City of Roanoke outlines importance of flood resilience plan

Published: Feb. 15, 2023 at 10:29 PM EST
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - “With flooding, it’s not a matter of if; it’s just a matter of when,” said Mckenzie Brocker, Water Quality Administrator for the Stormwater Utility for the City of Roanoke.

A grant from the Department of Conservation and Recreation is giving the City of Roanoke a chance to look at how prepared it is for a flood, while researching what it can do to improve.

“Our city’s growing and developing, and we need to have our infrastructure in place, properly sized and our climate is changing. We’re predicting more frequent and more intense rainfall. So just we want to make sure that we are prepared for the changes that are coming and not just what’s happening right now.”

A big part of current flood preparation is the stormwater drain system.

“Our stormwater department will clean out drains and preparation if we know what’s coming. We are also putting in new storm drain pipes and putting in green infrastructure. Now we want to make sure that’s properly sized and allocated for what we know and what we are expecting to deal with in terms of rainfall.”

The city is calling on the community to help, and has put out surveys to share the impact flooding has had, areas the city can focus more on and what it would like to see in the future.

“We have a lot of information on flooding, but we don’t know everything. So we’re trying to get as much feedback from the citizens as possible. So the plan can be as relevant and as helpful as possible to the people who need it.”

With the uncertainty of when the next flood might strike, the city understands the importance of being prepared.

“We live in a city where you have the beautiful Roanoke River, it’s a great asset and all our smaller streams, but just the reality of living near bodies of water is that they will flood, so we want to prepare for that eventuality.”

The city will also host public meetings at the end of March and hopes to have the plan finalized by the end of the year. Once the plan is finished, the city will also have opportunities to apply for grants to help fund future projects.

Roanoke residents interested in providing feedback for the plan can head to the survey page here.