Miami Conservancy District talks importance of dams, flood gates as rain sweeps across the area

As rain continues to across the Miami Valley, News Center 7 spoke with officials about what it means for river levels.

Mike Ekberg, manager of Water Monitoring and Data Analysis at the Miami Conversancy District, said the National Weather Service forecasted around two inches of rain over most of southwest Ohio.

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“If that comes to fruition, we’re definitely going to see river levels in this region rise,” he said.

The Miami Conservancy District is responsible for flood prevention along the Great Miami River. They have five dams from Piqua to Hamilton that control the flow of the river when we see rain events like Friday’s.

The dams help keep the river within its banks and levees. The district also has flood gates they close when the river gets too high.

Ekberg told News Center 7 they might have to start closing some of the flood gates tonight based on the river levels.

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“We have gates that allow stormwater for areas like here in downtown Dayton. They allow the water that falls on street from the roofs of buildings and things like that to drain out into the Great Miami River. But as the great Miami River level comes up, we don’t want that water to flow back up into those into those drains. So we watch that very carefully,” he said.

Closing those flood gates would stop the river water from flowing back through the storm drains into riverfront downtowns.

Ekberg said the Great Miami River will come up another five or six feet from where it is now and reach its highest point some time tomorrow.