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ORANGE COUNTY DIGEST

County : Santa Ana River Project in Bill Up for Signature

November 16, 1986|John Needham

President Reagan is expected to sign into law Monday a massive water projects bill that includes authorization for the $1.087-billion project to control flooding on the Santa Ana River, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials said Friday.

The Santa Ana River project is the largest single part of the $16.3-billion bill, the first major water projects bill in 16 years. The project is designed to cope with what officials call the worst flood threat west of the Mississippi River.

Lt. Col. Norman I. Jackson, deputy commander of the corps' Los Angeles District, said at a press conference in Los Angeles Friday that the programs will handle "the very critical flood problem in urban areas" of three counties.

Flood control measures include building a new dam to be called Seven Oaks four miles upstream from Mentone in San Bernardino County at a cost of $304 million; raising Prado Dam in Riverside County by 30 feet to expand its capacity from 195,000 to 363,000 acre-feet at a cost of $332 million, and widening and deepening channels along the lower Santa Ana River and Santiago Creek, the Orange County component, at a cost of $451 million.

The Corps of Engineers has estimated that a flood so bad it is projected to occur only once every 200 years could kill 3,000 people and cause $11 billion in damages, most of that in Orange County.

Other Orange County projects in the bill include dredging and maintaining a navigation channel 250 feet wide and 15 feet deep in Newport Harbor north of the Coast Highway bridge, at a cost of $3.5 million; and expediting a study in the Bolsa Chica area, where there have been proposals for a navigable ocean channel into a development of homes, restaurants, hotels and a marina planned by Signal Bolsa Co.

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