Garden City digs channels to redirect snowmelt to Bear Lake

May 3, 2023, 6:12 PM | Updated: May 7, 2023, 7:49 pm

RICH COUNTY, Utah — Several neighborhoods are under a state of emergency as Garden City families are working to redirect the water coming down the mountain.

Mike Leonhardt, Mayor of Garden City, said that work crews had been busy digging ditches to divert the water to the nearby Bear Lake. Without the canals, he says, the water would be flowing toward town.

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“The lake behind me is still frozen over,” said Leonhardt. “Fifteen inches of ice out there is keeping us cold here and is keeping the runoff from coming.”

Bear Lake looked more like Antarctica than a summer hotspot. The thawing process was delayed for about a month due to record snowfall and is only now starting.

“That end of March, April, you start getting some warmer temperatures, and we start getting some of that runoff,” Leonhardt explained.

Because of that, the runoff from melting snow is causing problems for homeowners.

Bear Lake expected to rise 8-10 feet this summer

“Once you breach that canal and don’t have control anymore, all bets are off,” said Garden City homeowner Jared Argyle.

Which is what exactly happened to Garden City residents like Argyle.

“It was starting to go right into our home, right into the garage, washing around the foundation of the garage,” he explained.

The sideyard of Argyle’s unfinished family home became a makeshift channel as the crew redirected the water. Mayor Leonhardt said they have about seven of these channels.

He also said that a cracked pipe inside one of the city’s canals had caused many issues.

“If we would’ve sent water down that way, we would’ve had mudslides on all those homes,” Leonhardt said.

The mayor said it’s crucial that seasonal homeowners come and check on their property as his city teams are too small to check on every home.

“You need to come check on your home; you need to be proactive,” Leonhardt said. “My public works department, we’re four, five, six deep at best.”

The mayor expects Bear Lake to rise up twelve to thirteen feet by the summer after all the snow has melted.

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Garden City digs channels to redirect snowmelt to Bear Lake