Rising river levels puts weekend events in jeopardy


Rising levels in the Arkansas River due to rain Tuesday in Wichita may cause events this weekend to be canceled.

"It's going to be a busy, busy weekend on the river," said Don Henry, assistant director for Wichita Public Works and Utilities."The Wichita State University rowing team has an event down there, the annual Ark River clean up is going on this weekend so we're letting as much water out as possible."

Henry said there has been a lot of rain throughout the city recently causing the water to rise beyond normal levels in the river.

"There are some areas through town where the, where the water is up to the sidewalks maybe on it," he said.

However, the way the water is flowing by the dam may help out the flooding problem according to Henry.

"The flow is over 7,000 cubic feet per second," he said "Just for perspective, during dry weather events it's more like 100 cubic feet per second."

Within the flow of water is some debris that local fisherman have dealt with. They fish in a spot near the where the water rushes down the dam and the debris flows throughout that area.

"There's a lot of trees in there," Rickie Vongnavanh, a fisherman near the dam.

Regardless of the flow, flooding and debris, Vongnavanh said this spot is still a popular area for them. Especially since they caught a catfish Wednesday afternoon.

"Well we came out here today after the rain because I mean the other day we came out caught two big catfish and today we just slammed one," he said.

The dam normally operates automatically but Wichita Public Works is operating it a different way due to construction and other things.

"We do have the ability to operate, in, in manual. Um, also, which we're doing right now."

This way may allow more water to dump, and save the events downtown according to Henry. If you still plan to attend the events downtown if they resume, or do any fishing, there is one slogan Henry wants people to remember.

"There's an easy slogan to remember, turn around don't drown," he said.

According to Henry, storm water crews will be out monitoring the sidewalks and flood water as the week goes on.