SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Flood prevention experts from across the West are in Sacramento this week getting ready for the looming wet season this winter.
The Sacramento Weir was built 100 years ago and was state-of-the-art technology at the time, but now things have changed and emergency managers have new ideas to prevent flooding.
The 48 floodgates are only opened as a last resort, flooding the Sacramento bypass intentionally when water levels are high enough to threaten Downtown Sacramento.
Now flood managers are launching efforts to build better levees that can hold back more water. West Sacramento is among the first to try a new idea, pushing levees farther back so they don’t have to be as tall.
Officials are buying up property and tearing down rural homes to make way for the wider levees, but modernizing the state’s 13,000 miles of levees will be a difficult task, costing tens of billions of dollars over the next 30 years.
It’s a cost officials say is small compared to the damage done by a catastrophic flood.