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Scottsdale neighborhood working on floodplain improvements to protect homes near wash

Posted at 4:08 PM, Dec 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-18 21:24:48-05

SCOTTSDALE, AZ — It's a quiet community in North Scottsdale, that offers beautiful views. But for some, it also comes with concerns of flooding.

"It's a problem if the water is not contained in some fashion," said resident Francois Castaing, who lives near Pinnacle Peak Road.

Castaing lives along the Reata Wash Floodplain, a 7.5 square mile area north of Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd. Back in October, heavy rains saw flash flooding in the community that nearly flooded condos at 94th Street and Bell Road.

Some residents told ABC15 they have never seen the washes flood like that.

"I think it brought it to the forefront of people's' attention when they have close calls," said Ashley Couch, the Drainage and Flood Control Program Manager and Floodplain Administrator with the City of Scottsdale.

Couch told ABC15 the Reata Wash Floodplain has needed improvements for years. He is now overseeing an ongoing project to improve the floodplain, in part by using levees and floodwalls, that could protect 4,600 structures by creating a channel for most of the water to flow as it heads downstream.

"It could be extensive, we're talking hundreds or maybe even thousands of structures that could be damaged by flooding." Couch said.

The project comes with a projected price tag of $43 Million that could see the City of Scottsdale paying half. Couch says the necessary funding is not yet available, but the project is partially in the design phase.

"It hinges on two things...getting city funding for the city's share of the project, it also hinges on public support for the project," he said.

Couch told ABC15 the goal would be to improve the floodplain while keeping the natural look of the wash.

Castaing says he is on board with a solution, but wants to know all the details.

"It needs to be discussed together as fast as we can," he said.

If funding is identified and the project does continue moving forward, Couch says construction could wrap up by 2023.