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Mon, July 22

Prescott Country Club residents concerned about flooding
Flood Control officials say they’re doing best they can to address issue, but not before monsoons

Yavapai County Emergency Manger Ron Sauntman points to Clipper Wash in Prescott Country Club on May 29, 2019. (Max Efrein/PNN)

Yavapai County Emergency Manger Ron Sauntman points to Clipper Wash in Prescott Country Club on May 29, 2019. (Max Efrein/PNN)

About 100 residents of Prescott Country Club in Dewey are closely monitoring the single road that connects their homes to the rest of the world.

East Durham Road runs along Clipper Wash at the back of the community. Nature has gradually changed the wash over the years, but 2018 saw some significant flooding events that carved major chunks out of the waterway’s banks.

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Residents of Prescott Country Club in Dewey attend a community meeting hosted by the Yavapai County Flood Control District on Wednesday, May 29, 2019. The meeting addressed residents’ concerns about erosion in Clipper Wash along Durham Road, which many of the residents rely on to drive to and from their homes on. (Max Efrein/Courtesy)

“At this location, we lost approximately 37 feet,” said Paul Jungen, an engineer with the Yavapai County Flood Control District, while pointing to a section of the wash adjacent Durham Road on a diagram.

Bob Shields noticed the erosion in November 2018, and began calling the Yavapai County Flood Control District.

“That’s when we realized how bad it could be,” Shields said.

Shields started a petition that called for immediate repairs of the wash and got over 60 residents to sign it.

Flood district personnel took a look at the situation, agreed it was a concern, and began an erosion mitigation plan for the areas of the wash most likely to impact Durham Road in the near future. In an effort to communicate the plan to the residents, Yavapai County personnel hosted a community meeting at Prescott Country Club on Wednesday, May 29.

“We’re watching it,” Jungen said to residents at the meeting. “We’re aware of the problem and we are working as quickly as we can to fund the project and to build the project.”

The district first tried to acquire an Emergency Watershed Protection Program grant to fund the project’s costs. That failed, so the district had to turn to its own annual project budget, of which there is $400,000 available for the entire county.

“The budgeted cost for this project is $120,000,” said Lynn Whitman, director of the Yavapai County Flood Control District.

This funding hasn’t yet been approved by the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors, but is scheduled for approval in July. Factoring in a number of other steps that needs to be taken as well, Whitman does not anticipate work on the wash will physically begin until sometime in August or September.

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Clipper Wash adjacent Durham Road in Prescott Country Club has been rapidly eroding in the last couple of years. Residents dependent on Durham Road to drive to and from their homes are concerned the 2019 monsoon season might wash out the road entirely if something isn’t done to prevent further erosion. (Max Efrein/Courtesy)

Many of the residents feel that is too late given the upcoming monsoons, but Yavapai County Supervisor Thomas Thurman said there’s no other option than what is being done to resolve the issue.

“There’s nothing legally we can do,” Thurman said.

WHAT IF THEY LOSE THE ROAD?

At the moment, Flood Control District officials say there is about 46 feet between the wash and Durham Road where it is the narrowest.

Whitman and her engineers believe that is more than enough cushion to last the seasonal rains, but residents wanted to know what the contingency plan is.

“If you lose the road, we’ll bring equipment in there, we’ll do a low-water crossing right in it,” Thurman said.

Thurman acknowledged that disaster recovery takes time, so he suggested that if residents truly believe at any point that flooding is going to be bad enough to knock out the road during a weather event, they should grab necessary items and evacuate.

“That’s the safest thing you can do if it’s going to look like it’s that bad,” he said.

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