Miles of aqua dams on standby in case of flooding threat in Iberville Parish
ST. GABRIEL- Three miles of aqua dams are on standby and ready to be deployed if excessive rainfall creates a need for them, according to Iberville Parish leaders.
The aqua dams were ordered following the August floods after floodwaters swamped homes in St. Gabriel, Prairieville and some parts of Geismar. The dams would prevent water from East Baton Rouge Parish from spilling into neighboring Iberville and Ascension Parishes.
"In light of this storm coming here, we took them in from the warehouse where they were stored at, and got them ready in case we need them," Iberville Parish President Mitch Ourso said.
Last August, a few rooms inside Glen Reynaud's home flooded, as water from East Baton Rouge Parish spilled into the Spanish Lake Basin. Video showed water spilling over the road for days.
"It's been a terrible challenge," Reynaud said. "From having to find a contractor and getting the insurance proceeds and dealing with FEMA, it's just a protracted process."
A big rig filled with hope arrived today. Three miles of the aqua dams came in from Abbeville. The temporary levees could be the answer to save those living in the Spanish Lake Basin area. Following last year's flood, Ourso said officials had to do something to protect their people.
Ourso said the aqua dams can be activated within two days and will use existing water in the Bayous to inflate them.
"It will stay right there on their side," Iberville Parish Councilman Bart Morgan said. "We'll keep it off our side. We're not trying to flood anybody. We're just protecting people on our side, plus it tears up our road and costs us a lot of money."
Ourso said for years, he's tried to get parish leaders from East Baton Rouge to come together to help discuss this flooding concern. But, he says no one would listen because by the time the water drained from Baton Rouge, it no longer affected them. Following, the August floods, Ourso took matters into his own hands, ordering $300,000 worth of dams to save his parish residents' properties.
"We're just trying to protect our people," Ourso said. "We're not trying to cause harm on anyone else. But these dams are designed to protect water coming from other parishes over our road, Manchac Road which has been an issue over the years."
For people like Reynaud who would benefit from it, it's music to his ears.
"Anything that would prevent people from going through what they went through last August would be a plus, any way you look at it," Reynaud said.
Ourso says, East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor President Sharon Weston Broome has called a meeting next week between parish leaders in Livingston, Ascension and Iberville to talk about flooding concerns.