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Dallas Watches Trinity River Levels Closely

Dallas flood control headquarters was on alert Tuesday for possible problems after days of heavy rains and upstream dam releases coming down the Trinity River.

Lewisville Lake and Lake Ray Roberts are both releasing water into the Elm Fork of the Trinity River.

But Dallas Trinity Watershed Management Assistant Director Dhruv Pandya said storm water run-off from recent rains has already moved downstream, so the Trinity level at Dallas declined Tuesday.

"Right now the releases we are getting are normal," Pandya said. "It's nothing out of the ordinary and the water is staying within the banks and in the levees."

A West Dallas neighborhood that flooded several times over the past 10 years has a new levee sump pump station to remove storm water.

The old Pavaho Station pumped 75,000 gallons of water per minute. The new one pumps 375,000 gallons per minute.

A new Baker Pump Station is under construction with 700 gallons per minute for the Stemmons Industrial area.

The flood-prone Cadillac Heights neighborhood along the Trinity River still lacks levee protection, but recent U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approval for a Trinity River Parkway includes approval for a Cadillac Heights levee. However, there is no funding for the road or the levee.

Cadillac Heights resident Luis Jimenez has lived in his home since 1960. He said it has flooded several times and he can't afford another.

"You know this is the richest country in the whole world. I just found that out. But, it sure isn't rich for me," he said.

The proposed Trinity River Tollway would have high flood walls to keep in dry from all but the worst flood conditions. Dallas City Councilman Phillip Kingston, a toll road opponent, claims tollway flood walls inside the levees would increase the speed of storm water running toward the Great Trinity Forest downstream.

"Like squeezing the end of a hose, you've increased the velocity of the water that comes out of it," Kingston said.

The Dallas City Council recently endorsed a parkway plan for the road that could reduce the flood walls and make the road more accessible to the proposed Trinity River Park but that could increase the road's flood potential.

"You're putting people in danger," Kingston said. "You're making public safety secondary to the desire to have a road."

Other city officials and road planners argue the parkway would not harm the river's flood control capability and would be safe but might be closed at times.

"If we're going to use the floodway for anything — recreation, transportation, anything — we have to be prepared for things that are in the floodway to get flooded," Kingston said.

But in this rain event, Pandya said Dallas flooding should remain minimal.

"Most of the rain we are getting, it comes and then it stops, it then comes and it stops. So it works out great for us. It gives us chance to catch up. We're staying ahead of the curve," he said.

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