TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - As southern Arizona prepares for the monsoon rains, Pima County is doing everything it can to keep major waterways clear of dirt, garbage, and debris.
"We're kind of in the home stretch when it comes to preparing for monsoons," said Andy Dinauer, director of the Pima County Flood Control District.
Some of the major clearing work is being done in the Santa Cruz riverbed. More than 90,000 cubic yards of dirt and sediment have been removed from the waterway over the past few weeks.
"We're removing a lot of the sediment that has built up over the last 30 years to recreate the water carrying capacity of the river," Dinauer said.
Without this work, water that is supposed to stay in the wash can overflow and cause major flooding.
"We're probably removing material that is about 10 feet deep. We feel prepared, that we've done what we needed to do in the majority of the water courses and the high-risk areas."
Major waterways are clear, but smaller neighborhood washes, of which there are more than 150 in Tucson, can still cause issues for residents.
"I love Tucson and the desert, and I love washes," said Catherine Kent, who lives adjacent to the Alamo Wash. "But not during the rainy season. This wash isn't always maintained, and the flooding has gotten more serious. The water has been up to the bottom of my mailbox."
Kent says many of her neighbors take their own steps to keep their properties safe during the monsoon.
"I've built a wall, put garage doors on my carport," Kent said. "I've sandbagged. I'm going to be prepared."