of taking existing levees and doubling their capability to withstand floodwaters.

“Now that these remaining bond funds have been appropriated through the 2015-16 State Budget, my legislation will enable Reclamation District 17 to utilize state funding that will complete development of a comprehensive Central Valley Flood Protection Plan, what will protect our local communities and facilities within the ‘State Plan of Flood Control,’” Galgiani wrote. “I congratulate the cities of Manteca and Lathrop for their tireless work in meeting the requirements of SB 5. Now that our cities have done their part, it’s time for the State to follow through with State dollars promised when the voters passed Prop 1E to strengthen the 200 miles of levees that form our Delta, which provide drinking water for two-thirds of California’s population and irrigation water for California’s $44 billion agriculture industry.”

Currently California cities have until July 1 of 2016 to make “adequate progress” in complying with the 2006 law intended to prevent massive and widespread flooding once the reservoirs and rivers that feed the Delta are replenished and restored.

The City of Lathrop has been working with the City of Manteca to do all of the necessary elevations and mapping, and are attempting to get the City of Stockton and San Joaquin County – both of whom have development such as the county hospital and Weston Ranch that will fall within the 200-year plain – to come to the table and help shoulder the burden of doing the work.

New engineering work has shown that the entire City of Lathrop, not just the pockets as previously believed, os within the 200-year flood plain. As such Lathrop has taken the reins on organizing a project that will provide the necessary protection.

Galgiani, who was an assistant to then-Senator Patrick Johnston when surging rivers and overflowing reservoirs helped lead to the extensive and widespread flooding of 1997, knows firsthand what Mother Nature can do. She saw everything, from the inland sea that formed off the I-5 and I-205 corridors to what was left when the floodwaters receded.

“More than 40 inches of rain fell within a five day period in the Sierra Nevada watershed, flooding thirty-two square miles of land in south San Joaquin County,” Galgiani said. “Flood waters put pressure on a Southern Pacific Transportation Company line that cut through Stewart Tract, causing it to buckle. Flood waters carried everything from gas tanks full of propane to containers of windshield washer fluid, leaving toxic materials and hazardous waste behind as waters subsided.”

The City of Lathrop and the City of Manteca have shouldered most of the financial burden up to this point to ensure the cities are in compliance – receiving some backing from developers that stand to lose a significant amount of money if the state’s finding isn’t favorable. Losing the support of the state would prevent all future construction within the 200-year boundary.