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Countywide : Lawmakers Lobby for Flood-Control Project

Orange County’s congressional delegation was out in force Wednesday, urging Congress to allocate $3.5 million for the next phase of the massive Santa Ana River flood-control project.

Testifying before the House Appropriations subcommittee on water and energy were Rep. Robert K. Dornan (R-Garden Grove), Rep. Robert E. Badham (R-Newport Beach) and Rep. William E. Dannemeyer (R-Fullerton). Also testifying were Rep. Ron Packard (R-Carlsbad) and Rep. Dan Lungren (R-Long Beach).

Sen. Pete Wilson, at a similar Senate hearing Wednesday, also spoke in favor of the President’s recommended $3.5-million budget appropriation. Packard said that the $3.5 million would “allow for continued planning and engineering” of the flood-control project, which if ultimately approved would protect Orange County from what experts have called the most serious flood threat west of the Mississippi River.

Army engineers have estimated that a major flood of the river, which runs through heavily developed areas--including Huntington Beach, Santa Ana and Stanton--could kill 3,000 people and cause $14 billion in damage in Orange County alone.

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Wednesday’s hearings were part of an annual event that has come to be known as “California Water Day,” when California legislators and bureaucrats make their funding pitch for state water projects.

The $1.1-billion Santa Ana River flood-control project calls for the widening and deepening of the river channel in Orange County, raising Prado Dam near Corona and building a new dam north of Mentone in San Bernardino County.

Both the House and Senate are expected to take action on the $3.5-million allocation in May.


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