WESTERN IOWA — Iowa’s levee system is crumbling, and if the problem doesn’t get fixed, major flooding like what western Iowa saw in March will be the new normal, according to a levee expert at Iowa State University.
The new levee report card is out, and Iowa received a C- for the third year in a row. Cassandra Rutherford with Iowa State University says, “The biggest problem in Iowa is that over half of our nine hundred miles of levees are not documented.”
Levees are clay structures that are build to prevent water from essentially going where it’s not supposed to, particularly from rivers to the mainland. Rutherford says that doesn’t always happen, and the historic flooding in southwestern Iowa is proof that this state has many problematic areas.
To rebuild one mile of a levee costs taxpayers on average $100,000, so Rutherford believes money needs to be given to more research and maintenance.