Controversy over rebuilding Delhi dam - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Controversy over rebuilding Delhi dam


MONTICELLO (KWWL) -- A group of more than 50 concerned flood victims met Sunday afternoon to discuss the rebuilding of the Lake Delhi Dam.

The meeting was held at Walnut Acres Campground, which, just two weeks ago, was nearly completely submerged in flood water.

Campground owner Chip Smith said he and others at the meeting want to see the control of Lake Delhi Dam pass into other hands.

"It's not necessarily removing the dam as it is taking control away from Lake Delhi Recreation [Association]," Smith said.

He said he feels the Lake Delhi Recreation Association (LDRA) is not concerned about the effects the dam break has had down river.

"A lot of people are mad enough that they don't want to see any dam rebuilt up there," Smith said. "A few people can understand where, if the Army Corps of Engineers was in control of it, it would at least be an impartial operator of the dam, not beholding to the association."

Over in Delhi, LDRA board president Jim Willey said rebuilding the dam would be a good thing.

"It's a fallacy to think the Lake Delhi Dam caused any damage below us, at least while it was functioning," Willey said. "It needs to be rebuilt to continue to be able to help control the water flow where we're able to actually lower the water level in the lake before a flood event, and it minimizes the impact downstream as best we can."

Still, Smith said he wants to see a change.

"We don't like to get flooded, and we're going to stand up and rise up against the association," Smith said.

"It is not a private lake, it's a public lake, and so you have private dollars funding public resources, and that's something the people at Lake Delhi should be appreciated for and not criticized for," Willey said.

While a solution may not be easy to come by, the process of finding one is underway. The Governor issued an executive order Friday, creating a Lake Delhi task force.

The task force has until December 1 to submit a report of its findings on whether to rebuild the dam.

The Governor also directed the Iowa DNR to determine the cause of the dam failure.

Online Reporter Becca Habegger

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