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Rhodes-Conway says technology is key to lakes management, flood prevention

MADISON (WKOW) – Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway says technology is playing a growing role in managing area lakes and preventing flooding.

Historic August rainfall produced deadly, damaging floods to portions of the city and required weeks of street closures, sandbagging and other remedial steps.

“We’re really concerned after what happened last year,”  Rhodes-Conway told 27 News Thursday as she toured technological advancements at a city engineering facility.

Energy-conserving apparatus is part of the facility’s inventory. Solar panels are deployed on the facility’s roof.

Rhodes-Conway points to the facility’s “green roof” component as an example flood-protection infrastructure.

“They have sedum trays that will absorb water,”  she says.  “Six inches of soil and plants growing in it, that will hold a lot of water,”  Rhodes-Conway says.

A water run-off collection system is also part of the adapted roof.

Rhodes-Conway says just as city staff have done solar installation training for the private sector at the facility, she’s hopeful the presence of the green roof technology will spawn imitation and learning with other city units and beyond.

Rhodes-Conway tells 27 News these measures complement other strategies in lakes management.

“I do think we need to be able to have more storage in the lakes, but that’s something we’re going to have to figure out collectively,”  Rhodes-Conway says, with reference to other area lakes management stake holders.

She says lowering lake levels is an option. “I think we need to take a scientific approach to setting lake levels.”

Rhodes-Conway also says the city remains committed with area partners in reducing the amount of phosphorus entering the lakes to prevent algae and contaminant build-up.

Tony Galli

Reporter, WKOW

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