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Prevention Keeps Flood Damage Low, Price Tag High

IOWA CITY, IA (CBS2/FOX28) -- Flood prevention and damage in Johnson County may total more than $7 million, according to Johnson County Emergency Management Director Dave Wilson, who was out surveying the damage on Monday.

The biggest chunk of that money comes from the University of Iowa's $5.2 million in prevention, and the overall damage to properties was relatively small, Wilson said. 

That was the case at Kevin Kacena's house at the end of Stewart Road. He had only 6 inches of water on his bottom floor, which is much different from the several feet of water he saw in 2008. 

"It was minimal damage this time," Kacena said. 

He doesn't think the damage will cost much to repair, but he said the flooding is still troublesome. 

"You don't want it to flood, but with the dam up there being man made, (man) controlled ... the men don't know how to treat Mother Nature, I guess," Kacena said. 

The water at the dam is starting to calm down, and water levels are starting to recede, giving the county the chance to see that damage is minimal. 

"The good news is we were able to avoid a lot of damage because we had such good mitigation," Wilson said. 

He credits the millions spent on prevention by the university, Iowa City, Coralville, and the county itself. The other good news is that the county will likely be able to recoup those costs in money from FEMA. Wilson said it will take about a month for the flood to be declared a Stafford Emergency, which needs to happen in order for the county to receive the federal funding. 
And while the money was necessary, it is still a big chunk of change, Wilson said. 

"Just because you didn't have a number of substantially damaged homes doesn't mean it's any less important," Wilson said. 

People like Kacena would agree, especially because he thinks the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers could have done a better job managing the flows and kept the flood from happening. 

Kacena said he'd be happy to help out, next time. 

"(I would) volunteer my time, not get paid to flood people, but volunteer my time to flood people," Kacena said, jokingly. 

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