The Friant Water Authority Tuesday morning issued the following statement regarding the flooding in Strathmore last weekend with the hope of clearing up some possible misunderstandings as to the cause of the flooding:
“The flooding experienced in a residential neighborhood in Strathmore near the Friant-Kern Canal over the weekend is not due to overtopping of the Friant-Kern Canal’s banks — which did not occur — and is also not related to subsidence problems or conveyance restrictions on the Friant-Kern Canal, but rather to drainage from Frazier Creek. The Friant-Kern Canal’s integrity has not been compromised.
“In the town of Strathmore, Frazier Creek flows downstream toward Highway 65 and Avenue 196 and then pools at the toe of the Friant-Kern Canal, where it is pumped by two Tulare County pumps over the top of the Avenue 196 bridge and sent downstream to a holding pond near Highway 65.
“These pumps were installed when residential developments began in the area. Previously to the pumps being installed, the creek would drain past the canal through other mechanisms, including some ‘undershoots’ (pathways that are a little like siphons) that would allow the creek to flow under the canal into the flooding basin beyond.
“These were plugged by Tulare County when the residential development was approved and the pumps were installed. Our understanding is that one of those plugs failed over the weekend, allowing the water from Frazier Creek to flow through the undershoot and drain into what was historically a flood basin on the other side of the canal, but now includes residences.
“The Friant Water Authority operations team has been working with the county to help relieve pressure from excessive flows in the Strathmore area by pumping excess water into the Friant-Kern Canal and pumping over the canal downstream to the holding pond near Highway 65. As of now, the situation is under control and water levels are receding.”