Fixing Owasso's flooding problems

Thursday, October 9th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

The water rose fast after a solid night of rainfall in Owasso. Most of the town is naturally flat - so it's not uncommon to see high water.

News on 6 reporter Emory Bryan says sometimes Fred Bennett has seen it almost at his doorstep. "It comes up right here to the bottom of the step. Right level to the top of that step."

But Bennett believes the creek by his house runs faster and higher than it used to, and he believes he knows why. “Last night we had 2 and a half inches of rain and you see what it did. We got so many houses built out there that this little creek can't carry all the watershed that comes off there.”

New homes are built above the floodplain. But every new roof - and every new street - means there is that much less land that's able to absorb water - and it has to go somewhere.

New development and increased flooding can go hand in hand. The city manages both of them so it's up to them to make sure increased development in one area doesn't lead to increased flooding in another. Rodney Ray, Owasso City Manager: "If you take out property that can absorb water, you have to contain that water and not let it pile up on someone else."

Owasso's city manager says the plans for new developments require retention ponds.

He believes most of the high water problems come from old blockages - most of which have repairs coming. “We've always run into a few glitches, we're working on a couple right now, but we've done a good job of keeping flooding down.”