Flood plan must keep moving

The full-scale flood plan protecting Minot to 27,400 cubic feet per second of Souris River flow will move forward.

That was the decision Monday of the City Council, which voted 12-0 to continue to support the full-scale plan instead of downsizing the project to 10,000 cfs, 15,000 cfs or 20,000 cfs. The city’s share of the massive project would be roughly $543 million. The $30.7 million savings from reducing the plan’s size wasn’t enough to sway any city council members present Monday.

At this point, the decision wasn’t difficult. The projected cost savings wasn’t worth cutting the project’s level of protection in half or more. But council member Blake Krabseth also wanted remind us all that the city is working on a number of flood control issues along with the plan that would use flood walls, levees and diversion channels to protect the city. Discussions including changing the management of the Souris River and expanding storage capacity at Lake Darling are ongoing.

It’s a good reminder, because if some of those changes can be incorporated into the area’s overall flood protection plan, then perhaps we won’t need such massive flood walls and levees cutting through the heart of the city. But while those things are discussed, the city must also make difficult choices to move the protection plan along, in case those talks don’t produce actual results.

Building any flood protection project will be an undertaking years in the making, and the city must keep moving ahead, even as it considers all options.