The 2021-22 Yolo County Grand Jury released its report on their investigation of the Yolo County Flood Control and Water Conservation District. The District’s boundaries include nearly 40 percent of Yolo County.
The report, entitled “Got Flooding – Who You Gonna Call?” was released in advance of the June 30 publication of the consolidated grand jury report. The grand jury examined how the District managed complaints and grievances for reporting emergency flood problems and identifying recurring flooding issues.
The grand jury noted deficiencies in the way these systems are set up and made recommendations for improvements.
First, the grand jury reviewed the District Act, adopted in 1951 that states, “The purposes of this act are to provide … for the control and disposition of the storm and flood waters of the District…”
“Farmers, residential users, and others acquire surface water through the District’s delivery systems,” the report observed. “The District Act charges the District with the responsibility to serve property owners, land occupants, and other users in an effort to avoid property damage from stormwaters and floodwaters.”
Since the Act was adopted, the report noted numerous enhancements, such as acquiring rights to Clear Lake water through Cache Creek, obtaining water supply from Valley and Chapman Reservoirs, development of hydroelectric facilities and implementing groundwater conservation programs.
The grand jury found that flood control matters have been deemphasized in recent years, primarily due to the lack of rainfall and drought conditions. However, damage caused by flooding has affected structures, water wells and access to and from private property. The most common flooding concern noted for public property related to public safety were ingress and egress hazards on Yolo County roads.
The report notes that the District’s mission statement omits reference to managing floodwater
or stormwater mitigation, as is a foundation of the District Act.
The grand jury found their mission statement refers only to water supply functions and recommended they update it to incorporate the District’s flood control responsibilities.
The grand jury’s investigation found resident reports of “difficulty receiving assistance regarding grievances or concerns about flooding” and inadequate assistance to the public when requesting support. Further, the report notes the District “has no complaint or grievance system to record, address, or track flooding problems.”
To test the reporting system, members of the grand jury anonymously called flood management agencies and reported that they were passed off from one agency to another until referred back to the original agency without any resolution.
The grand jury’s report recommends the District create a complaint or grievance system to record, address, and track flooding to assist long-term planning. It also recommended documenting all complaints and outcomes and make them available to the public by Sept. 1, 2022.
For more information about the Yolo County Grand Jury or to request a Grand Jury investigation visit https://tinyurl.com/zwp2pjd5.
Details about Grand Jury services and information about how to find the Grand Jury’s final report that details its investigations is also available on the Yolo County website on the “Living” category, under “Grand Jury.”