City Council agrees to install flood gauges

Published 10:22 am Tuesday, April 10, 2012



FRANKLIN—City Council during its Monday meeting voted unanimously to participate in a plan to install stream and rainfall gauges.

Mark Mansfield with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers told Council that flooding continues to be an issue for Hampton Roads and Western Tidewater.

A few years ago, Franklin, Emporia, and the counties of Greensville, Isle of Wight, Southampton, Surry and Sussex sought recommendations from the Corps on how to prepare for floods.

After two years of negotiations, a plan was suggested, said Mansfield. The state government and U.S. Geological Survey agreed to split the cost of buying and installing five gauges upstream to warn the city of flooding and downstream if intense and long-term flooding was forthcoming.

Two gauges already exist in Franklin to indicate what’s happening, he said.

However, participation from all localities must be unanimous, and they would share the cost of maintaining the gauges, with each at $6,915 for the first two years.

“This would give a better forecast of when, how much and how long flooding would occur,” he said. “More effective tools are needed.”

Mansfield asked the panel to think of Franklin as the narrow part of an hourglass when it comes to high water. He said the gauges in the wider portion would give residents and businesses time to relocate. Further, the areas south would be warned.

“The key is advance warning,” said City Manager Randy Martin.

Mansfield said the gauges could be put in place this summer.