Governor Chet Culver is backing a proposal to convert the former Lake Delhi Dam into a modern hydroelectric facility. Water topped the dam over the weekend, destroying earthen portions of it and washing out a county road.
“I hope we can consider looking at a new 21st century hydroelectric dam that could help our state in terms of our focus on renewable energy and maybe allow those folks living in Delaware County and there at the Lake to provide their own power because of the new hydroelectric dam,” Culver said.
The dam burst and resulting flash flood damaged or destroyed up to 300 homes around the lake, along with hundreds of boats. There’s more damage through several towns downstream from Lake Delhi. The governor is requesting a presidential disaster declaration for the area.
Culver says the county road that was destroyed will likely receive FEMA assistance and it’s possible the privately-owned dam could receive a special category of FEMA funding reserved for non-profit organizations. “It’s possible we can put this all together in terms of the resources and rebuild a better, stronger dam there and maybe a hydroelectric dam there as well,” Culver said.
The Governor made his comments on the Iowa Public Radio program The Exchange.