Breaking the banks |

Breaking the banks

Residents ask county for help with runoff

Brandon Johnson

Most of the time, the Deep Cut Ditch near Lee Williamson’s property south of Craig can handle the runoff from Knez Divide.

But some years, when the snowpack melts fast, there is more water than the ditch can handle.

That’s exactly what happened last week when the ditch broke its banks and flooded Williamson’s shed.

“Last year, it wasn’t any problem,” Williamson said. “It’s kind of a year-to-year thing.”

Williamson, who is the president of the Big Cut Ditch Co., went to Tuesday’s Moffat County Commissioners meeting to ask the county to do something about the overburdened ditch.

Water gets stuck near Moffat County Road 35 and backs up the ditch, Williamson said.

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“It’s a pretty gnarly deal,” he said.

Part of the problem, William–son said, is that the drainage system at County Road 35 doesn’t work well.

When water freezes in the drainage system, the ditch, which is fairly flat, backs up, Williamson said.

Commissioners said Tuesday that they realize the flooding from Deep Cut is a problem.

“We understand there is a problem,” Commissioner Tom Gray said. “But I don’t know what the solution is.”

Commissioners said one of the biggest problems is that fixing the flooding problem on Williamson’s property would mean sending the water elsewhere, possibly to another property owner’s land.

“It has to go somewhere,” Commissioner Darryl Steele said.

Commissioners said that if the state improves the drainage through culverts under Colorado Highway 394, the county might be willing to chip in for new gates on the ditch.

If the water flowed better downstream at Colorado Highway 394, it might improve the flow upstream at County Road 35, Williamson said.

Williamson said that when the land near his home was all agricultural property, the flooding wasn’t so much of a problem.

But now, with more homeowners in the area, the water is a bigger problem because it flows down roads and driveways instead of sinking into the ground.

Williamson said that for now, he and the other users of the ditch will probably look at fixing the drainage at County Road 35 this summer.

Whatever they do, Williamson said, the homeowners won’t know whether their work helped until the runoff next spring.

“It’s kind of a trial-and-error thing,” Williamson said.

Brandon Johansson can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 213, or

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