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WDAY: The News Leader

Published February 26, 2012, 11:02 PM

Living with Water: A look at our wet cycle and what it means for the diversion

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) -- In the last, Living With Water Series, Rob Kupec looks at whether we are at the end of our wet cycle. What that could mean for the diversion.

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) -- In the last, Living With Water Series, Rob Kupec looks at whether we are at the end of our wet cycle. What that could mean for the diversion.

For the most part the years with major floods in Fargo of over 30 feet have tended to come in clusters, 3 in the late 1960's. And another 3 major floods in the late 1970's.

Since 1997 there have been 7 major floods over 30 feet. So it would seem we would be do for a dry spell.

John Wheeler (StormTRACKER Meteorologist): "Flip a quarter and it comes up heads for 5 times in a row, your inclination is to bet more money that it is going to be tales next time. And yet the reality is that that next flip is still 50/50."

So in one sense you look at all the wet weather we've had the last 20 years, you think man it's bound to get dry, it's bound to happen this year, but people were saying that 15 years ago.

Even in the dust bowl years of the 1930's there were some years with adequate water. Since the beginning of the 90's we've had a few dry spells as well and the lack of moisture the last six months could just be one of those dry spells.

John: "There is variability to the weather and you have to expect that, it will be wet for a while it will be dry for a while what you shouldn't try to expect is periodicity. That it will be wet for so many years then it's bound to turn dry because climate just doesn't work like that."

If we returned to a time like the 1980's when water became a precious commodity what affect would that have on building the Red River diversion?

Dennis Walaker (Fargo Mayor): "The focus is going to change dramatically if we don't, if something like that happens. If we go into a drought it will change the focus."

The Garrison Diversion project to bring Missouri River Water here is all drawn up but just need federal approval and the money to build it.

Walaker: "We were told by our congressional delegation that having a problem, having 2 problems, not enough water and too much water, we can only fund one of them."

It may not be until we return to scenes like this regularly that we know a shift has occurred.

Before this latest storm, Fargo was running about 5 and a half inches below average for melted precipitation.

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