WASHOE COUNTY, Nev. (KOLO) Residents of the Andrews Lane area have reason to dread the changing of the season.
Three times in the past 20 years, winter storms have sent runoff racing off the hillsides above, overwhelming ditches below, sending water in mud into homes.
Much of the time they've relied on each other to handle the mess, but they've also looked to county government for a solution and, they say, they have been met largely with silence.
After flooding once again last winter they sought help from the county--which of course--was fielding similar concerns from other neighborhoods.
But in June they finally coaxed county officials to look things over. As they related it to us--and to a pair of letters written to the governor, they say they were promised a plan within weeks. But the weeks went by and they heard nothing.
"I've called recently myself," says Pamela Peeks. "Lots of neighbors have called. We haven't heard a word back from them."
We called and got the same non-response, but finally last week, Assistant County Manager Dave Solero told us Andrew Lane is one of several problem spots for which plans were drawn, but federal grants weren't forthcoming.
"None with the exception of one up in Golden Valley met the federal requirements for payback, the cost benefit analysis the federal government uses."
Solero couldn't give us the details of that plan, but it apparently includes a flood control basin in the canyon above the neighborhood. There was a catch basin there once, but it's long since filled with silt.
That and new homes, the aforementioned roads and ditches all feed any runoff into a culvert, which is too small, into an irrigation system that's doubling as a storm drain.
It is, both sides agree, a system that can't handle heavy flooding.
"We do not have the infrastructure for flood," says Solero. "We have the infrastructure for storm drain. There is a difference."
So the county says it doesn't have the money to build what's needed.
Solero says he's suggested a special assessment district to allow the residents to fund the project. We couldn't find anyone who recalls hearing that suggestion and they say they haven't been getting even the courtesy of a returned phone call.
Whatever solution there might be won't arrive in time to do them any good this year.
"And winter's coming again," says Peeks, gesturing at the half-filled ditch," and as you can see the ditch is still filled with silt. All it's going to take is one big snow, one big rain and everybody's going to flood again."