Irrigation Triggers Basement Flooding

Irrigation Triggers Basement Flooding


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Samantha Hayes reporting Some homeowners in Lehi are dealing with a very frustrating situation. Every time a nearby farm is irrigated, they have to pump water out of their basements.

Both neighbors and farmers are searching for a solution.

Farmers say they are only using water alloted to them, water desterately needed in this drought. But that raises the water table, which turns into a flooding frustration for nearby homeowners.

It doesn't take long for a hay field to soak up every bit of water from one irrigation turn.

Even at the perimeter of Dave Holmes's farm and homes in Saddlebrook Subdivision, it's dry.

But it does raise the water table underground and when that happens, it seeps into nearby basements.

Todd Burke/ Homeowner: "I think my biggest frustration is I've been working on my basement, thousands of dollars, and the drywall -- that's gone now. I'm going to have to redo it."

Farmers say this is the first time they've been aware of any basements flooded, but it does seem to coincide with the time that they take water out of a ditch and use it to irrigate their fields.

It's a difficult situation: Farmers need every drop of water they are allowed to use, but homeowners don't want to constantly mop up and pay for repairs.

Brian Saxton/ Homeowner: "We would just like to meet with the city maybe and have an engineer look at the situation and tell us if the ground water in a wet year is going to do the same thing as the irrigation. We are worried about selling the house if we ever decide to. We are worried about what an inspector might say."

One thing the inspector might say is that irrigation raises the water table high enough, that the homes should not have been built with basements.

Too late for that. Now residents are stuck looking for alternatives.

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