FARMINGTON — The heavy rains that flooded Farmington on Tuesday brought back memories of a flood from more than three years ago.

On Aug. 1, 2010, more than 2.5 inches of rain fell in three hours, causing widespread flooding, according to The Daily Times archives.

During Tuesday's Farmington City Council meeting, councilors discussed what has been done since that flood and what still needs to be done to prevent future disasters. Council members decided to look into possible alternative funding for flood water diversion projects.

"We often tout the fact that we don't have natural disaster here," said City Manager Rob Mayes.

But while Farmington doesn't deal with hurricanes or other major disasters, there are flash floods, Mayes said.

Farmington received .67 inches of rain by 4 p.m. on Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service. Water overwhelmed the streets, and natural arroyos filled with debris.

Since the 2010 flood, there have been improvements, but some of the larger projects are still unfinished.


To report flooding in your area, call 505-599-1100.

In 2010, plans were made for detention ponds on the Carl and Porter Arroyos. Design is in the works for the pond on the Carl Arroyo, which is located off Lakewood Drive. The city is waiting for funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help with the pond on the Porter Arroyo, which is near Piedra Vista High School. Officials estimate it will cost $1.5 million to build the detention pond for the Porter Arroyo.

Councilor Jason Sandel expressed frustration about slow progress on the projects. He said it is difficult to tell community members the council is waiting for federal funds. He added that he keeps hearing the same message: the city has spent millions of dollars studying the flooding, and yet the same things keep happening.

"Tonight, I sit before you, and I say that I have failed," Sandel said.

He explained that for the past three years, he has told people the city is fixing the flooding issues, but houses -- often the same ones -- are still flooding.

These houses were the main concern for council members Tuesday.

Rain water on Tuesday flows in a drainage ditch next to Si Senor Restaurant in Farmington.
Rain water on Tuesday flows in a drainage ditch next to Si Senor Restaurant in Farmington. (Augusta Liddic/The Daily Times)

Mary Fisher mentioned that the homes near Mojave Street and Hopi Street flood "whenever it rains." She asked what Farmington's Public Works Department would do to address the issues if funding weren't a problem.

Jeff Smaka, the city's public works director, said if funds weren't an issue, his staff would put in drainage to redirect water from the rivers. That, he added, would be a multi-million dollar project.

"Shouldn't we be looking at that?" Fisher asked. "I think we should because we now have people who have been flooded out of their homes."

Another issue is how much assistance the city can legally provide. If the damage is on private property, the owner is responsible for it, unless someone is in danger or the damage affects the city.

Mayes encouraged the city to interpret the statute "as liberally as possible."

"I'd rather defend action then inaction," Mayes said.

Gayla McCulloch said at least one homeowner in every district gets flooded each time Farmington experiences flash floods.

Those homeowners typically call their councilors about the issue. But McCulloch said she did not receive that call after Tuesday's flooding because those homeowners in her district know the city can't help them.

"It shouldn't be up to me to say, 'Do what the statute tells us not to do,'" McCulloch said.

The city can always do something to help, she said.

"When we get the call, if there's anyway to say yes, we should," McCulloch said.

Hannah Grover covers news, arts and religion for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 and Follow her @hmgrover on Twitter.