Salt Lake City

Mayor's Office

Erin Mendenhall | (801) 535-7704

Mayor Mendenhall, City leaders highlight infrastructure improvements and flood prevention efforts

April 10, 2023
As spring temperatures finally begin to emerge following a record-breaking winter snowpack, Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall and other leaders highlighted on Monday the City’s substantial investments in drainage infrastructure designed to prevent and mitigate flooding risks from spring runoff. 

“We’ve made significant infrastructure investments since the floods of 1983 that make us more prepared this time around. We know this is a big concern for our residents and we’re taking it seriously in our planning and preparation,” Mayor Mendenhall said. “From a robust storm water system, to debris basins and the addition of Little Dell reservoir, Salt Lake City and our flood control partners, including Salt Lake County, have been preparing for decades to ensure the best possible outcomes for our residents in high snowpack years.” 

System improvements include:

  • Addition of debris basins along City Creek that allow rocks, branches, and other debris to settle so crews can remove the material before it becomes a problem. (During the 1983 spring runoff, the storm drain carrying City Creek flows in North Temple became clogged with debris that extended four city blocks.)
  • Grate improvements in Memory Grove to prevent potential backups. 
  • Piped drainage system improvements to allow for better conveyance of spring runoff.
  • Little Dell Reservoir was constructed between 1987 and 1993 as a flood control and water storage facility.

“The nature of this year’s spring runoff will be dependent on the weather and temperature as we enter the runoff season. We are hopeful for a more measured runoff given the large accumulation of snow at the mid and high elevations, but are planning conservatively for worst case scenarios. We are working in coordination with Salt Lake County Flood Control, and are constantly monitoring climate conditions. Snowpack and runoff data prepared by agencies such as the National Weather Service, Colorado Basin River Forecast Center, and others are also important to our runoff management strategy to help mitigate the potential risk of flooding,” said Laura Briefer, Director of Public Utilities. 

In addition to infrastructure improvements and ongoing runoff planning efforts, residents are encouraged to prepare themselves and their homes for potential flooding. Residents can learn about flood zone locations, flood preparedness tips, flood insurance, and additional information about this year’s spring runoff at the Salt Lake County flood preparedness website.

“As we enter this time of uncertainty surrounding potential flooding, Salt Lake City Emergency Management wants to remind everyone to have an emergency plan in place should their home be affected by flooding. This includes having extra nonperishable food items, extra water, medications, and other important necessities stocked for up to 96 hours,” said Richard Boden, SLC Fire Division Chief, City Emergency Manager.

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