Clear Lake Lands Coordinator, Skip Simkins: |
As Clear Lake Lands Coordinator, Skip Simkins oversees several miles of Lake County's Clear Lake shoreline under the auspices of the public trust for the State of California. "We have 105 miles of shoreline and, granted, the area we're trying to protect is only a couple of miles of it, but when there's flooding you feel like a fireman going from place to place putting out spot fires," says Simkins of his job. In fact, during extreme flooding, Simkins has had as many as 100 people working on different levees at the same time. "Manpower is a really important thing in this situation," he adds.
This was the case in both 1995 and 1998 when Simkins' responsibility was the flood protection of an area of reclaimed land near Upper Lake, California. For the first time, and successfully, Simkins used AquaDams® to thwart the rising waters. Prior to 1995, sandbags were the primary line of defense for this reclaimed land, according to Simkins. "AquaDams® are a much quicker, simpler way to get your flood protection," he remarks. "It takes four men under an hour to lay out a 100-foot, 17-to-18-inch high AquaDam® wall. The same amount of flood protection from sandbag walls takes three hours, with at least a 14-man crew." According to Simkins, another advantage of AquaDams® is that they can be air dried, rolled up, stored and reused on other projects. "We've done this the last two times we've used them," remarks Simkins. "Once you've used sandbags, they're gone."
A further reason, explains Simkins, is an environmental one. "With AquaDams® you don't have to worry about any deteriorated sandbags left on top of your levee. Once the AquaDams® are re-rolled and removed to storage there is no need for further clean up to the area. This also allows the natural vegetation to come right back."
In addition to their environmentally-friendly nature Simkins cites AquaDams®' main benefits as portability and the ability to be disassembled easily for reuse. As flood waters move along the Clear Lake shoreline, Simkins says that AquaDams® can be easily deflated and moved from point to point. "I've taken down as much as 800 feet of AquaDams® in a day, and re-installed as much as 600 feet in the same day, using a four-man crew in each place," notes Simkins. "It would take you at least two days to just install 800 feet of sandbags," he adds. "When you're in a flooding situation manpower and time is everything."
Simkins says he is also impressed with the service he receives from Water Structures Unlimited®. "You can't ask for anything better. If technicians are in the locale, and they have AquaDams® with them, you've got them--right now. I'm sold," he says.