Watertown’s flood preparation plans beginning to take shape

March 28, 2023
Mike Tanner

WATERTOWN, S.D.–With minor to moderate flooding expected on the Big Sioux River in Watertown this spring, plans are being made to hold back the high water.

City Engineer Heath VonEye says the city will deploy several pumps on or before March 31st to the lowest areas of the city where river flows could inundate city streets.

They’re also planning on renting 22 additional pumps and hoses that would be delivered on or before April 3rd.

The city will continue to be in contact with the National Weather Service and U.S. Geological Survey to get the latest river gauge data and modeling, and will be in contact with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for their assistance on holding back the water.

The latest forecast indicates a 90 percent chance of exceeding a river level of 11. 7 feet at the Broadway gauging station, which is moderate flooding.

An incedent Management Team made up of Watertown’s city manager, fire chief, police chief, public works director and Codington County’s Emergency Manager will meet early next week to discuss any additional action items that may need to be taken.