Front range communities work together to mitigate impact of flood waters

Posted at 10:00 AM, Sep 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-18 12:11:24-04

DENVER – They are ominous words coming from a man who should know.

“In Colorado, we feel like we’re safe from flooding because we’re high and dry if you will.  We know we’re not.”

Ken MacKenzie is the executive director of the Urban Drainage and Flood Control District.  He says the floods we had four years ago were a wake-up call to the metro area.

“2013 was a good reminder of the danger that’s there all the time,” he told Anne Trujillo on this week’s Politics Unplugged “My organization [UDFCD] was created in 1969 to help the cities and counties of the metropolitan area manage the flood risk.”

That works includes making sure areas prone to flooding are developed in ways that make sense and that flood mitigation plans are designed with people and the environment in mind.  It’s something very important to the City of Thornton.

“In our city, we partner with the Urban Drainage and Flood Control District to make sure we are prepared and that we’ve looked at our flood plains and make sure we don’t do development there in the flood plains or if there is development in a flood plain that we’re doing the right things with the district and with our services to make sure those people are protected,” Mayor Heidi Williams told Anne.

One of the key things the district has worked on over the past 48 years is developing the technology to help better predict flooding.

“We actually work with your own First Alert Weather chief meteorologist Mike Nelson,” MacKenzie said.  “We’ve been working with him for over 20 years on the network that we have of stream gauges and rain gauges throughout the metropolitan area that inform us as to floods that are about to happen so that we can get the warning out and get people out of harm’s way.”

Politics Unplugged airs Sundays at 4:30am & 4pm on Denver7.