This year, KICA’s board of directors assertively prioritized flood mitigation planning, establishing two task forces: Water Management and Infrastructure Funding. Together, their goals are to develop solutions for currently vulnerable areas on Kiawah and create long term water monitoring and management plans. The task forces report to the board, and are comprised of KICA community members and staff. Their work stems from action items the town identified in their 2018 Flood Mitigation and Sea Level Rise Adaptation Report.
Underway since the beginning of the year, the Water Management task force started by identifying seven problematic locations on Kiawah and developing plans to enhance drainage in those areas.
The areas are:
• Kiawah Island Parkway near Sora Rail
• Governors Drive near Turtle Point Maintenance
• Governors Drive near Trumpet Creeper Lane
• Kiawah Island Parkway near the V-gate
• Kiawah Island Parkway at Green Dolphin
• Pond 29 to Pond 24 between Surfwatch Drive and Sea Forest Drive
• Sea Marsh Lane
These susceptible areas were shared with the engineering firm Stantec, which came back with proposed infrastructure solutions in July. KICA Resilience Specialist Lucas Hernandez then worked with the task force to add the new infrastructure into a digital model of Kiawah Island, which simulates island water movement. Not only does the model give the task force data on if the water is removed effectively from the area, but it also helps identify where the water will be displaced, and if it creates an excess elsewhere, or leaves the island through the drainage basin.
Through this process, the task force should be able to approach the board with practical responses to flooding, and the board can be confident about investing association resources. The priority list will be decided at the Water Management task force’s upcoming meeting.
With the priority list, the Infrastructure Funding task force will tackle the challenge of determining a funding source for this new infrastructure. Although the association has a reserves fund to maintain infrastructure that was originally conveyed to KICA by developers, there is no funding source for new infrastructure.
Both task forces are working quickly to provide a recommended project and funding solution package to the board in time for the 2020 budget, which is approved at the November board meeting. The goal is for KICA to be able to complete the proposed infrastructure projects within 3-5 years.
According to board treasurer and task force member Dave Morley, these projects are just the first phase of work for the task force. In the second phase, likely launching in 2020, the task force will look at ways to prevent water from entering the island, like in the event of a storm surge. “We started by addressing known problems, will then determine preventative tactics, and will continue by establishing an adaptive strategy for monitoring and assessing the water management plan. We won’t ever eliminate risk, but our goal is mitigation,” remarked Morley. “Our work will provide a platform for Kiawah to monitor and adapt for anticipated rising sea levels, decades before we see any visible impact.”
Dave acknowledges that this work isn’t just about mitigating water events. “By addressing our island’s susceptibilities, we’ll improve the quality of life for our members. We’re also demonstrating that we’re a proactive community, willing to deal with issues head-on, and that can only have a positive impact on property values.”
The work of these task forces will be followed closely and updates will be shared with the community through email, in Digest and at kica.us.