Using rocks to repair a busted dam is not a permanent fix, but other measures are expensive.
Monsoons have brought a temporary break from the ongoing drought in Arizona and the southwest, filling storage reservoirs that are critical for water management. But the rush of monsoon waters can also spell trouble.
Phoenix’ ABC 15 reports that monsoon storms have washed away rocks that were intended to temporarily fix a breach at the Millet Swale Dam and Reservoir last summer near Snowflake-Taylor in Navajo County, causing flooding in the nearby town of Taylor. According to ABC, it will cost millions of dollars to permanently repair the system.
The reservoir and dam is privately owned by the Silver Creek Irrigation District (doc file) whose predecessors built the dam in the 1950s. The local flood control district anticipated problems, as shown in its tweet earlier this week:
NAVAJO COUNTY FLOOD UPDATE AFFECTING MILLET SWALE EVACUATION: Our County and Local Municipality Engineers inform us we are preparing for the potential of a levee failure at Millet Swale near Taylor, AZ.
— Navajo County (@NavajoCountyAZ) July 25, 2021
The irrigation district has had its share of challenges. Between 2012 and 2016, about $800,000 was stolen from the district.