Governor Lou Leon Guerrero has signed an agreement with the Army Corps of Engineers to carry out a study on the flooding threat to Hagåtña posed by the Agana River.
More than 40 years ago, FEMA designated much of the island’s capital village as a flood plain because of the Agana River.
Bureau of Statistics and Plans Director Tyrone Taitano said it’s been a barrier to development and DPW Director Vince Arriola hopes the study will reverse that designation.
“The elephant in the room in any discussions regarding the revitalization of Hagåtña or the expansion of the economic potential of Hagåtña has always been the Agana River and concerns about flooding. And the big advantage of the study that we’re fortunate that the Army Corps of Engineers is embarking on is that it will inform future decisions moving forward and give us a path forward to get past that obstacle,” Taitano said.
Vince Arriola, DPW Director, added: “We do know that every time a development comes into Agana they have to go through certain criteria to make sure that they’re not affected by the flood zone. So this project we’re about to embark on is clearly going to open up the lanes for additional development hopefully.”
Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero said: “Well, Vince’s father is in his 90’s and he’ll tell you there’s been no flood during his period of life and continuing on. I don’t know how they make this decision. But we’re working now with the Army Corps of Engineers to kinda see what we can do to provide more expansion and opportunities for our redevelopment.”
The study may take about a year-and-a-half to complete and will cost about $3 million. Federal funds will cover the entire cost.