Leaking canal wets community


ANDERSON, Calif. - A canal in west Anderson is leaking, flooding yards and driveways.

The Anderson Cottonwood Irrigation District canal is an earthen canal that provides water to farmers and residents in southern Shasta and northern Tehama Counties. And it has been leaking for the better part of a week.

Officials say the water is percolating through the earthen levees that retain the water which is especially susceptible to leaks near natural streams.

Residents say it happens pretty often.

"[It has flooded] the last three years, badly," says Jess Wood standing in his soggy backyard. "It's happened every year. I've been here 12 years now and it's happened ever year."

ACID officials say they know what the issue is but haven't been able to repair it yet. In the mean time they've put out some pumps to help keep the water from rising too quickly, and they've rebuilt and packed down the weaker parts of the levees.

But that hasn't saved everything.

"This used to be a berry patch, but last year the canal wiped it out," says Wood pointing to a corner of his yard. He says the plants just drown when "you've got three or four inches of standing water for three or four days."

There haven't been any reports of serious structural damage to any houses yet, but ACID isn't taking this lightly.

"It's serious," says ACID General Manager Stan Wangberg. "The volume of water isn't that great, but the fact that it's affecting the adjoining landowners is a major concern."

As of yet, there is only one house with any obvious damage from the water. One house near a low spot next to the canal shows signs of rotting siding from the stagnant water. Others have an inch deep sheen of water filing the crawl space below their house and almost everyone has some water filling their driveways or back yards.

Septic systems are hit the hardest.

"[The flood water] kinda slows the evacuation of water out of the house," says Pat, a flooded homeowner standing in her lush and very well watered garden.

She says the water has made her plants very happy but it makes it more difficult and messy to garden and do any yard work.

ACID official say they're working to repair the dike and conserve all the water they can, an especially important prospect this year.

But until ACID can rebuild the canal walls the residents will have to run their pumps, cut extra irrigation ditches, and avoid water hazards in their soggy lawns.

ACID officials say they're going to drill some core samples to determine the depth of bedrock in the area. Once that is done they're going to install a series of steel plates to help patch the canal.

They hope to have an estimate on how much it will cost by tomorrow and say they hope to be done with everything in a matter of days.